Before we dive deeper into all of the playoff chatter, it’s time to highlight the week's top performers. Now that the first run of analysis is finalized and available in PFF's CFB Premium Stats+, here is PFF’s Team of the Week and player awards from Week 12 of the 2021 college football season.
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PFF TEAM OF THE WEEK
QB: C.J. Stroud, Ohio State Buckeyes
RB: Carlinos Acie, Navy Midshipmen
RB: Donovan Edwards, Michigan Wolverines
WR: Milton Wright, Purdue Boilermakers
WR: Jordan Addison, Pitt Panthers
WR: Treylon Burks, Arkansas Razorbacks
TE: Austin Allen, Nebraska Cornhuskers
LT: Garrett Dellinger, LSU Tigers
LG: Sidy Sow, Eastern Michigan Eagles
C: Thor Paglialong, Air Force Falcons
RG: Kyle Hergel, Texas State Bobcats
RT: Dawand Jones, Ohio State Buckeyes
DI: Trevon Mason, Arizona Wildcats
DI: TJ Johnson, Marshall Thundering Herd
Edge: Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan Wolverines
Edge: Gabriel Murphy, North Texas Mean Green
LB: Drake Thomas, NC State Wolfpack
LB: Hayes Maples, Southern Miss Golden Eagles
CB: Kyler Gordon, Washington Huskies
CB: Mekhi Garner, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
S: Collin Wilder, Wisconsin Badgers
S: Macon Clark, Tulane Green Wave
Flex: Theo Jackson, Tennessee Volunteers
Offensive Player of the Week: QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes' signal-caller played a near-perfect game against Michigan State on Saturday, going 32-of-35 for 432 yards and six touchdowns with no turnover-worthy plays and only one quarterback-fault incompletion.
Stroud's big arm was on full display, as he completed four deep throws over 20 yards downfield for 170 yards and three scores. Overall, he finished with a career-high 92.2 PFF grade for the game to bring his season-long mark to 91.6.
— Buckeye Videos+ (@BuckeyeVideos) November 20, 2021
To no surprise, Stroud is now the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy (-200). And according to DraftKings Sportsbook, Ohio State now sits behind only Georgia (+300) in the national title odds.
Ohio State will need this level of play from its quarterback to close out the 2021 season against Michigan — and even beyond that point if they end up winning that game.
Defensive Player of the Week: S Collin Wilder, Wisconsin Badgers
Collin Wilder — also known as “The Grit Factory” — stepped up on Senior Day at Camp Randall, earning a career-high 91.4 coverage grade thanks to a couple of game-changing second-half interceptions against Nebraska.
His first pick of the day was especially important — it swung the Badgers’ win probability by double-digit percentage points, and his offense came through by scoring a few plays after.
True Freshman of the Week: T Garrett Dellinger, LSU Tigers
Dellinger — a 2021 top-100 recruit — slid in at left tackle for his third career start against UL-Monroe on Saturday and arguably played better than any other offensive linemen in Week 12.
The true freshman didn’t let up a single pressure while dishing up a number of positively graded run blocks en route to a 91.3 overall PFF grade for the game. Left tackle has been an inconsistent part of LSU’s line all year, with four different linemen playing over 100 snaps at the spot, but Dellinger made it a strength this week.
Offensive Line of the Week: Louisville Cardinals
Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham went off on Thursday night against Duke, totaling seven touchdowns and over 530 total yards with his dual-threat ability.
While Cunningham's performance was electric, the Cardinals' offensive line deserves its fair share of the credit, as the unit was charged with only three total pressures. The big men up front also opened up 4.1 yards before contact per rush attempt, and Louisville finished with 10 explosive runs of 10 or more yards as a team.
Secret Superstar of the Week: Edge Gabriel Murphy, North Texas Mean Green
Murphy was virtually unblockable against FIU in Week 12 and earned a week-leading 93.0 pass-rush grade for the game.
The 6-foot-2, 238-pound edge defender totaled six pressures — five of which were either a sack or hit — and he won 37.5% of his pass-rush reps. FIU generated -0.91 EPA per pass play and a 5.9% success rate on 17 pressured dropbacks in their 49-7 loss.
Play of the Week: Zakhari Franklin‘s highlight-reel grab that helped keep UTSA’s perfect season alive
UTSA CATCH OF THE DAY????#CFB
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 20, 2021
Game-Changing Moment of the Week: Braelon Allen’s breakaway 53-yard touchdown run in the closing minutes to put Wisconsin up on Nebraska
.@BraelonAllen can't be stopped. ????
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 20, 2021
Wisconsin Win Probability Change: +15%