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College Football Team of the Week: Rivalry Week lives up to the hype

A couple of dominant performances from players who hadn't yet won their rivalry games headline our Week 13 College Football Team of the Week.

What an amazing weekend of college football it was. Rivalry Week more than lived up to the hype. Bedlam and bruises, trophies and takeaways, we’ve gone through the tape and sifted through the statistics. Here are the top performances from Week 13 in our College Football Team of the Week.

College Football Team of the Week | Week 13

With so many dominant individual performances, it was incredibly tough to pick some of these positions. The Week 13 Team of the Week showcases the cream of the crop in college football this season.

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: Carson Strong, Nevada

It was a tight race to win the QB of the Week honors during Rivalry Week. While some rivalry games had excellent performances from other position players, Carson Strong dominated the weekend’s quarterback play. He finished the game 17-of-22 passing for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns. Strong didn’t throw the most touchdowns nor the most yards this weekend, but his touchdown tosses were things of beauty.

It was a dominant final regular-season game for Strong, who likely has played his last collegiate game. And what a showing it was.

RB: Hassan Haskins, Michigan

For the first time in 10 years and most certainly in his collegiate career, Hassan Haskins and Michigan finally toppled Ohio State in The Game. Haskins was unstoppable against the Buckeyes, rushing for 5 touchdowns in Michigan’s 42-27 victory. He scored the final 30 points for the Wolverines as the primary back in relief of a hobbled Blake Corum.

It was Haskins who capped off a big Corum run to give Michigan the lead in the second quarter — a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. He certainly had terrific blocking in front of him, but Haskins also manufactured enough yardage on his own. Haskins had touchdown runs of 1, 1, 2, 4, and 13 yards in the game, quite literally having the game of his life in The Game.

RB: Breece Hall, Iowa State

In what very well may be his final game for Iowa State, Breece Hall recorded video game numbers against TCU. Hall rushed the ball 18 times for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns, with another 2 catches for 39 yards and 1 score. He averaged a whopping 13.4 yards per carry, 19.5 yards per catch, and 16.5 yards per touch against the Horned Frogs. Hall wrapped up Senior Day in Ames with a vintage performance that showcased why he may be the first running back drafted next April.

WR: Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama

Entering the game, the Coastal Carolina defense was allowing just 175 passing yards per game this season. Despite that, Jalen Tolbert exploded in his final collegiate contest for 10 receptions, 191 yards, and 1 touchdown. South Alabama, led by Tolbert, gave Coastal everything they had and almost defeated the Chanticleers to get to a bowl game.

It wasn’t to be, but Tolbert and the seniors on South Alabama’s roster leave a lasting legacy for a young, emerging program. Tolbert finishes the season with 1,474 receiving yards on 82 catches and 8 touchdowns. He has essentially written the South Alabama record book with his brilliant career in Mobile.

WR: Skyy Moore, Western Michigan

Rewind the clocks to last Tuesday when Western Michigan and Northern Illinois gave us one final taste of midweek MACtion. That Tuesday night game saw WMU WR Skyy Moore go off, recording a whopping 4 touchdown catches in a rout. Moore finished the night with 12 catches for 206 yards, while 3 of his touchdowns came in a dominant third quarter.

WR: Ali Jennings III, Old Dominion

After not playing all of last season, ODU capped a miraculous season with a 56-34 victory over Charlotte to clinch bowl eligibility in Week 13. Ali Jennings III lands on our College Football Team of the Week after putting forth a 9-catch, 252-yard performance that saw him score 3 TDs against the 49ers.

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Jennings had touchdowns of 34 and 46 yards in the first half, but his second-half efforts clinched it. With Charlotte threatening and cutting the lead to a single possession, Jennings’ 36-yard touchdown reception with 3:49 left in the fourth quarter pushed the game out of reach.

TE: Brock Bowers, Georgia

It’s shaping up to be an incredibly special season for Georgia. But it may be an even more special career for Brock Bowers in Athens. The freshman tight end got his first taste of the Georgia vs. Georgia Tech rivalry, leaving a lasting mark in the Yellow Jackets’ minds for years to come. Bowers streaked down the field on a 77-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter. He then climbed the ladder and produced one of the best catches of the weekend, high-pointing the football over his defender for a touchdown in the third.

All in all, Bowers had 3 receptions for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns in the dominant victory. His blend of speed and athleticism is hard to match in college football this season.

FLEX: Trey McBride, Colorado State

One of the most athletic players in the country, Trey McBride went out with a bang in Week 13. The Rams didn’t get the win, but it certainly wasn’t McBride’s fault. He executed a perfect fake punt for a touchdown, rumbling 69 yards and stiff-arming a defender for Colorado State’s only touchdown against Nevada. McBride also caught 6 receptions for 113 yards, proving yet again that he is as reliable as they come.

LT: Bamidele Olaseni, Utah

It’s nearly impossible to miss Bamidele Olaseni. Literally, impossible. The man stands at a whopping 6’8″ and 330 pounds but moves like he’s a linebacker. He’s turned it on down the stretch, and the big man finished the regular season with perhaps his best performance to date.

Actually, the whole Utah offensive line played tremendous football on Friday night. Olaseni opened up gaps in the run game while protecting Cam Rising’s blindside with perfection. It was a brilliant example of left tackle play as Olaseni continues to increase his NFL Draft stock.

LG: Jarrett Kingston, Washington State

Back on Friday during the Apple Cup, the Cougars got back in the win column after a year hiatus from their annual rivalry game with the Huskies. Jarrett Kingston and the offensive onslaught from WSU paved the way, as they dominated the action from the start. Kingston was terrific in pass protection, as Jayden de Laura had more than enough clean pockets to dissect the Washington defense. His efforts in the run game also paved the way for over 5.0 yards per carry from WSU running backs.

C: Nick Ford, Utah

Nick Ford is back at center and back to top form for the Utes. As the whole offensive line dominated, Ford was the centerpiece of the Pac-12‘s most imposing unit. Ford was brilliant in every facet all night long. His play-side blocks more than opened up huge gaps for the Utah rushing attack, and his backside protection on rollouts was excellent. When in top shape, Ford gives the top centers in the country a run for their money.

RG: Kaden Moore, Virginia Tech

It didn’t come easy, but the Commonwealth Cup was won by the Hokies, 29-24, over the Cavaliers. Kaden Moore was dominant on the ground for Virginia Tech, helping pave the way for 320 rushing yards. Grinding out first down after first down, Moore won at the first and second level all the same. He was nearly perfect in pass protection as well in an all-around dominant game.

RT: Braeden Daniels, Utah

Capping three Utes on our First Team of our Team of the Week, Braeden Daniels was equally impressive. No unit performed better this weekend, as Daniels was perfect in pass protection and stout in the run game. The Utes’ rushing attack was terrific everywhere but certainly behind Daniels.

Kicker: Caleb Shudak, Iowa

The Hawkeyes clinched a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday, thanks in part to Friday night’s efforts against Nebraska. With Wisconsin’s loss on Saturday, Iowa heads to Indianapolis to face Michigan for the Big Ten Title. However, it was back on Friday night that they finished a hard-fought game against Nebraska to get there.

Caleb Shudak was integral in Iowa’s victory, knocking home all 6 of his kicks. He went a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals, including a 51-yarder. Shudak also nailed both of his extra points.

Second-Team Offense

QB: Kaleb Eleby, Western Michigan | Tyler Van Dyke, Miami (FL)
RB: Tyjae Spears, Tulane
RB: Juwaun Price, New Mexico State
WR: Jaray Jenkins, LSU
WR: Tyrese Chambers, FIU
WR: Derek Wright, Utah State
TE: Travis Koontz, Texas Tech
FLEX: Tory Horton, Nevada
LT: Luke Tenuta, Virginia Tech
LG: Jack Badovinac, Illinois
C: LaQuinston Sharp, Mississippi State
RG: Sataoa Laumea, Utah
RT: Dylan O’Quinn, Cincinnati
K: Cam Little, Arkansas

Honorable Mention Offense

QB: Jonah Johnson, New Mexico State | Logan Bonner, Utah State
RB: DeAndre Torrey, North Texas
RB: Jermaine Brown Jr., UAB
WR: Jahan Dotson, Penn State
WR: Alec Pierce, Cincinnati
WR: Emeka Emezie, NC State
TE: Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
FLEX: Jalen Wayne, South Alabama
LT: Vederian Lowe, Illinois
LG: Brady Latham, Arkansas
C: Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas
RG: Devontay Love-Taylor, Florida State
RT: Max Mitchell, Louisiana
K: Grayson Atkins, North Carolina

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. He is also the co-host of Between the Hashes, a college football and NFL draft podcast. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter @CamMellor

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