Week 10 of the 2016 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments from the SEC. Alabama's defense and quarterback Jalen Hurts carried the Crimson Tide to a 10-0 victory in Death Valley over LSU, while Texas A&M's playoff hopes disappeared in a loss at Mississippi State. Quarterback Sean White didn't start for Auburn due to injury, but his return in the second half helped the Tigers avoid a loss against a tough Vanderbilt team. Georgia knocked off Kentucky, South Carolina defeated Missouri, Arkansas dominated Florida, while Tennessee and Ole Miss picked up victories in non-conference play.
With the first weekend of November games in the books, it’s time to take a look at the best of the best and honor some of the top performances from the SEC. Here’s a look at Athlon Sports’ picks for the offensive, defensive, coordinator, team, freshman and unsung hero from Week 10:
SEC Week 10 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State
Fitzgerald helped Mississippi State engineer the weekend’s top upset, as the Bulldogs defeated Texas A&M 35-28. Fitzgerald completed 18 of 31 throws for 209 yards and two scores and rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
Defensive Player of the Week: Ryan Anderson, LB, Alabama
This award could go to the entire Alabama defense for its standout performance against LSU. But let’s give a tip of the cap to Anderson, who had a clutch outing as one of the Crimson Tide’s edge rushers. Anderson recorded six tackles (one for a loss), one sack, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Dan Enos, Arkansas
Enos pushed all of the right buttons for Arkansas’ offense against Florida. The Razorbacks recorded 466 total yards, converted 6 of 14 third-down attempts and posted only one three-and-out on 13 drives. Arkansas averaged 6.2 yards per play, which was the second-highest total allowed by Florida in 2016.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama
A rejuvenated LSU offense was completely dominated on Saturday night by Alabama’s defense. The Crimson Tide held the Tigers to just 125 overall yards (a paltry 2.5 ypc), allowed only six first downs, forced one turnover and 12 tackles for a loss. Additionally, Alabama’s defense held Leonard Fournette to 35 yards on 17 carries and none of LSU’s final eight drives went longer than 15 yards.
Freshman of the Week (Offense): Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama
Hurts was steady and delivered a clutch performance in Alabama’s 10-0 win over LSU. The true freshman was under fire in a tough road environment against one of the nation’s best defenses, but Hurts didn’t flinch. The true freshman connected on 10 of 19 passes for 107 yards and added 114 yards and one touchdown on 20 attempts. Hurts scored the game’s only touchdown on a fourth-quarter run and accounted for 221 of Alabama’s 323 overall yards.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): Julian Rochester, DL, Georgia
Rochester stepped up in a big way in Georgia’s win over Kentucky. The Bulldogs were without two linemen – Trent Thompson (hip) and DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle (injury) – against a talented Kentucky backfield. Rochester tied for the team lead with eight tackles (one for a loss), recorded one sack and also tallied one forced fumble.
Team of the Week: Mississippi State
With several new faces seeing significant snaps on both sides of the ball, Mississippi State is in the middle of a transition year. However, coach Dan Mullen’s rebuilding project received a boost on Saturday, as the Bulldogs – nearly a two-touchdown underdog – upset Texas A&M 35-28 on Saturday. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald accounted for 391 total yards and four scores, while the defense held the Aggies to 382 total yards (second-lowest total of the season for Texas A&M) and only four of 15 drives went longer than 55 yards.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Rawleigh Williams, RB, Arkansas
Arkansas faced a tough matchup against a Florida front seven ranked among the best in the nation against the run. However, the Razorbacks won the battle up front, as the offensive line proved good protection for quarterback Austin Allen and opened up the run game for Williams. The sophomore recorded 148 yards and two touchdowns on 26 attempts and caught two passes for 22 yards.