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College Football Week 4: PFF’s Team of the Week and Player Awards

We are only a third of the way through the 2021 college football season, but the chaos is palpable. This week, several top-25 teams suffered an upset loss, including the top-10 ranked Texas A&M and Clemson

And the mayhem has only just begun.

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 4 of the 2021 college football season.

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PFF TEAM OF THE WEEK

Offense

QB: Bryce Young, Alabama
RB: Ulysses Bentley IV, SMU
RB: Bijan Robinson, Texas
WR: Tyjon Lindsey, Oregon State
WR: Danny Gray, SMU
WR: Treylon Burks, Arkansas
TE: Sean Dykes, Memphis
LT: Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan
LG: Zion Johnson, Boston College
C: Luke Fortner, Kentucky
RG: Christian Mahogany, Boston College
RT: Spencer Anderson, Maryland

Defense

DI: Colby Wooden, Auburn
DI: Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
Edge: Jacub Panasiuk, Michigan State
Edge: Tre Williams, Arkansas
LB: Devin Lloyd, Utah
LB: Jack Campbell, Iowa
CB: Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Oklahoma State
CB: Tiawan Mullen, Indiana
S: Jordan Anderson, Bowling Green
S: Delarrin Turner-Yell, Oklahoma
Slot: Bennett Williams, Oregon

Offensive Player of the Week: QB Bryce Young, Alabama

According to PFF's first review of the game film, the Crimson Tide quarterback earned a 94.0 passing grade in his Week 4 clash against Southern Miss — the second-best of any quarterback in the 2021 season and the best single-game mark by any Alabama quarterback in the PFF College era. 

It is truly rare to see someone of his age and experience level play to the standard he set in Week 4 of the 2021 season.

He may have an interception next to his name in the box score, but that came from a perfectly thrown ball his receiver bobbled into the hands of the defender. In fact, the Alabama star only threw one quarterback-fault incompletion on 23 pass attempts, which was on a deep shot to a wheel route.


Defensive Player of the Week: Edge Jacub Panasiuk, Michigan State

It was a performance of a lifetime from Panasiuk, who looks as though he is bouncing back after a down year in 2020.

He looked unblockable against the Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday, producing a 94.1 pass-rush grade and 14 pressures on 39 rushes, according to PFF's first review of the game film. And one of those pressures was a clutch strip-sack fumble in the fourth quarter.

PFF's 2021 College Football Preview Magazine offers a one-of-a-kind deep dive into every team and every conference in the FBS. You'll get PFF grades, position breakdowns, betting predictions, accuracy data and more, making it the only resource you'll need to prepare for the 2021 college football season.

True Freshman of the Week: RB Josh McCray, Illinois

The 6-foot-1, 240-pound McCray bulldozed his way through Maryland last week, with six broken tackles and 6.8 yards after contact per attempt on eight carries. He earned the Week 4 start against Purdue as a result, and he replicated that success throughout the whole game.

The first-year back broke eight tackles and picked up eight first downs on 24 carries, even though he was contacted at or behind the line of scrimmage on 14 of those attempts. He generated five yards or more after contact on 12 of his 24 runs, three more than any other running back in Week 4.

Offensive Line of the Week: Maryland Terrapins

Terps quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa had another standout performance thanks to the sheer number of clean pockets provided by the Terrapins offensive line.

Maryland’s unit combined for only one loss all day in pass protection. On their true pass sets, they were one of two teams in the Power Five with zero losses. In total, they allowed just one quarterback hurry on 42 pass-blocking snaps for a Power-Five-best 2.4% pressure rate.

They finished with a Week 4-high 96.7 pass-block grade as a result.

Secret Superstar of the Week: RB Nate Noel, App State

Noel was only just edged out by Ulysses Bentley IV and Bijan Robinson for a spot on the PFF Team of the Week, but he deserves a lot of credit for App State's 31-30 victory over Marshall.

The sophomore running back made the most of his second half, turning eight of his 17 second-half carries into a gain of 10 or more yards. Of those eight, seven came when the Mountaineers were in a long-down situation of 10 yards or more to go.

App State’s offensive line also deserves recognition for providing an average of 4.7 yards before contact on Noel’s runs. Still, the running back took advantage of the holes and continued to add more to what was provided, with 13 broken tackles and 4.7 yards after contact per attempt.

Play of the Week: NC State QB Devin Leary’s go-ahead big-time throw touchdown in double OT 

The Wolfpack found themselves on their own 22-yard line on the second play of their double-overtime drive. Leary looked to his first option before moving on to his second and seeing an open man headed for the corner of the end zone after the defensive backs bit on a slot screen. As poised as ever, Leary delivered what would be the go-ahead touchdown.

Biggest Game-Changing Moment: Chris Tyree’s kick-return touchdown to give Notre Dame the lead over Wisconsin

The 41-13 final score between the Irish and Badgers in Soldier Field isn’t exactly indicative of how the game went from start to finish. At the start of the fourth quarter, this was anything from a blowout.

Wisconsin had just made a 27-yard field goal to go up on Notre Dame 13-10. The Badgers’ win probability stood at 68% as they kicked off to the Irish, but that quickly went south after return man Chris Tyree took it 96 yards for a touchdown. 

Notre Dame Win Probability Change: +31.5%

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