The Week 8 College Football Team of the Week is here as the college football schedule was headlined by a terrific noon slate and followed up with intense action throughout the day. Multiple undefeated teams fell, and the conference power rankings got a shakeup at every turn.
Week 8 College Football Team of the Week | First Team
It’s important to note that the PFN Week 8 College Football Team of the Week awards players based on their impact in their respective games and is not necessarily based on total statistical output.
The strength of competition is accounted for, as is the situation — both time of the game and score. These individual awards are also solely based on a player’s ability on Saturday and do not look into their future stock or NFL draft prospects.
Quarterback: Bo Nix, Oregon
It was a performance for the ages for Bo Nix, as he’s set a career-high in passing touchdowns already this season. Throwing five scores against previously unbeaten UCLA, Nix now has 17 passing touchdowns and has Oregon sitting at 6-1 and controlling their own destiny toward a Pac-12 Championship Game appearance.
Nix was near-flawless against UCLA, throwing 22-for-28 and 283 yards. He came up big when the Ducks needed him to, including a big first-down run on fourth down to subsequently ice the game in the fourth quarter.
After this performance, Nix has officially entered the Heisman Trophy race, even if he has an outside chance at the award come season’s end.
Running Back: Deneric Prince, Tulsa
Back on Friday night, it was Deneric Prince who averaged a whopping 11.5 yards per carry against a stout Temple defense. Prince ran the rock 20 times for 231 yards and scored a touchdown in Tulsa’s victory.
His all-around game is what propels him to our Week 8 College Football Team of the Week, as he also scored an impressive receiving touchdown, accounting for 18 of Tulsa’s 27 points. Prince has been back for three games this season for the Golden Hurricane, and he’s taken over two of them.
Running Back: Damien Martinez, Oregon State
The Beavers broke the dam against Colorado as Damien Martinez rushed for three touchdowns in the rout. Martinez needed just 22 carries to reach 178 yards and three scores, while he totaled 188 yards of offense on the night.
Martinez created plenty on his own against Colorado, zipping through holes and plowing ahead through defenders. He was never bottled up and made Buffalo tacklers look at the air when he ran by them.
Wide Receiver: Troy Franklin, Oregon
Troy Franklin had a Catch of the Year candidate against UCLA and was impressive throughout most of the game. Franklin finished with eight catches for 132 yards and two scores, but his most impressive play of the day came on a routine first-down catch.
Facing press-man coverage, Franklin jetted up the sidelines on a simple go route. Nix launched the pass to where Franklin should’ve been had he not been impeded by the defensive back who was draped all over him.
Franklin snatched the ball out of the air with a full extension, using his late hands and incredible body control to keep the ball despite getting dragged down by the defender.
The catch sent the sellout crowd at Autzen to their feet, and the Ducks never looked back.
Wide Receiver: Luke McCaffrey, Rice
In what has become a big week for the McCaffrey Family, Luke McCaffrey had maybe the biggest individual day of them all. Just days after Christian McCaffrey was traded back to the Bay Area, Luke hauled in two receiving touchdowns and rushed another in to give him three total touchdowns in an overtime win over Louisiana Tech.
McCaffrey’s college career has been an interesting journey, but he’s certainly found a home at Rice. He finished with three carries for 31 yards, 10 catches for 171 yards, and three total touchdowns.
Wide Receiver: Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
When you’re hot, you’re hot. And Jalin Hyatt is red hot right now for Tennessee. Despite the starters resting with just over four minutes remaining in the second quarter, the 20-or-so minutes of action Hyatt saw against UT-Martin was dominant.
In total, Hyatt hauled in seven passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. One touchdown came off an impressive tight end reverse pass that had Princeton Fant on the passing end for Hyatt. He bobbled that catch just to make things a bit spicier, but it was a dominant outing.
Hyatt now has seven receiving touchdowns in his last two games.
Tight End: Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
Accounting for the vast majority of his team’s receiving yards entering the game, Michael Mayer did nothing but impress against UNLV on Saturday. Mayer caught six passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. In total, Notre Dame’s other receivers had seven catches, 90 yards, and one touchdown.
Mayer’s biggest impact came on a first-down catch up the seam, where he did his best Tyrone Prothro impersonation. Using the defender’s back and just a single hand, Mayer made a catch for the highlight reel as he flashed his brilliant hands in the process.
Flex: Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU
As the nation tries to figure out this LSU team as a whole, one thing is for certain: SEC defensive coordinators are trying to figure out how to stop Jayden Daniels. Accounting for five total scores, Daniels was unstoppable against previously-unbeaten Ole Miss.
Daniels had three rushing scores and two passing touchdowns, throwing for 248 yards and rushing for another 121 yards. He spread the ball around well through the air and was even more dominant on the ground.
Talk about a career resurgence — Daniels is on pace to set career-high marks in completion percentage and touchdowns, both on the ground and through the air this season.
Offensive Tackle: Connor Galvin, Baylor
It was a physically-dominant performance from the Baylor offensive line against Kansas. Controlling the point of attack is one thing, dictating the game from the offensive line is another. And that’s what the Bears did.
Connor Galvin was the ringleader of many of their highlights on Saturday, as the big left tackle was unstoppable. He set the edge incredibly well for Baylor and was routinely spotted downfield blocking for his running backs all the same.
Guard: Cooper Beebe, Kansas State
The game didn’t quite their way in the end, but Kansas State’s offensive line was still dominant when they needed to be. The first half was a different story for both units, but Cooper Beebe was in top form all game long.
Beebe would plant a TCU defender at the line of scrimmage and reach the second level in the blink of an eye. He was strong in all facets against TCU despite the outcome.
Center: Jacob Gall, Baylor
If Galvin was the ringleader for Baylor, it was Jacob Gall who was calling the shots. The big man in the middle for Baylor stayed on the move in both facets for the Bears. Gall was dominant in all facets, but his movement and strength at the point of attack won him the most battles.
It was routine to flip on the game and see the Baylor offensive line blowing back Kansas’ defensive line four-five yards off the ball. It was just as routine to see Gall finding defenders to block at both the first and second levels on Saturday.
Guard: Hunter Nourzad, Penn State
Minnesota’s defensive line is incredibly talented, but Penn State’s offensive line bullied their defenders all game long. Hunter Nourzad would win his pass-protection reps so quickly that he had time to help his other linemen at times.
Nourzad was also dominant on the ground, creating massive holes in the middle for Nittany Lion running backs to gash the Gophers’ defense. He was terrific all night long and was integral in the commanding victory for Penn State.
Offensive Tackle: Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, Oregon
It’s been a terrific season for Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu at Oregon, and Saturday was no different. Dominating the edge with precision, power, and balance, Aumavae-Laulu kept Nix clean from pressure on seemingly every snap.
Aumavae-Laulu was also dominant on the ground, kicking his defenders out or blocking incredibly well on the move to the play-side if the play called for it. He was dominant at both the point of attack and every level all game long.
EDGE: Dorian Williams, Tulane
Tulane’s first game as a ranked team since 1998 went as planned for the most part. And that is in large part due to a dominant defensive effort. Heading into the half up 35-0, the defense was in top form to start the game, and Dorian Williams was all over the field.
Finishing with 12 total tackles, it was Williams who consistently pushed the pocket and came down the line of scrimmage in the run game. Williams recorded a sack, and a handful of other pressures as the Memphis offensive line couldn’t handle his mix of power and speed.
EDGE: Owen Porter, Marshall
The last thing a backup quarterback wants to see is a guy like Owen Porter running directly at him in the passing game. That’s exactly what JMU QB Billy Atkins saw on a dozen occasions as Porter ripped his way through the JMU line and dominated the point of attack.
In total, Porter finished with 3.5 sacks and 4.5 total tackles for loss. He was credited with nearly a half-dozen other pressures as he dominated the edge and even led the team in total tackles on Saturday.
Defensive Interior: Scott Matlock, Boise State
Scott Matlock and the Boise State defense grounded the Falcons by Stymying the Air Force rushing attack for most of the game. Matlock finished with a handful of tackles, while most of his impact came from ripping through the middle of the line to influence the mesh point in the backfield.
Matlock also pressured the quarterback, seemingly at will, when Air Force did drop back to pass.
Defensive Interior: Karl Brooks, Bowling Green
The big man in the middle for Bowling Green had a big-time showing, as Karl Brooks finished the game with three sacks. Tracking down Daniel Richardson is one thing, but doing it with the speed and precision that Brooks did was something else.
In total, Brooks also chipped in nicely by changing the point of attack in the run game, as well as pushing the pocket on several other dropbacks.
Linebacker: Layton Jordan, Temple
While the game didn’t go their way, Temple’s Layton Jordan was the most impressive player on the field not named Deneric Prince. Jordan kicked the scoring off with a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown (scoring half of Temple’s touchdowns in the process) and followed that up with multiple plays throughout.
Jordan ripped through for two sacks and brought down a Tulsa ball carrier for a loss on a run play to give him three tackles for loss. He flew all over the field for Temple as the Golden Hurricane moved the ball anytime Jordan wasn’t on the field.
Linebacker: Ivan Pace Jr., Cincinnati
After making our Midseason All-American list this past week, Ivan Pace Jr. proved his hot start to the season was no fluke. Against SMU, it was Pace who paced the Bearcats’ defense in the victory.
Pace recorded two sacks with perfectly-timed blitzes, chased down multiple ball carriers, and stuffed multiple run plays for Cincinnati. He led the team with nine tackles and closed space in the passing game, all but eliminating an entire portion of the field for SMU to throw to.
Linebacker: Corvin Moment, Western Michigan
Blink, and you would’ve missed Corvin Moment’s 3.5-sack performance. Moment was dominant when he blitzed for Western Michigan on Saturday, getting home on essentially every rep.
When he wasn’t blitzing, Moment patrolled the underneath portion of the field in coverage brilliantly as well. He ran the alley very well, to boot, rounding out one of the most impressive three-faceted performances from a linebacker we’ve seen this season.
Cornerback: Eli Ricks, Alabama
The Eli Ricks everyone wanted to see was in action against Mississippi State on Saturday. Ricks, a transfer from LSU, drew his first start for the Crimson Tide after head coach Nick Saban was quoted as saying Ricks had to “earn his spot” on the defense.
After blanketing Mississippi State receivers all game long, it’s safe to say he did just that. Ricks was credited with a handful of pass breakups as he stuck with Bulldogs pass-catchers in and out of the breaks and all over the field.
Ricks needed to just make a single tackle as he basically blanketed an entire side of the field for Alabama on Saturday.
Cornerback: Alex Austin, Oregon State
Alex Austin and the Beavers secondary made mincemeat of the Colorado passing attack on Saturday. Austin recorded an interception return for a touchdown to put the Buffaloes out to pasture, notching a 42-yard pick-six that pushed the Oregon State lead up to 32 points in the third quarter.
Austin made three solo tackles, and a few more plays in coverage as the lengthy corner is starting to make a name for himself in Corvallis.
Cornerback: Christian Braswell, Rutgers
Calling “game” with his team up three points, Christian Braswell took advantage of a pressured pass attempt gone awry by Connor Bazelak. Braswell stepped under the throw and returned it for a touchdown that gave Rutgers a 10-point lead with just over five minutes remaining.
Braswell was also terrific in coverage for the entire game, limiting his side of the field brilliantly. He also chipped in with an impressive tackle for loss in the run game, showing off his talent on the ground as well.
Safety: Jason Taylor II, Oklahoma State
When the Oklahoma State defense needed a big play against Texas, they simply relied on Jason Taylor II. Though the night ended a bit sour with him limping off the field, Taylor patrolled the field beautifully when he was in action.
Taylor recorded two interceptions, killing Texas drives and handing the ball back to his offense. He also led Oklahoma State with nine solo tackles as he came downhill with a vengeance in the victory.
Safety: Ja’Had Carter, Syracuse
Had the result gone the other way, we’d have put Ja’Had Carter’s name on our Heisman ballot after Saturday’s effort against Clemson. Still, Carter had one of the more influential defensive performances we’ve seen all season long.
Carter scooped up a fumble at his own 10-yard line and scampered 90 yards for a touchdown that gave Syracuse their first lead of the game at 14-7. He also skied high for an interception on an ill-advised throw from D.J. Uiagalalei.
Carter was a dominant force at or around the line of scrimmage as well, recording six solo tackles, most of which came in the run game where they bottled up the Clemson rushing attack for 3.5 quarters.
Flex: Marcus Fuqua, Buffalo
Single-handedly ending three Toledo drives, Marcus Fuqua recorded three interceptions for Buffalo on Saturday. Fuqua patrolled the field in one of the more dominant outings we’ve seen from a safety this season.
He baited Dequan Finn at times, closed space at others, and simply won his single coverage reps during his dominant showing. Fuqua also added in three solo tackles and was a force in the running game as well.
Kicker: Joshua Karty, Stanford
It was almost for not, but Joshua Karty single-footedly won the game for Stanford. Sure, footedly isn’t a word, but Karty’s about to coin the phrase at this point.
Karty nailed all five of his field goals against Arizona State, two from 36 yards out, two from 44 yards away, and a long of 47, giving him all of Stanford’s 15 points in the victory.
That’s right, Karty single-footedly outscored Arizona State in a performance worthy of Week 8 College Football Team of the Week.
Punter: Jonathon Batzke, Toledo
The goal of a punter is to flip the field for his team. Punting out of your own end zone, the goal is just to get it on the other side of the 50-yard line. That may be the case for normal punters, but Jonathon Batzke is no normal punter.
Batzke launched a punt from his own end zone over the head of the returner, saw a favorable bounce past the 50, and rocketed forward through the opposite end zone. When all was said and done, Batzke not only flipped the field, he rocketed a punt 91 yards for 77 net yards after a touchback was granted.
Talk about a weapon for Toledo.
Kick Returner: Xavier Leggette, South Carolina
Kicking things off with a bang, Xavier Leggette took the opening kickoff from Texas A&M for 100 yards and a touchdown as the South Carolina Gamecocks sent the Aggies home with a loss. Leggette’s return was brilliant, weaving in and around defenders before turning on the jets to fly by the last remaining Aggies.
He was avoided after that, but his 100-yard kick return touchdown set the tone for a quick start and a big victory for the Gamecocks on Saturday.
Punt Returner: Jha’Quan Jackson, Tulane
When everything was firing on all cylinders for Tulane, it was Jha’Quan Jackson who saw success on special teams as well. Jackson turned a routine punt return into a highlight-reel 90-yard punt return touchdown that gave Tulane a two-possession lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Jackson scampered up the field, making defenders miss early on before leaving the rest of Memphis’ punt coverage team in the dust. Though he’s been a sound punt returner for his entire career at Tulane, this was Jackson’s first return touchdown of his collegiate career and one you certainly knew was coming sooner than later.
Week 8 College Football Team of the Week | Second Team
QB: Ben Wooldridge, Louisiana / Sam Hartman, Wake Forest
RB: Roman Hemby, Maryland
RB: Will Shipley, Clemson
WR: Tyrese Chambers, FIU
WR: Alex Adams, Akron
WR: C.J. Johnson, ECU
TE: Princeton Fant, Tennessee
FLEX: Richard Reese, Baylor
OT: Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State
G: Emil Ekiyor Jr., Alabama
C: James Jackson, South Alabama
G: Brandon Kipper, Oregon State
OT: Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse
EDGE: Dallas Turner, Alabama
EDGE: Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame
IDL: T.J. Jackson, Troy
IDL: Zayin West, Kent State
LB: Leo Lowin, Army
LB: Curtis Jacobs, Penn State
LB: Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State
CB: Reddy Steward, Troy
CB: Jaylen Mahoney, Vanderbilt
DB: Tanner McCasliter, Ohio State
S: Macon Clark, Tulane
S: John Torchio, Wisconsin
FLEX: LaMlies Brooks, Georgia Tech
K: Noah Ruggles, Ohio State
P: James Burnip, Alabama
KR: Kaleb Johnson, Iowa
PR: Anthony Gould, Oregon State
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