College News & Analysis

College Football Week 13: PFF’s Team of the Week and Player Awards

Michigan took Ohio State right out of the College Football Playoff conversation with a 15-point victory in Ann Arbor on Saturday, marking the Wolverines' first win in the rivalry in a decade. Meanwhile, Alabama scraped by Auburn in the Iron Bowl in their four-overtime win, and Oklahoma State took care of business in Bedlam against Oklahoma to make the race for the fourth playoff spot more interesting.

But before we dive deeper into all of the playoff chatter, it’s time to highlight Week 13’s top performers now that the first run of analysis is finalized and available in PFF's CFB Premium Stats+. Here, we present PFF’s Team of the Week and player awards from the final week of the 2021 college football regular season.

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PFF TEAM OF THE WEEK

Offense

QB: Clayton Tune, Houston Cougars
RB: Breece Hall, Iowa State Cyclones
RB: Tyjae Spears, Tulane Green Wave
WR: Skyy Moore, Western Michigan Broncos
WR: Treylon Burks, Arkansas Razorbacks
WR: Ali Jennings III, Old Dominion Monarchs
TE: Brock Bowers, Georgia Bulldogs
LT: Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan Chippewas
LG: Jarrett Kingston, Washington State Cougars
C: Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa Hawkeyes
RG: Spencer Lovell, Arizona State Sun Devils
RT: Braeden Daniels, Utah Utes

Defense

DI: Jonah Tavai, San Diego State Aztecs
DI: Mikel Horton, Charlotte 49ers
Edge: Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan Wolverines
Edge: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon Ducks
LB: Josh Chandler-Semedo, West Virginia Mountaineers
LB: Mikel Jones, Syracuse Orange
CB: Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson Tigers
CB: Kahlef Hailassie, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
S: Jay Stanley, Southern Miss Golden Eagles
S: Daniel Scott, Cal Golden Bears
Flex: Theo Jackson, Tennessee Volunteers

Offensive Player of the Week: QB Clayton Tune, Houston Cougars

The Houston quarterback is heating up at just the right time, as he pieced together a 97.0 PFF passing grade on first review against UConn in Week 13, his fourth 90.0-plus passing grade in the last five weeks.

Tune tossed six big-time throws and zero turnover-worthy plays while completing 21-of-30 passes for 301 yards and four touchdowns. Of those nine incompletions, six were marked as drops and only one was charted as a quarterback-fault incompletion. 

Over the last five weeks, no quarterback in college football has earned a higher grade than the Houston quarterback. Not too far behind him is Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder, who earned a 92.4 passing grade in Week 13.

Ridder and Tune will square off in the AAC Title Game next week, so get your popcorn ready.

Highest-graded FBS QBs over the last five weeks

1. Clayton Tune, Houston Cougars 94.5
2. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati Bearcats 93.1
3. Aidan O’Connell, Purdue Boilermakers 91.7

Defensive Player of the Week: Edge Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan Wolverines

Hutchinson single-handedly wrecked Ohio State’s offensive line in the Wolverines’ big win over the Buckeyes in Week 13. Despite dealing with some uncalled holding penalties and double-teams, Hutchinson pieced together his third three-sack performance of the 2021 season.

He racked up 15 total pressures and a 31% pass-rush win rate overall against Michigan's arch-rival and finished the game with a 91.0 pass-rush grade. Those 15 pressures are the most by any edge defender against a Power Five offensive line in a single game this season and more than any single team against the Buckeyes in 2021.

For further reference on how special this kind of day was, it marked just the second time of the 2021 season that a player rushed the passer over 40 times and still finished with a pass-rush grade above 90.0 — the other being Kayvon Thibodeaux in Week 8 against Cal. It’s difficult to earn an elite pass-rush grade with a high rep count like that, but Hutchinson is a rare exception.

This historically good performance will go down as one of the best outings PFF College has ever seen. 

Hutchinson now owns a 93.0 pass-rush grade for the 2021 season, the second-best by a Big Ten edge defender in the PFF College era (since 2014) behind only Chase Young in 2019.

Hutchinson didn’t even have odds listed for the Heisman on DraftKings Sportsbook before the game, but now, he’s No. 3 at 6-1 behind Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. If I had a vote, it’d be going to Hutchinson.

True Freshman of the Week: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia Bulldogs

Bowers is just a true freshman, but he has been in the conversation for the best tight end in college football all year long.

Bowers caught all three of his targets for 100 yards and two touchdowns in Week 13, paving the way for an 85.1 receiving grade for the game. He is piecing together one of the most impressive true freshman campaigns of the PFF College era and truly fits the modern-day tight end mold.

Offensive Line of the Week: Utah Utes

Utah’s offensive line lost only three total reps in pass protection, none of which were a sack or hit on the quarterback. The running back room also saw a Pac-12-leading 2.7 yards before contact per carry. As a result, the team produced more than double the amount of explosive runs of 10-plus yards than any other Pac-12 offense (10).

Four of the five starters — Nick Ford, Braeden Daniels, Satoa Laumea and Bamidele Olaseni — finished with a PFF grade north of 79.0 for the game.

Secret Superstar of the Week: CB Andrew Booth Jr., Clemson Tigers

In a normal season, a potential first-round pick from Clemson would be viewed as a mega superstar. But in 2021, when Clemson has fallen far from contention status, some of the Tigers’ top talents have flown under the radar at times.

Booth, a prospect with first-round potential, closed out his regular season with a standout performance that will significantly help his draft stock. He saw four targets in coverage against South Carolina and allowed zero catches while picking off two passes and breaking up another en route to a 92.2 coverage grade for the game. 

Play of the Week: The Bryce YoungJa’Corey Brooks’ touchdown that sparked the Alabama comeback

Pressure was a constant issue for the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl against the Auburn Tigers. Quarterback Bryce Young was pressured on 21 dropbacks and completed just three attempts under pressure for 54 yards while throwing a pick and taking seven sacks.

Alabama found themselves down 10-3 with just over one minute left to play and the ball at their three-yard line. It’d take a magical 97-yard drive even to get the game into overtime, and Young marched Alabama down the field to get them inside the Auburn 30-yard line. Facing a third-and-10 with just under 30 seconds left to play, Young delivered a big-time throw to Ja’Corey Brooks, who handled the man corner with ease on a nine route and adjusted to the ball for what might end up as one of the biggest touchdowns of the 2021 season:

Biggest Game-Changing Moment: Oklahoma’s muffed fourth-quarter punt to put Oklahoma State in scoring position

Oklahoma State Win Probability Change: +31%

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