PFF’s Team of the Week selections following Week 6
Steve Palazzolo and PFF's team of analysts share their selections for national, Power-5 and Group of 5 Teams of the Week.
PFF’s Team of the Week selections following Week 6
Another action-packed weekend brought us memorable performances from skill position players, breakout games from pass-rushers and a Heisman-worthy effort from Jabrill Peppers at any position he pleased. As usual, it’s PFF’s play-by-play grading of every FBS game that allows us to find the weekend’s best performances, beyond just the usual hype. Here’s your Week 6 Team of the Week in college football.
Quarterback: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma 76.7
After a slow start, Mayfield found his groove against Texas, finishing 22-for-31 for 390 yards and three touchdowns. His best throw of the day came on a post route to fellow Team of the Week star Dede Westbrook for one of his three touchdowns. Mayfield consistently moved the chains, through the air and on the ground, while missing only a handful of throws on the afternoon.
Running back: Alvin Kamara, Tennessee 88.1 and Ryan Nall, Oregon State 83.3
Texas A&M couldn’t tackle Kamara who broke six tackles in the run game and another seven as a receiver in one of the best performances by a running back all season. He rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns on his 18 carries and caught all eight of his targets for 161 yards and another score. Nall only had 14 official carries but he found the end zone on three of them and ran for 221 yards, forcing 10 missed tackles along the way.
Wide receiver: Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma 88.5 and Cedrick Wilson, Boise State 84.7
Westbrook was an easy selection after catching all 10 of his targets for 232 yards and three scores against Texas. He got behind the defense with nifty route running while also showing well with the ball in his hands, picking up 108 of his yards after the catch. Wilson found the end zone three times, catching nine total passes on 12 targets for 167 yards. It was the best game in what has become a breakout season for Wilson.
Slot: Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State 80.3
Boise State dominates the wide receiver list as Sperbeck had 198 yards and two touchdowns of his own with a national-high 152 of those yards coming from the slot. His 8.44 yards per route from the slot also paved the way for the week.
Tight end: Hayden Hurst, South Carolina 84.7
Hurst had his best game of the season as he stretched the middle of the field for South Carolina and made a number of key catches on his way to 86 yards, 48 of which came after the catch (8.0 YAC per reception). Hurst also had a reasonable performance in the run game.
Offensive tackle: Andreas Knappe, UConn 83.7 and Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky 82.1
With a perfect day in pass protection and strong run blocking on the right side of the Huskies’ line, Knappe earns the spot with his best game of the season. Lamp returned to action with another perfect day in pass protection, now putting him at 155 pass blocking attempts on the year with only one pressure surrendered. He also held his own as a run blocker.
Guard: Jordan Roos, Purdue 85.0 and Isaiah Wynn, Georgia 82.7
Few players have improved as much as Roos this season and he continued his strong play with an outstanding run blocking effort and clean day in pass protection. He did some of his best work on the move as a puller and in the screen game. Wynn had a similar day for Georgia as the Bulldogs ran behind him in the power game while he did not surrender a pressure on his 18 attempts.
Center: Evan Brown, SMU 85.9
Brown continually found second-level linebackers to open holes for SMU runners while only losing handful of times on his 90 snaps. He surrendered one negated pressure on his 56 snaps in pass protection.
Edge rusher: Joe Mathis, Washington 88.5 and Harold Landry, Boston College 87.2
Mathis was the best player on the field in Washington’s domination of Oregon as he picked up a sack, two QB hits, and seven hurries on only 22 rushes while adding two stops in the run game. Landry’s Eagles’ didn’t fare as well, but it didn’t stop him from posting a sack, QB hit, and four hurries on his 31 rushes. He’s heated up in recent weeks as he starts to live up to his preseason PFF College 101 hype.
Defensive interior: Kingsley Opara, Maryland 85.7 and Greg Gaines, Washington 83.7
Opara made a huge impact on hi s43 snaps, pressuring the quarterback with a hit and three hurries on only 14 rushes while posting the week’s third-best grade against the run at 85.8. Gaines continued his strong play as he now owns the ninth-best grade among interior defensive linemen in the nation. He had a well-rounded 81.2 grade against the run and 83.0 as a pass-rusher as he picked up two sacks and four hurries on only 22 rushes.
Linebacker: Jerome Baker, Ohio State 88.2; Andrew Motuapuaka, Virginia Tech 87.0; Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt 86.6
Baker had the best game of his short career, leading Ohio State with seven stops and leading the nation with an 88.9 run defense grade this week. Hurricane or not, Virginia Tech had a dominant performance against North Carolina and Motuapuaka led the team in both solo tackles with 12 and stops with five while capping the day with a fourth quarter interception. Cunningham brought his usual aggressive brand of football to Kentucky, and he finished with eight stops on his way to an 86.1 grade against the run.
Cornerback: Jace Whittaker, Arizona 89.7 and Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama 88.7
With four passes defensed and only 11 yards surrendered on nine targets, it was a career day for Whittaker, even with a touchdown surrendered in the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick got his hands on the ball five times, knocking away two and picking off three more and those big plays offset some of the six catches he gave up on 12 targets.
Safety: Jabrill Peppers, Michigan 82.9 (not including offense/special teams) and Nate Holley, Kent State 87.6
Let’s put Peppers at safety this week as he’s allowed to make the team at multiple positions. He got into the action as a pass rusher with a QB hit and a hurry while also playing well against the run, but it was his electric punt return that was negated by penalty and 74 yards on three carries leading to two touchdowns that cemented his place on the team. For the third-straight year, Holley is quietly one of the best safeties in the country and he now leads all safeties with 32 stops after picking up six more against Buffalo while adding in a pass defensed.
From special teams analyst Gordon McGuinness:
Kicker: Jonathan Barnes, Louisiana Tech
Barnes was only asked to kick two field goals this weekend, but both came from over 40 yards, with one coming from beyond 50, and he made them both.
Punter: Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah
Wishnowsky had a great game for Utah, averaging 50.0 ney yards per punt, and seeing five of his six punts land inside the 20 yard line. None of his punts were returned, with two resulting in fair catches and four being downed.
K/PR: Adoree’ Jackson, USC
Jackson helped spark USC on Saturday with two big returns. While he didn’t find the end zone, he did have a 38-yard kick return, and a 47-yard punt return.
SEC — Gordon McGuinness
QB: Jalen Hurts, Alabama, 72.7
HB: Alvin Kamara, Tennessee, 88.1
FB: Christian Payne, Georgia, 78.3
WR: Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M, 82.1; Christian Kirk, Texas A&M, 78.9
TE: Hayden Hurst, South Carolina, 84.7
OT: Robert Leff, Auburn, 76.3; Darius James, Auburn, 75.4
OG: Isaiah Wynn, Georgia, 82.7; Lamond Gaillard, Georgia, 75.2
C: Frank Ragnow, Arkansas, 82.1
ED: Derek Barnett, Tennessee, 83.7; Tim Williams, Alabama, 82.5
DI: Nifae Lealao, Vanderbilt, 83.6; Daylon Mack, Texas A&M, 81.1
LB: Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, 86.6; Colton Jumper, Tennessee, 84.4; Roquan Smith, Georgia, 84.2
CB: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama, 88.7; Malkom Parrish, Georgia, 86.0
S: Ronnie Harrison, Alabama, 80.3; Ryan White, Vanderbilt, 78.3
K: Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky
P: Toby Baker, Arkansas
K/PR: Darrius Sims, Vanderbilt
ACC — John Breitenbach
QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson 74.7
WR Deon Cain, Clemson 73.7; Stacy Coley, Miami 73.9
OT Bentley Spain, North Carolina 78.1; Yosuah Nijman, Virginia Tech 73.7
OG Kc Mcdermott, Miami 77.4; Tommy Hatton, North Carolina 74.0
C Lucas Crowley, North Carolina 78.1
TE Cole Cook, North Carolina State 75.1
HB Wayne Gallman, Clemson 72.5
DE Harold Landry, Boston College 87.2; Chad Thomas, Miami 77.2
DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson 83.2; Nazair Jones, North Carolina 79.9
LB Andrew Motuapuaka, Virginia Tech 87.0; Ben Boulware, Clemson 85.7
LB Jerod Fernandez, North Carolina State 84.0
CB Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson 79.4; Greg Stroman, Virginia Tech 82.9
S Jarius Morehead, North Carolina State 81.4; AJ Westbrook, Florida State 81.1
Big 12 — Bryson Vesnaver
QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, 76.7
HB: Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, 77.7; D’Onta Foreman, Texas, 76.4
WR: Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, 88.5; James Washington, Oklahoma State, 82.5; Keke Coutee, Texas Tech, 78.6
OT: Victor Salako, Oklahoma State, 82.2; Zachary Crabtree, Oklahoma State, 81.3
OG: Marcus Keyes, Oklahoma State, 80.6; Patrick Scoggins, Iowa State, 78.7
C: Joe Gibson, Kansas, 80.7
ED: Josh Carraway, TCU, 81.2; Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma, 80.6
DI: Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State, 83.4; Ondre Pipkins, Texas Tech, 80.5
LB: Courtney Arnick, Kansas, 83.0; Travin Howard, TCU, 81.8; Chad Whitener, Oklahoma State, 81.4
CB: Brandon Stewart, Kansas, 81.8; Ranthony Texada, TCU, 80.9; Ashton Lampkin, Oklahoma State, 78.7
S: Tre Flowers, Oklahoma State, 83.9; Nick Orr, TCU, 79.0
K: Trent Domingue, Texas
P: Nick Walsh, Kansas State
KR: Bryon Pringle, Kansas State
Pac-12 — Jordan Plocher
QB: Jake Browning, Washington, 73.9
WR: River Cracraft, Washington State, 86.0; Dante Pettis, Washington, 84.3; John Ross, Washington, 77.6
OT: Trey Adams, Washington, 80.0; Garrett Bolles, Utah, 79.8
OG: Cody O’Connell, Washington State, 82.2; Chris Borrayo, Cal, 79.5
C: Nico Falah, USC, 78.5
RB: Ryan Nall, Oregon State, 81.3
TE: Austin Roberts, UCLA, 84.3
ED: Joe Mathis, Washington, 88.5; JoJo Wicker, ASU, 84.0
DI: Greg Gaines, Washington, 83.7; Pasoni Tasini, Utah, 82.3; Elijah Qualls, Washington, 82.0
LB: Raymond Davidson, Cal, 85.2; Jimmie Swain, Oregon, 81.4
CB: Jace Whitaker, Arizona, 89.7; Fabian Moreau, UCLA, 84.7
S: Laiu Moeakiola, ASU, 85.5; Jaleel Wadood, UCLA, 82.8
Big Ten — Josh Liskiewitz
QB: Trace McSorley, Penn State 72.8
WR: Malik Turner, Illinois 84.5; Jehu Chesson, Michigan 72.2
RB: Ty Isaac, Michigan 76.1
TE: George Kittle, Iowa 81.2
OT: Cole Croston, Iowa 81.9; Brendan Mahon, Penn State 77.3
OG: Jordan Roos, Purdue 85.0; Terrance Davis, Maryland 79.0
OC: Pat Elflein, Ohio State 77.1
DI: Kinglsey Opara, Maryland 85.7; Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State 83.3; Steven Richardson, Minnesota 82.3
ED: Nick Bosa, Ohio State 85.1; Anthony Nelson, Iowa 80.0
LB: Jerome Baker, Ohio State 88.2; Ben Gedeon, Michigan 84.3
CB: John Reid, Penn State 89.5; Jalen Myrick, Minnesota 87.3
S: Jabrill Peppers, Michigan 82.9; Delano Hill, Michigan 81.3
Group of 5 — Zoltan Buday
QB: Mike White, Western Kentucky 76.0
RB: Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State 87.8
WR: Thomas Owens, Florida International 86.0; Cedrick Wilson, Boise State 84.7
Slot: Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State 80.3
TE: Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan 78.6
OT: Andreas Knappe, Connecticut 83.7; Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
OG: Tyler Bowling, Tulsa 81.7; Micah St. Andrew, Fresno State 81.2
C: Evan Brown, SMU 85.9
ED: Haason Reddick, Temple 86.4; Malik Reed, Nevada 85.8
DI: Mackendy Cheridor, Georgia State 84.0; Ed Oliver, Houston 78.1
LB: Blair Brown, Ohio 89.9; Xavier Woodson-Luster, Arkansas State 80.3; Calvin Munson, San Diego State 82.4
CB: Justin Backus, Louisiana-Monroe 89.6; Amari Coleman, Central Michigan 86.5
S: Nate Holley, Kent State 87.6; Chris Morley, Memphis 81.4