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Georgia's Todd Gurley is Athlon Sports' National Player of the Week

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The bar had been set impossibly high for Todd Gurley for his junior season at Georgia.

Maybe not high enough.

Gurley earned Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors in a 45-21 win over Clemson in perhaps the finest game of his career.

Thanks to a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, Gurley not only broke Clemson, as noted by SB Nation’s Bill Connelly, he shattered a personal record for all-purpose yards.

Gurley rushed for 198 yards and lost five yards on one catch to give him 293 for the game. His previous career high was 227 yards against Buffalo in his debut.

Here’s what else is scary:

• He could have been more of a factor in the passing game. Gurley had 53 career receptions in his first two seasons. In the last six games of 2013, Gurley topped 70 receiving yards four times, including 90-plus against Kentucky and Nebraska. Perhaps checking down to Gurley is a difference between the seasoned Aaron Murray and three-game starter Hutson Mason.

• Georgia may be the new Alabama or LSU in terms of running back depth. Freshmen Nick Chubb (four carries, 70 yards and one touchdown) and Sony Michel (six carries, 33 yards) probably should cut into Gurley’s carries given his injury history. And Keith Marshall, who rushed for 759 yards in 2012, is still lingering around. How many times will Gurley need to carry 20 times in a game during the season?

• Gurley is apparently returning kickoffs again, something he hasn’t done since the third game of his freshman season.

National Defensive Player of the Week: Eric Kendricks, UCLA

UCLA’s offense was a virtual no-show in an early kickoff at Virginia on Saturday. At least the linebacker corps remains one of the best in the nation.

Eric Kendricks led the way with 16 tackles and a forced fumble. Kendricks' 37-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter helped to break open a 28-20 win against the Cavaliers.

National Freshman of the Week: Anu Solomon, Arizona

During the spring and preseason, Arizona had one of the most compelling quarterback battles in the country. The Wildcats had transfers and little separation.

Until Friday. Redshirt freshman Anu Solomon completed 25-of-44 passes for 425 yards with four touchdowns. Solomon also rushed for 50 yards on eight carries in a 58-13 rout of UNLV.

Solomon led an Arizona offense that shattered a 45-year-old school record for total offense. Arizona’s 787 yards of offense Friday was 98 more than the previous record against New Mexico in 1969,

National Coordinator of the Week: Ralph Friedgen, Rutgers

Perhaps we should recalibrate expectations for Rutgers in its first season in the Big Ten. Friedgen, the former Maryland coach, made that kind of an impact in his first game as offensive coordinator for Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights amassed 281 passing yards, 215 rushing yards and 7.1 yards per play in a 41-38 win over Washington State in Seattle.

Most important, Rutgers lost “only” one turnover. The Scarlet Knights lost two turnovers or more in eight games in 2013.

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Conference Players of the Week


ACC: Louisville running back Dominique Brown rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries in a 31-13 win over Miami on Monday.

Big Ten: Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg completed 32-of-47 passes for 454 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in 26-24 win over UCF in Dublin.

Big 12: Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman had two sacks, a forced fumble and a tackle for a loss in a 45-0 win over SMU on Sunday.

Pac-12: USC quarterback Cody Kessler completed 25-of-37 passes for 394 yards with four touchdowns in a 52-13 win over Fresno State. He also rushed for a touchdown and 28 yards on eight carries.

American: Tulsa wide receiver Keevan Lucas caught 13 passes for a Week 1-high 233 yards with three touchdowns in a 38-31 win over Tulane in double overtime.

Conference USA: Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty completed 46-of-56 passes for 569 yards with six touchdowns in a 59-31 win over MAC favorite Bowling Green on Friday.

MAC: Ohio quarterback Derrius Vick completed 18-of-24 passes for 262 yards with two touchdowns in a 17-14 win over Kent State.

Mountain West: Colorado State running back Dee Hart rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries in a 31-17 win over Colorado on Friday.

Sun Belt: ULM safety Mitch Lane had six tackles and an interception returned 31 yards for a touchdown in a 17-10 win over Wake Forest.

Independents: Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson completed 14-of-22 passes for 295 yards with two touchdowns in his return to the lineup. He also rushed for 41 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries in a 48-17 win over Rice.