First-Team: Chase Thomas, Stanford
Chase Thomas is one of the highest-rated NFL prospects at the outside linebacker position, but before he splits for the professional ranks, the senior has some plays left to make in a Stanford uniform.
On Saturday in South Bend, Thomas did just that.
In the second quarter of what turned out to be a defensive classic, Notre Dame forced a Stanford punt which ended up being very bad for the Irish. Daniel Zychlinski sent a booming kick downfield, which was caught and downed inside the 10-yard line. Two plays later, QB Everett Golson coughed up the ball on a sack, and Thomas was there for the scoop-and-score.
The defensive TD marked the first time Notre Dame has trailed in 2012. Unfortunately for the Cardinal, it was also Stanford's only touchdown of the night.
Aside from that play, Thomas was rather contained, recording four tackles to bolster his fumble recovery. But the bottom line is when a defensive player scores a touchdown, he is going to get some glory.
First-Team: Brandon Magee, Arizona State
When people think of Arizona State linebackers, memories of Vontaze Burfict terrorizing opposing defenses come to mind. After the way Brandon Magee performed this week against Colorado, he made it clear Burfict wasn't the only one making plays for the Devils back then.
Magee, a 6'4", 248-pound senior, was all over the field in Boulder, registering nine solo tackles with two sacks, including a six-yard loss on a third and four at the end of the third quarter. The pass rush expert had no trouble breaking through the Buffs' o-line, hurrying and hitting QB Jordan Webb countless times.
Magee is a beast, plain and simple. Look for him to emerge as ASU climbs its way into the national picture.
First-Team: Dion Bailey, USC
On a night when the USC offense was inconsistent at best, the Trojan defense came up big, dominating Washington all night long.
Against the Huskies, sophomore LB Dion Bailey carried the torch for 'SC, notching seven tackles, as well as a momentum-grabbing interception that set the tone early. After Barkley & Co. cashed in on the turnover, the Trojans had a 10-0 first quarter lead that held up the rest of the way.
Bailey also made a huge play with 3:21 to play in the game, forcing UW QB Keith Price to fumble the ball after making a 15-yard gain with his legs. USC recovered the pigskin and ran the clock down to seal its third consecutive win.
Second-Team: Trent Murphy, Stanford
Senior OLB Trent Murphy had a hugely productive outing against Notre Dame, making 10 tackles, including a season high in sacks (1.5). Considering the slippery conditions in the game, it's especially impressive that five of his tackles were solo stops.
Murphy is by far the biggest linebacker on Stanford's roster (6'6", 261 lbs), but he was playing like the fastest man on the field. In the first play of overtime, Murphy fought his way into the backfield and sacked QB Tommy Rees for a seven-yard loss.
Second-Team: Cyrus Coen, Washington State
Despite the team's losing effort, the Washington State front-seven had a pretty solid night against Cal. Sophomore backer Cyrus Coen was a major contributor on Saturday, recording six tackles and snatching Zach Maynard's first pass of the night (the second straight game that Maynard's first attempt has been picked).
Wazzu is definitely looking for some answers right now, but Coen is turning himself into a certainty.
Second-Team: Rueben Robinson, Oregon State
The Oregon State defense was ballhawking in Week 7.
The Beavers intercepted BYU QB Riley Nelson three times, and Rueben Robinson was the recipient of one of those errant throws. The 6'3", 235-pound senior also tallied four stops to go with his red-zone pick.
Robinson didn't put up scary numbers, but he made the plays he needed to make.
Honorable Mention: For this honorable mention, two players had the exact same stat lines. So instead of picking, let's just applaud them both for strong performances.
Linebackers A.J. Tarpley of Stanford and Woodson Greer of Colorado both recorded seven tackles (five solo) and a sack, though both of their teams lost on Saturday. Greer and Tarpley are both sophomores, so you can expect them to have an even bigger impact as they gain experience. The Cardinal and Buffs are set to do battle on Nov. 3, and these two will certainly be ready to go.