Week 9 of the 2017 college football season was filled with several intriguing matchups and storylines. The weekend's biggest game took place in Columbus, with Ohio State rallying from an early deficit to beat Penn State 39-38. The Buckeyes were led by a stout defense in the second half, along with the standout play of quarterback J.T. Barrett. Notre Dame soundly defeated NC State to improve to 7-1, and Clemson rebounded from the Week 7 loss to Syracuse with a victory over Georgia Tech. Additionally, USC handled Arizona State, Oklahoma knocked off Texas Tech, Georgia dominated rival Florida and Iowa State upset TCU to round out some of the key games from Week 9.
With the ninth weekend of the 2017 season in the books, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor some of the top performances. Here’s a look at Athlon Sports’ picks for the offensive, defensive, coordinator, team, freshman and unsung hero from Week 9:
College Football Week 9 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
Ohio State’s offense has been on fire since losing to Oklahoma, but doubts remained about this unit due to the level of competition. Consider those question marks answered after Saturday’s 39-38 win over Ohio State. Barrett was brilliant in leading the Buckeyes to a one-point win, connecting on 33 of 39 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 95 yards on 17 carries. Barrett closed the game by completing 16 consecutive passes and totaled 423 total yards – both school records.
Defensive Player of the Week: Te’von Coney, LB, Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s defense had another strong collective effort in the win over NC State. But let’s give a tip of the cap to Coney after he registered nine stops (one for a loss) and one quarterback hurry versus the Wolfpack. Coney’s performance at linebacker helped limit NC State to just 14 first downs, 263 total yards and an average of 2.1 yards per carry.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Scot Loeffler, Boston College
Boston College added to Florida State’s disappointing 2017 season with a 35-3 victory in Chestnut Hill on Friday night. Loeffler’s offense continued its recent uptick in performance by scoring 35 points against the Seminoles, with the ground game churning out 241 yards. Additionally, Boston College had only one three-and-out and went four-for-four in red zone trips.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State
West Virginia’s offense entered Saturday’s game against Oklahoma State averaging 43.3 points a contest. However, Spencer and the Cowboys’ defense put the clamps on the Mountaineers in Saturday’s 50-39 win by Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State limited West Virginia to an average of 4.8 yards per play and just 347 overall yards. The Mountaineers converted only two of 15 third-down attempts, had five three-and-outs and lost five turnovers to an aggressive Cowboys’ defense. While West Virginia scored 39 points, two of those touchdowns came on non-offensive scores.
Freshman of the Week (Offense): Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest
Dortch was quarterback John Wolford’s favorite target in Saturday’s win over Louisville, as the freshman grabbed 10 receptions for 167 yards and four touchdowns. The four touchdown catches set a new single-game school record.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern
Fisher was all over the field in Northwestern’s upset win over Michigan State. The freshman recorded 17 tackles (one for a loss) and two quarterback hurries.
Team of the Week: Iowa State
Iowa State stunned the college football world for the second time this season, as coach Matt Campbell’s team knocked off TCU 14-7 in Ames on Saturday afternoon. The victory over the Horned Frogs is the Cyclones’ second win over a top-five team in 2017. Iowa State’s defense limited TCU’s high-powered offense to just 307 overall yards (5.2 per play), forced three turnovers and zero offensive touchdowns. The Cyclones made timely plays on defense, including two takeaways in the red zone and another interception with TCU near midfield on the final drive of the game. Iowa State’s offense managed only 255 total yards but delivered two key drives in the first half to open up a 14-0 lead by halftime. The Cyclones now have wins over two of the Big 12’s top teams (Oklahoma and TCU) and have to be considered one of the frontrunners to earn a trip to the conference title game in December.
Unsung Hero of the Week (Offense): Tanner Lee, QB, Nebraska
Nebraska’s running game was stuck in neutral against Purdue, but Lee delivered a standout performance to guide the Cornhuskers to a 25-24 win. The Tulane transfer completed 32 of 50 throws for 431 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score with less than 15 seconds remaining.
Unsung Hero of the Week (Defense): Jayd Kirby, LB, Kansas State
Kirby recorded five tackles (four for a loss), one sack, one pass breakup and three forced fumbles in Kansas State’s 30-20 win over Kansas.