Week 6 College Football Players of the Week: Israel Abanikanda has Pittsburgh Panthers Offense Purring

Week 6 College Football Players of the Week: Israel Abanikanda has Pittsburgh Panthers Offense Purring

College football Week 6 saw another slate of jam-packed action with incredible performances from players throughout the nation. Now, it’s time to crown some standout stars as our college football Week 6 players of the week.

Week 6 College Football Players of the Week

Quarterback of the Week: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

UCLA is 6-0 after beating the Utah Utes in college football Week 6, just like everybody predicted. Or not.

One of the endearing qualities of the Pac-12 Conference is its unpredictability, and certainly, if you’d have asked me to confidently predict the Bruins beating the reigning conference champions — and several other Pac-12 teams — I couldn’t have done it.

The Bruins are getting it done, and it’s largely because of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson who is playing the very best football of his career.

The UCLA quarterback showcased his dual-threat dynamism by opening the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run. He’s been criticized in the past for relying on his running capability, but after the opening rushing touchdown, he consistently did damage with his arm.

DTR unlocked Jake Bobo for two scores, found Kam Brown for another, and hit Logan Loya for a program-record 76th touchdown of his career.

A pass picked off by Clark Phillips III threatened to put a dampener on his performance. However, given the ferocious nature of the Utah defense and Thompson-Robinson’s ability to dissect it largely with relative ease, he narrowly beats out Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud for Quarterback of the Week honors in college football Week 6.

Honorable mention: Graham Mertz, Wisconsin: 20/29 passing, 299 yards, 5 touchdowns; C.J. Stroud, Ohio State: 21/26 passing, 361 yards, 6 touchdowns.

Offensive Player of the Week: Israel Abanikanda, RB, Pittsburgh

Tony Dorsett. Ricky Williams. LaDanian Tomlinson. Some of the greatest running backs in college football history. Following a phenomenal college football Week 6 performance that helped the Pittsburgh Panthers to a 45-29 win over Virginia Tech, their fourth win of the year, Israel Abanikanda sits amongst those legends of those games.

It was consummate. It was commanding. The Pitt running back was in complete control of the Hokies’ defense.

Racking up 36 carries, Abanaikanda cruised past Dorsett’s Pitt program record for single-game rushing yards. In tallying 320 yards on the ground and finding the end zone a scintillating six times, the Pitt running back joined Williams and Tomlinson as the only players from current Power Five programs to rush for over 300 yards and score six rushing touchdowns in the last 25 years.

His sixth and final score was an 80-yard effort where he outran the entire Virginia Tech defense. Abanikanda is the Pitt offense right now.

Honorable mention: Samson Evans, RB, Eastern Michigan: 24 carries, 90 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns; Quinton Johnston, WR, TCU: 14 receptions, 206 receiving yards, 1 touchdown; Jonathon Mingo, WR, Ole Miss: 9 receptions, 247 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns.

Defensive Player of the Week: Quinyon Mitchell, CB, Toledo

In what turned out to be a record-setting college football Week 6, Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell etched his name into the Rockets’ record books.

The sophomore cornerback was so defensively dominant in Toledo’s 52-32 win over Northern Illinois that although there was still plenty of football to play at the final whistle, it felt like no one would get close to challenging him for Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Mitchell came into the game having never secured a career interception. He left Huskie Stadium with a share of the program record for single-game interceptions.

MORE: CFB Week 6 Team of the Week

The Toledo cornerback snagged four interceptions, including two pick-sixes that helped the Rockets stretch their scoring legs in the first half. Those two interceptions were a program record.

Meanwhile, Mitchell is the only FBS player since 2000 to have four interceptions and two pick-sixes in a single game.

Honorable mention: Seth Coleman, LB, Illinois: 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 4 quarterback hurries; Tuli Tuipulotu, DT, USC: 3 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback hurry. 

Special Teams Player of the Week: Fabrizio Pinton, K, Illinois

Illinois and Iowa played the dream game for all those who love special teams in a close-fought game that featured some elite-level punting from Tory Taylor and Hugh Robertson.

Taylor once again racked up more punt yards than the Hawkeyes managed in total offensive yards. Meanwhile, freshman Australian Robertson landed four of his six punts inside the 20.

However, it’s difficult to find a performance more pivotal to a team’s success in College Football Week 6 than Illinois kicker Fabrizio Pinton.

From the 27-yard field goal that opened the game’s scoring to the 36-yard game-clinching score — and the 37-yard long in between — Pinton scored all of Illinois’ points in a win that continues the Illini’s sensational start to the season.

Bret Bielema’s 5-1 team is enjoying its best start to the season since 2011.

Honorable mention: Adam Korsak, P, Rutgers: 7 punts, five inside the 20, one touchback, 51 long; Daniel Davies, K, Navy: 3/3 on field goals, 6/6 on extra points.

Freshman Player of the Week: Kelvin Banks Jr., OT, Texas

Making an instant impact as a freshman in college football is hard. It’s even harder when you’re a freshman offensive lineman tasked with stopping some of the most vicious pass rushers in the nation while you deal with the change in tempo and acquire the tools to help you be successful in your trade.

Even when you’re at the top of the game at your position, recognition is hard to come by, and criticism comes easily and readily.

As Texas put together a historic victory over Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, it’s easy to focus on Quinn Ewers, Bijan Robinson, or Ja’Tavion Sanders.

Yet, the man allowing that offensive success to happen was true freshman OT Kelvin Banks Jr.

The 6’4″, 320-pound left tackle kept Ewers clean all afternoon long. His combination of fast footwork, strength, and pure outright viciousness ensured that the Texas offensive line allowed zero sacks and just two quarterback hurries.

It was a monster performance from the freshman monster.

Honorable mention: Evan Stewart, WR, Texas A&M: 8 receptions, 108 receiving yards; Quinshon Judkins, RB, Ole Miss: 11 carries, 46 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns.