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College Football Week 5: PFF’s Team of the Week and Player Awards

Syracuse, New York, USA; Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis (7) escapes a tackle by Syracuse Orange linebacker Mikel Jones (3) in the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

With Alabama‘s and Georgia‘s pure dominance in their highly anticipated showdowns, Cincinnati’s big win over Notre Dame in South Bend and more unanticipated upsets, college football Week 5 brought us yet another thrilling week of action. 

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 5 of the 2021 college football season.

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PFF TEAM OF THE WEEK

Offense

QB: Malik Willis, Liberty
RB: Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama
RB: Tyler Allgeier, BYU
WR: Drake London, USC
WR: Alec Pierce, Cincinnati
WR: Skyy Moore, Western Michigan
TE: Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina
LT: Vederian Lowe, Illinois
LG: AJ Gillie, Louisiana
C: Alex Mollette, Marshall
RG: Joe Tukuafu, BYU
RT: Jarrid Williams, Miami (FL)

Defense

DI: Elijah Chatman, SMU
DI: Latrell Bankston, Houston
Edge: Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan
Edge: Kingsley Enagbare, South Carolina
LB: Nakobe Dean, Georgia
LB: Eldrick Robinson II, Georgia Southern
CB: Cortez Davis, Hawai’i
CB: Shaun Jolly, App State
S: Bryce Cosby, Ball State
S: Quindell Johnson, Memphis
Flex: Armani Marsh, Washington State

Offensive Player of the Week: QB Malik Willis, Liberty

The quarterback position — at any level of football — is starting to come with a dual-threat requirement, and nobody in college football poses a bigger threat as both a passer and runner than Liberty's Malik Willis.

The Flames quarterback's ability to hit bombs downfield and use his athleticism to turn what would be a negative play into a positive one was on full display in Liberty’s win over UAB on Saturday.

Willis finished with a 95.0 PFF grade upon first review. He connected on four deep passes for 165 yards, two of which came on extended plays.

He broke 15 tackles on the ground and turned four of his 14 rush attempts into a 20-plus-yard gain. Whether it was a scramble run (12.2 yards per carry) or designed (9.3 yards per carry), Willis’ athleticism was too much for UAB.

This is why Willis has grabbed the QB1 spot in PFF’s latest 2022 NFL Draft big board.

Defensive Player of the Week: Edge Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

The term game-wrecker is often thrown around too loosely, but it is 100% accurate in the case of Michigan Wolverine Aidan Hutchinson.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound senior entered the week as the highest-graded edge defender in the Power Five and will retain that spot after earning an elite PFF grade in Michigan’s big win over Wisconsin this week.

Hutchinson won on 26.3% of his pass-rush reps and produced a positive grade against the run on over a quarter of his snaps in run defense. He may not have notched a sack, but he played a part in several of the six sacks Michigan notched on the day.

Hutchinson is the best player in the country right now. He’s shot up to No. 5 on the PFF Big Board as a result and is the leader of a stout Michigan defense.

True Freshman of the Week: Edge Collin Oliver, Oklahoma State

Oliver is a former four-star recruit and made his name known for being an explosive athlete who competed heavily in track and field. He earned a chance to get on the field right away as a true freshman, and that isn’t likely to go away, given his recent dominance.

This Saturday, against a sound Baylor offensive line, Oliver earned an 86.1 PFF grade that featured success in both facets of play. He totaled four run stops — three of which were a tackle for loss — and a 33.3% pass-rush win rate.

Offensive Line of the Week: Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

It was pure domination in the trenches for Louisiana in their narrow win at South Alabama. Of course, that doesn’t come as a massive surprise considering they have tackle Max Mitchell and guard O’Cyrus Torrence, two of the best players at their respective positions in the country.

The group lost only one rep as a whole on the night. They provided ample lanes for the run game, earning the highest offensive line run-block grade of Week 5.

A.J. Gillie was the standout performer on the night, as he tied for third among FBS interior offensive linemen in the total number of positively graded run blocks en route to an elite PFF grade.

Secret Superstar of the Week: TE Derrick Deese Jr., San Jose State

Derrick Deese Jr. — the son of longtime San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Derrick Deese Sr. — enjoyed a career night on Saturday against New Mexico State. He teamed up with quarterback Nick Nash for five explosive receptions of 15-plus yards, the most among tight ends and tied for the third-most among all pass-catchers for the week.

Deese generated a perfect 158.3 passer rating on his targets and averaged 6.50 yards per route run. His 91.6 receiving grade trailed only Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely for the best of the week at the position.

Play of the Week: Ole Miss linebacker Austin Keys vs. Alabama guard Emil Ekiyor

Ole Miss may have had a really bad day, but at least they gave us one of the top plays of the week, which came courtesy of redshirt freshman linebacker Austin Keys.

Keys entered the game with only 13 career snaps, yet he got a one-on-one opportunity with Alabama right guard Emil Ekiyor in space on a pin-and-pull run and — despite weighing nearly 100 pounds lighter — didn’t seize an inch on contact and leveled the guard.

Now that is what PFF calls a big-time block.

Biggest Game-Changing Moment: The Bo Nix Roller Coaster

Bo Nix is a gamer. Yes, that often gets him in trouble, but sometimes it works out for him.

This week against LSU, with Auburn in a pivotal fourth-down situation inside the LSU 25-yard line down 13-0,  Nix somehow found his receiver in the end zone after scrambling all the way across the field. 

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