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College Football Week 10: PFF’s Team of the Week and Player Awards

One College Football Playoff candidate is down after Michigan State suffered an upset loss to Purdue in West Lafayette, while several others — Alabama, Ohio State and Cincinnati — were put on upset alert late in their matchups.

Now that the first run of analysis is finalized and available in PFF's CFB Premium Stats+, we get to fill you in on this week’s top performers. Here, we present PFF’s Team of the Week and player awards from Week 10 of the 2021 college football season.

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PFF TEAM OF THE WEEK

Offense

QB: Aidan O’Connell, Purdue Boilermakers
RB: Deuce Vaughn, Kansas State Wildcats
RB: DeWayne McBride, UAB Blazers
WR: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State Buckeyes
WR: Jahan Dotson, Penn State Nittany Lions
WR: Trayvon Rudolph, Northern Illinois Huskies
TE: Trey McBride, Colorado State Rams
LT: Greg Long, Purdue Boilermakers
LG: Nick Ford, Utah Utes
C: Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa Hawkeyes
RG: Christian Mahogany, Boston College Eagles
RT: Braden Daniels, Utah Utes

Defense

DI: Neil Farrell Jr., LSU Tigers
DI: Atlias Bell, Houston Cougars
Edge: Jacob Panasiuk, Michigan State Spartans
Edge: Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan Wolverines
LB: Devin Lloyd, Utah Utes
LB: Ivan Pace Jr., Miami RedHawks
CB: Alontae Taylor, Tennessee Volunteers
CB: Steven Jones Jr., App State Mountaineers
S: Lewis Cine, Georgia Bulldogs
S: Elijah Hicks, Cal Golden Bears
Flex: Beanie Bishop, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Offensive Player of the Week: QB Aidan O’Connell, Purdue Boilermakers

The Purdue-Michigan State matchup had upset written all over it this weekend, and the Boilermakers actually pulled through to knock off the No. 3-ranked team in the country.

Aidan O’Connell posted a 91.8 passing grade despite dropping back more than 50 times against the Spartans, the best single-game mark among all Power Five quarterbacks with at least 50 dropbacks in a single game this season.

The Purdue quarterback didn’t record a single turnover-worthy play and tossed four big-time throws. Only three of the Boilermakers' incomplete pass attempts were down to quarterback error.

O'Connell turned in an 88.3 pressured passing grade after going 10-of-13 for 139 yards and a touchdown when under duress.

Defensive Player of the Week: LB Devin Lloyd, Utah Utes

Devin Lloyd was ultra-productive across his 41 snaps against Stanford, posting nine total defensive stops on the night, the most in a single game by a Pac-12 linebacker in the 2021 season.

Lloyd recorded three tackles for loss against the run, blew up a pass play five yards behind the line of scrimmage and tallied a sack in the pass rush. Along with that, the Utes linebacker jumped up on one of his eight blitzes to grab the ball out of the air for a fourth-quarter pick-six.

Co-True Freshman of the Week: LB Shadrach Banks, TCU Horned  Frogs

Entering Week 10, Banks had played only 11 snaps on defense, with most of his snaps coming as a member of the special teams unit. This week, he played 19 total snaps on defense and put up an incredible 92.9 PFF grade for his efforts.

With just a couple of minutes left to play in the game, TCU found themselves up by just a couple of points with Baylor driving into scoring territory. But then Banks eliminated any worry of a come-from-behind victory with a game-clinching interception that took TCU’s win probability from 41.5% up to 100%.

While he’s played just 30 snaps on the 2021 season, the former high school wide receiver has displayed special athleticism. He has genuine range for the position and is making the position change seamlessly.

Co-True Freshman of the Week: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, Alabama Crimson Tide

Until this week, the former five-star recruit had started only one college football game, which came against FCS opponent Mercer. Outside of that, he had played only 31 snaps.

This week, McKinstry was thrown into a starting outside corner spot because senior corner Josh Jobe wasn't quite at 100%. And while he didn’t make any big plays, he didn’t allow any either. The Bama true freshman played 40 coverage snaps — 23 of which came in press coverage — and he didn’t allow a single first down. He allowed just 13 yards overall on the day.

Offensive Line of the Week: Utah Utes

Utah handed Stanford a 52-7 thrashing on Friday night, with seemingly every position group playing its part to perfection. The offensive line ended up as the highest-graded unit in the Power Five for Week 10.

The Utes' offensive line controlled the trenches and allowed minimal pressure while opening up lanes for the backfield. Utah’s running back room saw an average of 2.8 yards before contact per attempt and generated 16 total explosive runs of 10-plus yards, six more than any other offense for Week 10. Then, in pass protection, the Utes combined for only three losses on the night, none of which were a sack or hit on the quarterback.

Four of the five starters earned a single-game grade north of 70.0, with right tackle Braeden Daniels leading the way at 92.8. Considering this offensive line entered the week 57th among Power Five groups in pass-block grade, this was a bit of a pleasant surprise for Utah.

Secret Superstar of the Week: WR Devin Thompkins, Utah State Aggies

This week was stacked in terms of big-time performances from the wide receiver position, one of which came courtesy of Deven Thompkins, who is piecing together one of the most impressive seasons at the Group of Five level in 2021.

Thompkins earned a 93.2 receiving grade against New Mexico State this past week, generating 7.81 yards per route run and six explosive receptions of 15-plus yards in the process. Thompkins now has 36 of those 15-plus-yard receptions in 2021, the most in the FBS by six.

Play of the Week: Trick Play of the Year, courtesy of the Purdue Boilermakers

Biggest Game-Changing Moment: Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman’s fourth-quarter interception

Wake Forest collapsed in the fourth quarter against North Carolina, with the Tar Heels scoring 24 unanswered en route to a 58-55 victory over the previously undefeated Demon Deacons.

One of the biggest turning points of the game was a Sam Hartman interception with just over 10 minutes left to play. Wake Forest was in control before this play, but North Carolina took full advantage of the field position gifted to them.

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