College football Week 3 was the perfect storm of heart attack inducing last-minute victories, electric offensive performances, and of course, the obligatory upset.
That’s college football. That’s why we love it. The amount of high-octane action makes picking out standout playmakers a difficult process, but we endured to bring you the college football Week 3 players of the week.
Quarterback of the Week: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington
Michael Penix Jr. has been reborn far from Indiana, where he spent the majority of his college career. The 6’3″, 218-pound quarterback played four years in the Big Ten, and he had the most impactful performance of his career against a former conference foe.
In 2019, the Hoosiers lost to Michigan State despite his three touchdown passes. In 2020, they won in spite of his two interceptions. On Saturday, Washington defeated a ranked opponent for the first time in three years, and it was very much because of the man under center.
There were a number of standout quarterback performances in Week 3. However, none were of the same clinical nature as Penix. None were against a ranked opponent. None made Robert Griffin III and Mark Jones utter phrases like “hotter than fish grease.”
The Washington QB completed 24 of 40 pass attempts, throwing for 397 yards and four touchdowns. His first half was particularly imperious, with every throw seeming to trump the other in terms of the “wow” factor. “Lefty lazer” is a new addition to the quarterback lexicon.
Honorable mentions: Chris Reynolds, Charlotte: 31/43, 401 passing yards, five touchdowns. Cameron Ward, Washington State: 24/34, 299 passing yards, four touchdowns.
Offensive Player of the Week: Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia
College football Week 3 served up another feast of offensive football, with sensational showcases of skill from too many players to mention. Michigan’s Blake Corum tied a program record by rushing for five touchdowns.
UAB running back DeWayne McBride almost single-handedly took the Blazers past Georgia Southern with four scores and 223 rushing yards. Minnesota running back Mo Ibrahim broke 200 yards while tying the Minnesota all-time rushing touchdowns record. Highlight reel football everywhere!
Yet, Brock Bowers is different. The Georgia tight end makes the impossible seem possible. If a bulldozer and an Olympic sprinter somehow made a baby, Bowers would be the product of this most peculiar relationship.
The 6’4″, 230-pound playmaker caught five passes and turned them into 121 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also took an end around for a five-yard rushing touchdown. The fact that he did this against an SEC opponent and not in some cupcake clash is all the more impressive. Bowers was unstoppable.
Honorable mention: Charlie Jones, WR, Purdue: 11 receptions, 188 yards, one touchdown. Aidan Robbins, RB, UNLV: 29 carries, 227 yards, three touchdowns. Jalon Daniels, QB, Kansas: 158 passing yards, three touchdowns, 123 rushing yards, two touchdowns.
Defensive Player of the Week: Aydan White, CB, NC State
North Carolina State was an early dark-horse favorite to win the ACC and push for a spot in the College Football Playoffs. Those high expectations were based on an exciting offense led by highly-rated 2023 NFL Draft prospect Devin Leary. While Leary struggled to 121 passing yards, it was the defense that carried the Wolf Pack past the high-powered Texas Tech offense.
Several players impressed, with Isaiah Moore flying out of the linebacker group for a sack, Payton Wilson tallying 10 tackles, and C.J. Clark registering two sacks. But it was cornerback Aydan White who stole the show.
The third-year defensive playmaker missed time in the spring following surgery but has shown no signs of rust this season. On Saturday, he snagged two interceptions — equalling his career total — one of which was an 84-yard pick-six that gave NC State an ultimately unassailable 20-point advantage.
Honorable mentions: Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama: Five tackles, one sack, one interception touchdown. DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas: 10 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup. Macon Clark, S, Tulane: Six tackles, one tackle for loss.
Specialist of the Week: Charles Campbell, K, Indiana
All hail King Charles! No, not the new King of England. We’re talking about kicker Charles Campbell! The Indiana kicker has been a force from outside of 50 yards during his Hoosiers career, and in college football Week 3, that form came to the forefront on the national stage.
Campbell was perfect on four field goal attempts on Saturday afternoon while making his only point after attempt. But it was the 51-yard walk-off field goal in overtime that spared Indiana from suffering an upset defeat to Western Kentucky that earns his specialist of the week honors.
Honorable mentions: Noah Ruggles, K, Ohio State: 11/11 on PAT. Kai Kroeger, P, South Carolina: Five punts, 44.4-yard average, all five inside the 20; 1/1 passing for 20 yards.
Freshman of the Week: Jaren Kanak, LB, Oklahoma
Penn State running back Nicholas Singleton was the PFN Freshman of the Week in Week 2 after impressing in a walkover win against Ohio.
The 6’0″, 219-pound playmaker is practically unstoppable with the ball in his hands during the college football Week 3 statement win over Auburn, repeatedly using his speed to fly by defenders for fun. There’s a chance that Singleton is our freshman of the week each week this season. He’s that dominant.
However, there was a freshman defensive display of equal dominance from Jaren Kanak that deserves the time of day. The Oklahoma linebacker was phenomenal in the Sooners’ win over Nebraska.
The 6’2″, 219 freshman was a track star at Hays High School, with an official 10.37 100m time. That speed shows up on the field, with Kanak looking like the most explosive player out there. His speed contributed to a quarterback hurry that resulted in a sack for a teammate. Meanwhile, he led the team with 10 total tackles.
Honorable mentions: Nicholas Singleton, RB, Penn State: 10 carries, 124 yards, two touchdowns. AJ Swann, QB, Vanderbilt: 18/28, 255 passing yards, four touchdowns.