Athlon hands out the awards from the Week 7 action in the SEC.
Week 7 of the 2016 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments from the SEC. Alabama handled Tennessee to remain unbeaten, LSU used a strong second half to pull away from Southern Miss, Arkansas knocked off Ole Miss in one of the weekend's best games, and Vanderbilt scored a road upset at Georgia.
With the seventh weekend of 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 7:
SEC Week 7 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week (Offense): Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama
Hurts was unflappable in the tough road environment at Tennessee. The true freshman completed 16 of 26 passes for 143 yards and added 132 yards and three scores on the ground.
Defensive Player of the Week: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
Cunningham led the way for Vanderbilt’s standout defensive effort in Saturday’s win over Georgia. The junior recorded 19 tackles (2.5 for a loss) and one pass breakup, while helping to limit the Bulldogs’ ground attack to just 75 yards. Cunningham also recorded a critical stop on fourth-and-one with less than a minute remaining to secure victory for Vanderbilt.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Lane Kiffin, Alabama
Kiffin’s gameplan and play-calling in his return to Knoxville was flawless. Alabama recorded 594 total yards (7.8 per play), with 438 of those yards coming on the ground at 8.9 per carry. Kiffin also had a perfect gameplan for quarterback Jalen Hurts, as the freshman led the offense with 132 yards and added 143 more through the air on 16 completions. Additionally, four out of the Crimson Tide’s last five drives resulted in touchdowns.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama
It’s a clean sweep for Alabama in Athlon’s SEC coordinator awards for Week 7. Pruitt’s defense held Tennessee to just 11 first downs, 163 overall yards and sacked quarterback Joshua Dobbs three times. The Crimson Tide did not allow a drive longer than 49 yards, with nine of those drives lasting three plays or less.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): Leo Lewis, LB, Mississippi State
Mississippi State fell short in overtime against BYU, but the defense delivered one of its best efforts of the season, holding the Cougars to just 311 total yards (4.1 ypp). Lewis recorded 12 overall stops and was a big reason why BYU’s offense struggled to get on track.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Santos Ramirez, DB, Arkansas
Ramirez finished Saturday’s win over Ole Miss with four overall tackles and one pass breakup. However, his biggest contribution was a huge hit on quarterback Chad Kelly on fourth down with less than two minutes remaining. The hit on Kelly forced a fumble, which prevented the Rebels from reaching the first-down line and allowing Arkansas to run out the clock for the 34-30 win.
Team of the Week: Vanderbilt
The Commodores scored the biggest win of coach Derek Mason’s three-year stint on Saturday, defeating Georgia 17-16 in Athens. Vanderbilt used a timely offense, a key play on special teams from standout return man Darrius Sims (95-yard return) and a stellar defensive effort to pull off the upset.