Week 8 of the 2016 college football season produced several big performances and memorable moments from the SEC. Alabama handled Texas A&M to remain unbeaten and solidify its place as the favorite to win it all in 2016. LSU used a huge performance from its ground game to beat Ole Miss, Auburn's ground attack gashed Arkansas for over 500 yards on the ground, Kentucky defeated Mississippi State on a last-second field goal and South Carolina won against UMass.
With the eighth 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 8:
SEC Week 8 Awards
Offensive Player of the Week: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette announced his return to the LSU lineup in a big way on Saturday night. After missing the last two games due to an ankle injury, Fournette gashed Ole Miss for 284 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and caught three passes for 25 yards. Fournette accumulated 284 yards on just 16 attempts, averaging a whopping 17.8 yards per rush.
Defensive Player of the Week: Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama
Allen set the tone in the trenches for another standout effort by Alabama’s defense in Saturday’s win over Texas A&M. Allen recorded six tackles (one for a loss), one sack and returned a fumble 30 yards in the third quarter to help the Crimson Tide pull away for a 33-14 victory.
Coordinator of the Week (Offense): Rhett Lashlee, Auburn
Auburn’s offense continued its turnaround under Lashlee’s watch in a 56-3 win against Arkansas on Saturday night. The Tigers accumulated 632 total yards (9.2 per play), went 7 of 12 on third downs, did not commit a turnover and set a SEC regular season game record with 543 rushing yards.
Coordinator of the Week (Defense): Jeremy Pruitt, Alabama
Keeping a high-powered offense like Texas A&M’s in check is no easy assignment. However, Alabama limited the Aggies to just 14 points (down from the season average of 40.2) and 278 yards (down from 532.8 average) and wreaked havoc at the line of scrimmage with 11 tackles for a loss and five sacks. This unit also extended its scoring streak to nine consecutive games with a touchdown after Jonathan Allen’s fumble return for a 30-yard score.
Freshman of the Week (Offense): Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama
This award is becoming a weekly tradition for Hurts. The true freshman was steady in Alabama’s win over Texas A&M, completing 15 of 25 throws for 164 yards and two scores. He also added 93 rushing yards and one score on 21 carries.
Freshman of the Week (Defense): Marlon Davidson, DL, Auburn
Davidson was a key cog in Auburn’s defensive effort on Saturday night. The Tigers limited Arkansas to just three points and 3.4 yards per play. Davidson recorded two tackles (one for a loss), two pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.
Team of the Week: Alabama
The Crimson Tide improved to 8-0 with an impressive 33-14 victory over Texas A&M. Nick Saban’s team continues to distance itself from the rest of the nation and is the clear favorite to win the College Football Playoff title.
Unsung Hero of the Week: Kamryn Pettway, RB, Auburn
With starter Kerryon Johnson on the mend from an injury suffered against Mississippi State, Pettway stepped into the No. 1 role for Auburn’s ground attack on Saturday night. Pettway totaled 192 yards and two rushing scores on 27 attempts, headlining an Auburn rushing attack that recorded 543 yards on the ground against the Razorbacks.