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October 27, 2008

Rivals.com Week 9 National Awards

Prior to last weekend, you might have said that Texas Tech can't win with defense, that Rutgers can't win with Mike Teel and that Florida can't rely on a running back to win a game.

CONFERENCE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
ACC
WR Hakeem Nicks helped North Carolina forget about the season-ending injury to Brandon Tate by catching eight passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns. He added a 12-yard rushing score in a 45-24 win over Boston College.
BIG 12
QB Graham Harrell kept Texas Tech undefeated going into this week's game against Texas. Harrell was 34-for-42 for 386 yards and five touchdowns in a 63-21 rout of Kansas. He also rushed for a score.
BIG TEN
Penn State LB Navorro Bowman recovered the fumble that set up the decisive score in a 13-6 win over Ohio State. He added 10 tackles and a tackle for a loss in the Nittany Lions' ninth consecutive victory.
CONFERENCE USA
Memphis RB Curtis Steele had 29 carries for 178 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 36-30 win over Southern Miss.
MID-AMERICAN
Kent State RB Eugene Jarvis was unstoppable at the goal line with four touchdowns, none longer 2 two yards, in a 54-21 win over Miami University. Jarvis carried 23 times for 105 yards, a bright spot in a season marred by injury. He had been the nation's leading returning rusher.
MOUNTAIN WEST
BYU went down to the wire to beat UNLV 42-35. QB Max Hall was 24 of 31 for 245 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
PAC-10
QB Jeremiah Masoli led Oregon's 54-20 rout of Arizona State by going 17-for-26 for 147 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown.
SEC
Georgia LB Darryl Gamble came up big while substituting for Dannell Ellerbe, returning two interceptions for touchdowns and recording 13 tackles in a 52-38 victory at LSU.
SUN BELT
Florida Atlantic QB Rusty Smith was 28 of 39 for 267 yards and two touchdowns in a 29-28 win over Louisiana-Monroe. His 22-yard touchdown pass to Cortez Gent with 22 seconds left was the game-winner.
WESTERN ATHLETIC
Idaho picked up a rare win by shutting down the prolific New Mexico State offense. DE Josh Shaw led the way in the 20-14 win with 10 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
INDEPENDENTS
Third-string QB Ricky Dobbs didn't need to throw a pass for Navy to beat SMU 34-7. He carried 42 times for 224 yards and four touchdowns in a game in which the Midshipmen did not attempt a pass.
You might think differently now.

The Red Raiders' defense held Kansas in check for its lowest point total of the season, setting up another monster game in the Big 12 when Texas visits Lubbock. The maligned Teel answered his critics with a six-touchdown performance (five in the first half) to lift the Scarlet Knights to an upset of Pittsburgh. And for Florida, freshman running back Jeff Demps pitched in on special teams, in the running game and in the passing game in a rout of Kentucky.

All three earned Rivals.com national awards this week.

NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: QB Mike Teel, Rutgers

Mike Teel might not be booed when he returns to his home field in two weeks.

He made a resounding statement against Pitt, going 14-for-21 for 361 yards with six touchdowns and an interception in a 54-34 win over the Panthers.

Teel threw five touchdown passes in the first half against Pitt, which came in with the No. 10 pass defense in the nation.

FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: RB Jeffrey Demps, Florida

Demps, Florida's big-play freshman, contributed in numerous ways in a 63-5 rout of Kentucky. UK had allowed just 63 points in its first six games.

Demps, a true freshman running back who ran the fastest 100 meters ever by a high schooler in the spring, carried the ball seven times for 60 yards and caught a 61-yard touchdown pass. He was a game-changer on special teams, too, blocking a punt to keep Florida in the national title race heading into the Georgia game.

Also considered for freshman of the week:

Indiana WR Tandon Doss caught eight passes for 107 yards and a touchdown in a 21-19 upset of Northwestern.

After topping 200 receiving yards last week, Southern Miss WR DeAndre Brown had eight catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the loss to Memphis.

Georgia WR A.J. Green had three catches for 89 yards and burned LSU's defense for a 49-yard score in the Bulldogs' win.

Alabama WR Julio Jones caught six passes for 103 yards in a 29-9 victory over rival Tennessee.

COORDINATOR OF THE WEEK: Ruffin McNeill, Texas Tech

The reason Texas Tech has put itself in the same conversation as Big 12 South rivals Texas and Oklahoma is because of its defense.

McNeill, named defensive coordinator midway through last season, has had a profound impact on a team whose defensive shortcomings were as well known as its high-flying offense.

The Red Raiders held Kansas to 315 total yards Saturday, 145 yards fewer than the Jayhawks' season average. Tech went into Lawrence and forced five turnovers.

Texas Tech is hitting its defensive stride just in time to play host to Texas this week.

Also considered for coordinator of the week:

Tom Bradley's defense at Penn State held Chris Wells to 55 rushing yards and limited Ohio State to 287 total yards in a defensive struggle with the Buckeyes.

Ron English continues to work his magic on Louisville's defense. The Cardinals held South Florida to 8 rushing yards and came up with two interceptions in a 24-20 win.

West Virginia looked like the Mountaineers of old for the first time under new offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen. WVU amassed 445 yards and scored 31 unanswered points in a 34-17 victory over Auburn last Thursday.

Bob Pruett's Virginia defense held Georgia Tech's option attack to 259 total yards and 156 rushing yards in the ACC Coastal-leading Cavaliers' 24-17 upset of the Yellow Jackets.

Rutgers was unstoppable, especially in the first half, against Pitt as John McNulty's offense put up 442 yards and passed for 371 yards against the Panthers.

Missouri rebounded from back-to-back losses as Matt Eberflus' defense handed Colorado its first shutout since 1988 in a 58-0 win.

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.



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