The penultimate weekend of college football has come and gone. We’re down to just one full week of football left in the college ranks, and the playoff picture is shaping up. With some crushing victories and harrowing defeats, we’ve gone through the data and tape. Here are the top performances from Week 12 in our College Football Team of the Week.
College Football Team of the Week | Week 12
It was the annual SEC-play-a-cupcake week as the opponent came into play heavily when selecting players. And then there was a dilemma at quarterback, a dilemma we solved by bending the rules a bit.
Statistics matter, but so does the strength of the opponent, the time in which the player performed at his best, the individual players he went against, and where he won. For more specifics on the selections, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@CamMellor).
QB: C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
C.J. Stroud gets the first mention at quarterback after demolishing Michigan State. You wouldn’t have known just by watching the game (as the announcers criticized Michigan State’s secondary at every turn), but the Spartans actually ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of pass defense efficiency. They may now be on the bottom after this game, though.
Stroud lit up his opponents, throwing just 3 incompletions. He dotted the field brilliantly and had 6 touchdowns. Stroud finished the day 32-of-35 for 432 yards, doing all of this in just a single half of football. That’s right, Stroud knocked off the seventh-ranked team in just two quarters worth of action. It was a lights-out performance.
QB: Bryce Young, Alabama
It was tighter than you may have expected, but that certainly wasn’t Bryce Young’s fault. Alabama edged Arkansas after a late rally from the Razorbacks. Young was terrific in this one, throwing for a whopping 559 yards on 31-of-40 passing. He had 5 touchdown passes, giving him back-to-back games with 5 passing scores.
Young, like Stroud, deserves praise for his efforts through the air with perfectly placed balls to every level of the field. He spread the ball out, but when it came time for the end zone, it was Jameson Williams on the receiving end of 3 scores. The race for QB1 is heating up at the right time between Young and Stroud. Perhaps we’ll even get to see these two match up in the College Football Playoff.
RB: Braelon Allen, Wisconsin
Braelon Allen has come on strong as the season progresses. He’s steadily increased his workload down the home stretch, and as such, reached all new career-highs against Nebraska. Allen carried the ball 22 times for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Cornhuskers.
The 6’2″, 238-pound true freshman running back now has 6 touchdowns in his last two games. What makes this performance even more special is that Allen is still 17 years old and put up those kinds of numbers against the famed Blackshirts of Nebraska.
RB: Bryant Koback, Toledo | Lew Nichols III, Central Michigan
Unable to differentiate between the two, we spot Bryant Koback and Lew Nichols III here as co-RBs of the week. They each had a different day in which they starred, so they each get a mention here. Koback rushed for 203 yards and 4 scores on Tuesday night against Ohio, while Nichols ran for 219 yards and 3 touchdowns on Wednesday against Ball State.
Both teams have winnable games left on their schedule, as CMU and Toledo could finish second and third, respectively, in the MAC West. Either way, we have two more games from this pair in the MAC, perhaps the best two running backs in the conference overall.
WR: Jordan Addison, Pittsburgh
Jordan Addison put Biletnikoff Award voters on notice with a dominant performance against Virginia. Sure, the Cavs aren’t known for their defense this season, but he did damage on his own with crisp routes, strong hands, and an innate ability after the catch. His touchdown catch with 2:10 remaining on the clock sealed the deal for Pitt on Saturday night.
In total, Addison had 14 receptions for 202 yards and 4 touchdowns. The last score increased Pitt’s lead to 10 points and saw him snatch the football away before he skirted up the field, sprinting and weaving past defenders left and right. He’s a complete receiver who’s having a career year.
WR: Jameson Williams, Alabama
Jameson Williams made terrific use of the transfer portal this season, but it was most noticeable on Saturday. When the Ohio State receivers lit up the scoreboard, Williams did the same in Tuscaloosa. While it’s one thing to see how talented that Ohio State receiving corps was with Williams intact, it’s a great thing to see him find a new home so quickly.
Williams has officially emerged since transferring to Alabama. He springs into The Iron Bowl after a 3-touchdown performance against Arkansas. Williams hauled in 8 passes for 190 yards, marking the fourth consecutive game he’s toppled the 100-yard plateau. It’s also his second straight game with 3 touchdowns.
WR: Milton Wright, Purdue
Purdue righted the ship on Saturday against Northwestern. Boilermakers QB Aidan O’Connell threw for 423 yards and 3 touchdowns, all 3 of which went to Milton Wright. The big man from Kentucky hauled in 8 receptions for 213 yards and all 3 passing touchdowns in a dominant showing. Wright utilized a bevy of his skills, including his route running and strong hands, most notably on a double move past a cornerback for his final score of the day.
TE: Gary Williams, Colorado State
In arguably their finest showing from an aerial standpoint this season, Colorado State had two different tight ends haul in multiple scores. It was Gary Williams’ all-around efficiency that earned him the nod. With QB Todd Centeio throwing for 5 scores and over 500 yards, Williams hauled in 2 TDs and 92 receiving yards.
His 6 catches saw him achieve another 3 first downs. Williams was a chain-mover in the passing game and gave CSU plus-blocking on the ground.
FLEX: Malik Cunningham, Louisville
Don’t adjust your screens. You are not reading a video game statistical output. Malik Cunningham finished his Friday night outing against Duke with 7 total touchdowns. He threw for 303 yards and 5 scores while rushing for another 224 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Cunningham capped the night with a run to remember. Pulling a QB draw inside, Cunningham weaved through defenders, broke tackles, and even carried an arm tackle for a few yards, bouncing around the field for a 72-yard TD run midway through the first half. It was eerily similar to the quarterback he replaced: Lamar Jackson. His performance on Friday was very, very Jackson-like.
LT: Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
Word on the street is that Bernhard Raimann is still blocking Ball State defenders to this day. Raimann was an absolute menace to the Cardinals back on Wednesday night. He paved the way for 285 yards on the ground and kept his quarterback clean from his left tackle spot. Raimann has made himself some money this season, vaulting even higher up draft boards. He’ll showcase his skills at the Senior Bowl as well, with a chance to creep into the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
LG: Josh Seltzner, Wisconsin
The Badgers are at their best when they can run the ball successfully. They run the ball best with solid interior run blocking. Josh Seltzner was the solid interior presence Wisconsin needed on Saturday against Nebraska. Paving the way for Braelon Allen’s career day, Seltzner moved from the first to second level with ease. He created gashing rushing lanes while also providing clean pockets in the passing game.
C: Nick Ford, Utah
Moving back to center for the first time since Week 8, Nick Ford was back on his game after three games at left guard. It came at the right time, as the Utes dominated Oregon from the opening kick. Ford was integral in that, routinely calling out commands for his line and demonstrating his ability at every level. He pulls with ease and dominates at the point of contact, and he created multiple massive rushing lanes against Oregon.
RG: Elijah Klein, UTEP
It was hard to miss Elijah Klein and the Miners on Saturday night. Quarterback Gavin Hardison threw for a career-high 366 yards and was kept clean from pressure essentially on every dropback. Klein was terrific in pass protection as well as in the run game, but his bread and butter was keeping Hardison upright against Rice.
RT: Dawand Jones, Ohio State
The night is darkest just before Dawand. And the day turned to night for Michigan State defenders who lined up against Jones on Saturday. A mountain of a man at 6’8″, 360 pounds, Jones continues to impress with nimble feet and quick hands. He was terrific against Michigan State, helping in both facets but absolutely dominant in pass protection.
Kicker: Chad Ryland, Eastern Michigan
While the Eagles’ offense struggled to get the ball in the end zone, it was Ryland who capped seemingly every drive for Eastern Michigan back on Tuesday night. He connected on 5 of 5 field-goal attempts and made his only extra point. Ryland was perfect on the night and scored a whopping 16 points in the win.
QB: Will Rogers, Mississippi State | Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
RB: Rasheen Ali, Marshall
RB: Max Borghi, Washington State
WR: Treylon Burks, Arkansas
WR: Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama
WR: Chris Olave, Ohio State
TE: Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
FLEX: Romeo Doubs, Nevada
LT: Spencer Burford, UTSA
LG: Willie Lampkin, Coastal Carolina
C: Thor Paglialong, Air Force
RG: Amani Trigg-Wright, UNLV
RT: Braeden Daniels, Utah
K: Tanner Brown, Oklahoma State
Honorable Mention Offense
QB: Todd Centeio, Colorado State | Bailey Zappe, Western Kentucky
RB: DeAndre Hughes, Air Force
RB: Titus Swen, Wyoming
WR: Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky
WR: Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
WR: Zakhari Franklin, UTSA
TE: Cam Butler, Colorado State
FLEX: Dante Wright, Colorado State
LT: Bamidele Olaseni, Utah
LG: Keaton Bills, Utah
C: Zach Frazier, West Virginia
RG: Solo Vaipulu, Hawaii
RT: Preston Wilson, Oklahoma State
K: Cole Becker, Colorado