College Football: Week 3 Players of the Week

Offense 

Marcus Mariota QB Oregon

Mariota guided the Oregon offense to another high powered offensive display in Saturday’s 59-14 win over visiting Tennessee. Mariota was the catapult to Oregon’s 59 points, the second straight week, and has led the offense which has averaged 61 points in three games this season. He accounted for 456 yards through the air and another 27 on the ground, while scoring a total of five touchdowns. Finishing the game 23-33 for 456 yards and four touchdowns via the air, Mariota now has 889 yards and seven touchdowns as he makes his run toward the Heisman Trophy and an Oregon national championship run.

Defense

Anthony Barr OLB UCLA

Barr and the Bruins’ defense held Nebraska scoreless and to just 156 yards in the second half of Saturday’s thrilling 41-21 comeback victory. Barr finished the game with a stat line of 10 tackles, one and a half tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles. The second of Barr’s forced fumbles played a pivotal point in helping UCLA secure victory. As Nebraska put together a drive that went into the UCLA redzone on their first drive of the fourth quarter, Barr knocked the ball loose from Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah and kept the Bruins up 17 points.

 

Freshman

Offense: Johnny Mundt TE Oregon

Johnathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Without top tier tight end Colt Lyerla, many wondered how quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Oregon offense would operate against an SEC opponent in Tennessee. Mundt stepped in and helped Oregon’s offense deliver the same results head coach Mark Helfrich was hoping for from his high powered offense. Mundt caught five passes for 121 yards and two touchdown scores, the first of which was Oregon’s first offensive points of the day. Mundt and Mariota connected again, early in the third quarter from 16 yards out, to put the Ducks up 45-7 en route to a blowout victory.

Defense: Steve Longa LB Rutgers

Longa led the Rutgers defense with 12 tackles, two and a half tackles for loss, and two sacks Saturday as the Scarlet Knights defeated Eastern Michigan 28-10. The Longa led defense held Eastern Michigan to just 38 yards rushing on 40 attempts and just four first downs. As a freshman Longa leads Rutgers with 29 tackles this season.

 

Sophomore

Offense: Johnny Manziel QB & Mike Evans WR Texas A&M

Though the Aggies fell to Alabama in Saturday’s big game, this talented duo put on quite the show against arguably the nation’s top defense to keep A&M in the game. Manziel threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns on 28 completions while he added another 98 yards with his legs. Manziel and Evans connected on the big play quiet a few times as Evans averaged 40 yards per receptions. Evans finished with seven receptions, 279 yards and a 95 yard end zone visit via Manziel in the fourth quarter.

Defense: Perez Ford DE Northern Illinois 

Ford dominated the Idaho offensive line in Northern Illinois 45-35 win on Saturday. He finished his performance with six tackles, four tackles for loss, a forced and recovered fumble, and two sacks. Along with Ford’s two sacks, the Northern Illinois defense kept its’ pressure all game and recorded a whopping nine sacks. Perez forced and recovered a fumble on running back Chad Chalich in Northern Illinois territory, ceasing an Idaho drive that began back at their own 16 yard line.

 

Juniors

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Doug Beghtel/ The Oregonian

Offense: Brandin Cooks WR Oregon State

Cooks is making his second appearance this season in the Players of the Week after his nine reception, 210 yard performance in Saturday’s 51-48 overtime win at Utah. Cooks caught the game winning touchdown, a six yard pass from quarterback Sean Mannion, and caught the go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, an 18 yarder. The first of Cooks’ three endzone visits came as Mannion hit him for a 55 yard strike late in the third quarter. Cooks and Mannion have developed quiet the connection this season, as they have connected for 498 yards and seven touchdowns, and should be a must watch duo going forward.

Defense: Josh Shirley DE Washington

Shirley caused havoc for Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and his offensive line all throughout Saturday’s 34-24 win. Shirley recorded three sacks to pair with seven tackles and a quarterback hurry. Illinois was able to manage only six first downs through the air due to the play and pressure Shirley had through the course of this game. The three sacks recorded Saturday were Shirley’s first of the season, building momentum, heading into a favorable matchup with Idaho State where he should be to continue to grow off his performance.

 

Seniors:

Cary Edmondson/USA Today

Offense: Jordan Hall RB Kenny Guiton QB Ohio State

With key players Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde missing time this season for the Buckeye’s, Hall and Guiton have stepped up big and played key roles in keeping the Big 10 and National Championship push alive and well. The backfield duo accounted for 543 yards and seven touchdowns in Saturday’s 52-34 shootout on the road with California. Guiton finished 21-32 passing for 276 yards passing and four touchdowns, while he added another 97 yards on the ground. Hall had three endzone visits as he accumulated 170 yards rushing on 30 carries.

Defense: Shaquil Barrett LB Colorado State

Barrett finished Saturday’s 34-17 victory over Cal Poly with seven tackles, two tackles for a loss, a sack, and two blocked kicks. The second of Barrett’s blocked kicks came late in the fourth quarter, keeping Cal Poly from cutting to within seven and setting up a Colorado State touchdown to put the Rams up three scores. Barrett’s performance helped the Rams secure their first win of the season heading into a week four matchup with Alabama.

Philip Arnold is the lead NFL Draft & College Football writer for ProFootballCentral. He is also the co-host of PFC Draft Radio. Follow him on Twitter @Philip_PFC