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.

First-Team Defense for Week 13 in College Football

Which defensive players made the first-team College Football Team of the Week for Week 13?

EDGE: David Ojabo, Michigan

His teammate may have had his “Heisman Moment,” but David Ojabo was dominant all the same. Opposite Aidan Hutchinson, Ojabo was thoroughly terrific all game against Ohio State. The bookend pass rushers cruised past the opposition on Saturday, routinely pressuring Buckeye QB C.J. Stroud on seemingly every dropback. Ojabo finished the game with 3 total tackles and 1 sack, but an additional handful of pressures thanks to his array of pass-rush moves.

DI: Jonah Tavai, San Diego State

It was back on Friday night that Jonah Tavai had himself the performance of a lifetime. Sure, the Boise State offensive line isn’t what it used to be, but Tavai made mincemeat out of them. He routinely caved the interior of the line to get to Hank Bachmeier, recording 3.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Tavai pushed the pocket with ease and even hit Bachmeier on a handful of other occasions.

DI: C.J. Brewer, Coastal Carolina

Coming up big when it mattered most, C.J. Brewer and the Chanticleers defense stymied the South Alabama defense in overtime. Brewer was terrific all game, forcing his way through the Jaguars’ offensive line with ease. He recorded 2 tackles for loss as well as a handful of other pressures, most notably in the waning stages.

EDGE: Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

Aidan Hutchinson plays second fiddle to no man after his dominant performance on Saturday. While some of his sacks were actually clean-up efforts against Ohio State, Hutchinson powered his way past OSU’s best they had to offer on dozens of occasions. He finished the game with 3 sacks, 5 solo tackles, and a bevy of other impressive pass-rush wins.

Let it be known now, Hutchinson is a man on a mission to disrupt quarterbacks. Hutchinson wins with power and speed. He’ll dominate with his hand usage and push through even the biggest of blockers. Don’t be surprised if Hutchinson grades out better than a certain Oregon edge defender come April.

LB: Devin Harper, Oklahoma State

The Cowboys were headed to the Big 12 Championship Game regardless of the outcome of Bedlam on Saturday. However, thanks in large part to their defensive efforts, they now play Baylor instead of a rematch against Oklahoma. They also have a chance at the College Football Playoffs, again thanks in large part to their defense. Devin Harper was terrific on Saturday night, flying to the football in both facets.

Harper patrolled sideline to sideline to the tune of 10 total tackles, including 7 solo takedowns. He was terrific in coverage, but also as a spy on Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams. Harper sacked Williams once and had an additional 4 QB hurries on some well-executed blitz attempts.

LB: Josh Chandler-Semedo, West Virginia

It wasn’t without drama, but West Virginia outlasted Kansas to become bowl eligible this season. Josh Chandler-Semedo was integral in the Mountaineers achieving bowl eligibility, coming up huge against the Jayhawks. Chandler-Semedo recorded a team-high 8 total tackles (all of which were solo takedowns), but his efforts in coverage earn him his spot here.

Chandler-Semedo picked off the Kansas short passing attack twice on the night, both late in the game. His 2 fourth-quarter interceptions preserved the lead and led to a field goal that all but sealed the deal for WVU.

LB: Malcolm Rodriguez, Oklahoma State

The heart and soul of Oklahoma State’s defense, Malcolm Rodriguez turned out a vintage performance against the Sooners during Bedlam. Rodriguez had 11 total tackles and 5 solo stops against Oklahoma. He was terrific against the run, recording 3 total tackles for loss. What separates Rodriguez’s performance were his 2 sacks on Sooners QB Caleb Williams. This was perhaps the finest linebacker duo performance of the season, with Rodriguez and Harper landing on our College Football Team of the Week.

CB: Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson

Coming up big as the season went along, Clemson CB Andrew Booth Jr. rides into the offseason on a tear. In his most recent outing, Booth recorded 2 interceptions against South Carolina, giving him 3 picks over his past two games. He showcased what makes him a potentially special future NFL player with incredible range and great ball skills. The Gamecocks couldn’t throw against Clemson, and Booth was a major reason for that.

CB: Armani Marsh, Washington State

The Washington State defense largely blanked the Washington offense on Friday night. The Apple Cup went the way of the Cougars thanks in large part to their defensive prowess. WSU intercepted true freshman QB Sam Huard 4 times on the night, 2 of which belonged to Armani Marsh. He recorded 3 solo tackles to boot, and Marsh’s 28-yard pick-six was the perfect culmination to a dominant defensive output.

CB: Gabe Taylor, Rice

In one of the more memorable events of the entire 2021 college football season, Rice slot CB Gabe Taylor iced the game for the Owls. Leading by 4 points with less than 20 seconds remaining, Louisiana Tech had a chance to win the game against Rice. It was Taylor who intercepted a desperation heave from Louisiana Tech QB JD Head that sealed the deal.

What made Taylor’s interception so special is that it came on the anniversary of his older brother’s death. November 27 marks the day former Miami Hurricane and Washington Football Team star safety Sean Taylor was killed — 14 years later, it marks the day his younger brother announced himself to the world. Gabe recorded his second interception in as many games in doing so.

S: Patrick McMorris, San Diego State

Patrick McMorris recorded 2 interceptions en route to his spot on our Team of the Week with some help from his defensive line. McMorris had 2 INTs, 3 solo tackles, and didn’t allow anything big in his zone. It was a remarkable day for the Aztecs overall, but especially for an ascending player in their program.

S: Tae Daley, Virginia Tech

The Hokies needed some help to get to a bowl game this season, and they got it with their defensive efforts in the Commonwealth Cup. Tae Daley came up huge, leading the game with 6 solo tackles. Daley’s efforts helped shut down the Cavs’ aerial assault when it mattered most, allowing just 1 passing touchdown as a team. He even intercepted UVA QB Brennan Armstrong early on, proving his worth in coverage time and time again.

FLEX: Micheal Clemons, Texas A&M

It came in an unfortunate losing effort, but Micheal Clemons put in work against LSU. Clemons dominated the LSU offensive line to the tune of 3.5 sacks and a handful of other pressures. His efforts matched his season total of 3.5 sacks as this performance was so dominant. Clemons was also solid across all facets, but his pass rushing was next-level against the Tigers.

Punter: Oscar Chapman, Auburn

The Iron Bowl didn’t quite go the way of the Tigers, but Oscar Chapman did all he could. Chapman flipped the field multiple times and pinned the Crimson Tide back on more than one occasion. He was responsible for making Alabama go 97 yards with just 1:35 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Second-Team Defense

EDGE: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
DI: Brandon Dorlus, Oregon
DI: Zayin West, Kent State
EDGE: Cameron Thomas, San Diego State
LB: Kalen DeLoach, Florida State
LB: Justus Rogers, Washington State
LB: Silas Kelly, Coastal Carolina
CB: Deshawn Jones Jr., Bowling Green
CB: Woodi Washington, Oklahoma
CB: Jakorian Bennett, Maryland
S: Warren Saba, East Carolina
S: Alex Spillum, Coastal Carolina
FLEX: Mika Tafua, Utah
P: Matt Araiza, San Diego State

Honorable Mention Defense

EDGE: Arron Mosby, Fresno State
DI: Raymond Vohasek, North Carolina
DI: Nolan Cockrill, Army
EDGE: Brock Martin, Oklahoma State
LB: Tatum Bethune, UCF
LB: Jimmy Phillips Jr., SMU
LB: Ivan Pace Jr., Miami (OH)
CB: Josh Jobe, Alabama
CB: Berdale Robins, Nevada
CB: Jarvis Brownlee Jr., Florida State
S: BeeJay Williamson, Louisiana Tech
S: Dy’vonne Inyang, UTEP
FLEX: T.D. Moultry, Auburn
P: Reid Bauer, Arkansas

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here. Follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.