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College Football Week 7: PFF’s Team of the Week and Player Awards

Week 7 of the 2021 college football season began with unranked Purdue upsetting No. 2 Iowa on the road, and it ended with a riled-up Knoxville crowd littering the field with anything they could get their hands on after a close call gave Ole Miss the edge over Tennessee a scene that perfectly encapsulates the anarchy unfolding this season.

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 7 of the 2021 college football season.

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PFF TEAM OF THE WEEK

Offense

QB: Caleb Williams, Oklahoma
RB: Tyrion Davis-Price, LSU
RB: Charles Williams, UNLV
WR: Quentin Johnston, TCU
WR: David Bell, Purdue
WR: Deven Thompkins, Utah State
TE: Brock Bowers, Georgia
LT: Tyler Smith, Tulsa
LG: Ed Ingram, LSU
C: John Michael Schmitz, Minnesota
RG: O’Cyrus Torrence, Louisiana
RT: Colby Ragland, UAB

Defense

DI: Jalen Carter, Georgia
DI: Neil Farrell Jr., LSU
Edge: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
Edge: George Karlaftis, Purdue
LB: Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
LB: Bryce Gallagher, Northwestern
CB: Coby Bryant, Cincinnati
CB: Mario Goodrich, Clemson
S: Jordan Battle, Alabama
S: Shaq Bond, Utah State
Flex: Corey Mayfield Jr., UTSA

Co-Offensive Player of the Week & True Freshman of the Week: QB Caleb Williams, Oklahoma

Williams just had one of the best starting debuts PFF College has ever seen. He earned an elite PFF grade for the game and guided Lincoln Riley‘s offense to 0.41 expected points added (EPA) per play against TCU, the Sooners' highest single-game mark against an FBS opponent since Week 6 of the 2019 season when they thrashed Kansas 45-20.

The true freshman quarterback didn’t record a single-quarterback fault incompletion and went an astounding 10-of-14 for 202 yards and four touchdowns on passes thrown 10 or more yards downfield. He also broke five tackles and busted off two 20-yard runs on six designed quarterback runs.

 

This was one of the most impressive performances by any collegiate player in recent memory. If Williams continues to play at this level, Oklahoma will soon return to the national title conversation.

Co-Offensive Player of the Week: RB Tyrion Davis-Price, LSU

LSU entered Week 7 as double-digit dogs at home to Florida after an underwhelming first half of the season, but the Tigers ground through a high-scoring affair to beat the Gators outright, thanks in large part to Tyrion Davis-Price's performance on the ground.

The 6-foot-1, 22-pound back earned a 95.2 rushing grade for his 311-yard, three-touchdown performance in Baton Rouge. He turned 11 of his 36 runs into a gain of 10 or more yards, which is the highest single-game tally of the 2021 season.

While the LSU offensive line gave him 4.4 yards before contact per attempt on average, that’s not to say Davis-Price didn’t do his part. He broke 16 tackles in total and added 4.2 yards after contact per attempt on the day.

Davis-Price told the media after the game that LSU Director of Performance Innovation Jack Marucci suggested some tweaks to the Tigers’ run scheme before the game. The big one was the incorporation of more counter runs to attack Florida’s tite front. LSU ran counter three times per game in their first six outings but ran it 14 times against Florida. The results were huge for the Tigers. Davis-Price averaged 14.0 yards per attempt and generated eight gains of 10-plus yards on counter runs on Saturday.

Defensive Player of the Week: S Jordan Battle, Alabama

Alabama’s defense bounced back well against Mississippi State after posting the team’s lowest single-game coverage grade of the PFF College era in Week 6.

Safety Jordan Battle led the charge for the Crimson Tide. He earned a career-high 92.6 PFF grade in Starkville, forcing an incompletion and two passing stops while picking off a couple of passes.

 

Offensive Line of the Week: Auburn Tigers

Auburn’s offensive line deserves their fair share of credit for quarterback Bo Nix‘s 90.0-plus PFF grade this week. They didn’t allow a single pressure and lost only four total reps across 29 dropbacks.

And no, it’s not because Arkansas played their standard 3-2-6 defense that drops eight into coverage and can alleviate stress on the offensive line with only three pass-rushers. Arkansas actually went a different approach and played nickel.

Auburn’s offensive line played more than 10 true pass sets and finished with an 89.6 pass-block grade for the game, the highest among Power Five schools for Week 7.

Secret Superstar of the Week: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

Bowers isn’t much of a secret anymore, but the true freshman tight has been somewhat overshadowed by Georgia’s routine dominance on the defensive side of the ball.

However, Bowers finished with a 93.8 receiving grade against Kentucky. He was a featured piece in Georgia’s offense, seeing six targets on just 16 routes, and the first-year player made the most of those opportunities: 

Now, Bowers has earned an 89.4 PFF grade and generated 3.50 yards per route run on the season. That’s not just a ridiculous level of production for a true freshman, but it’s at a level rarely obtained by any player at the position.

Bowers leads all Power Five tight ends in both of those metrics after Week 7. Georgia has unprecedented talent on the defensive side of the ball, but they have some rare players on offense, too.

Play of the Week: Michigan State Quarterback Payton Thorne’s contested toe-tapping grab

The Spartans survived a close call against Indiana this week. The offense generated negative EPA per play for just the second time in seven games and produced a season-low 33.3% success rate, running back Kenneth Walker III was seemingly unable to break tackles and grind out yards after contact and their play-action-centric passing attack fell flat.

Quarterback Payton Thorne made a minimal impact with his arm, but he did make the play of the week as a receiver with his contested, toe-tapping grab on a trick play that helped piece together a pivotal scoring drive for Michigan State.

Biggest Game-Changing Moment: Ole Miss edge defender Sam Williams with a clutch sack in crunch time

The Rebels and Volunteers were within one score of ane another for nearly the entire fourth quarter. But after a Matt Corral interception and a couple of punts, Tennessee found themselves at midfield with a fresh set of downs and just under three minutes left to play.

Unfortunately, that climbing win probability wouldn’t last, as Ole Miss edge defender Sam Williams took advantage of a missed blitz pickup by Tennessee running back and sacked Hendon Hooker for a 7-yard loss.

 

That was really just one of two game-changing moments in this drama-packed outing. A few plays later, Hooker delivered a good ball over the middle of the field on fourth-and-24 to Jacob Warren, who was initially ruled just short of the line to gain. After review, the officials announced that the close call stood — and all hell broke loose.

Had they given the Vols the first down, the game would have been at a near 50-50 shot for either side of the field to win. Instead, Ole Miss ran away with it.

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