B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 11
Until the very end, Week 11 featured a ton of expected results and otherwise only mildly impactful upsets.
But the evening slate brought two massive results.
Unfortunately for the Pac-12, both of them significantly stung the league's hopes of returning to the College Football Playoff. Oregon lost to Washington, and UCLA fell to Arizona. The conference is basically down to hoping one-loss USC can survive the rest of the way.
From a team-centric perspective, though, Week 11 had several enormous wins. Connecticut is headed back to a bowl, and Vanderbilt snapped an awful streak in SEC competition.
We like the CFP in B/R's Weekly Awards. And we also enjoy praising the little guy. Let's do both.
Game of the Week: Washington Stuns Oregon
Oregon recovered magnificently from its season-opening embarrassment at the hands of top-ranked Georgia. Bo Nix emerged as one of the nation's most dynamic quarterbacks, leading the offense to 40-plus points in each outing of an eight-game winning streak.
Despite the early loss, the Ducks likely would've made the CFP if they won out. Washington ensured that wouldn't happen.
Oregon coach Dan Lanning's ultra-aggressive 4th-and-1 call in the fourth quarter will be remembered as the turning point. The turnover on downs basically gifted Washington its winning field goal in a 37-34 thriller.
But that questionable call was merely a piece of a memorable game.
The second half alone included five straight touchdowns followed by a 98-yard drive that ended in an interception, a 10-minute, 91-yard drive that resulted in a field goal, a game-tying 62-yard score and Oregon's crucial missed 4th-and-1 with Bo Nix on the sideline.
Washington clawed out a highly entertaining victory that put a sizable dent in the Pac-12's playoff hopes.
Team of the Week: Connecticut Huskies
Did you expect LSU? Or maybe Washington, TCU or Arizona? All of them would be understandable choices.
But there is only one truly correct option.
Not only did UConn secure bowl eligibility for the first time in seven painful years, it also pulled off a huge upset. Liberty, which defeated Arkansas last week, entered as a 13.5-point favorite with an 8-1 record.
However, the Huskies had other plans. They jumped out to a double-digit edge, showing this would not be a painless game for the heavy favorite. Liberty surged ahead in the third quarter and rapidly answered a go-ahead touchdown to regain the lead early in the fourth, but UConn found the answer it needed.
Later in the closing frame, Zion Turner hit Kevens Clercius for the decisive 30-yard touchdown in a 36-33 victory.
UConn entered the 2022 campaign with a single FBS win since 2017. But this season, five of the Huskies' six triumphs have come against top-division competition.
I think first-year coach Jim Mora has already earned a statue.
Defender of the Week: Harold Perkins Jr., LSU
If you don't follow recruiting closely, you might not be familiar with Harold Perkins Jr. It'd be wise to remember the name.
Arkansas had no answers for the freshman linebacker.
Perkins, the No. 8 prospect in the 2022 recruiting cycle, racked up eight tackles with a staggering four sacks and two forced fumbles, including the game-sealing turnover late in LSU's 13-10 escape. He also had another sack-fumble overturned a few minutes earlier.
Man, double-teams, chips—you name the block, Arkansas probably tried it, and Perkins likely won the battle.
Perkins added a pass breakup and QB hit in the breakout game of his young, promising LSU career. And in the process, LSU sealed an improbable SEC West title.
Touchdown of the Week: Kamryn Babb, Ohio State
When the final score is 56-14, the winning team's final touchdown is generally pretty meaningless.
That was most decidedly not the case for Ohio State. As the second-ranked Buckeyes wrapped up a rout of Indiana, they experienced the feel-good moment of the week.
Kamryn Babb, a fifth-year senior, made the first catch—a touchdown—of his college career. However, this wasn't simply a fun story involving a walk-on scoring in a rare garbage-time opportunity. Babb was a four-star prospect who ranked 73rd overall in the 2018 recruiting cycle, but he's endured an agonizing stretch of injuries.
During high school, he tore an ACL once. He again tore an ACL in both 2018 and 2019 at Ohio State. He contributed on special teams in 2020 but missed all of 2021 with a fourth torn ACL, and another health setback kept him on the sideline this season until Saturday.
Long-awaited. Emotional. Well-deserved. Cathartic.
And for Babb: Unforgettable.
Catch of the Week: Braden Lenzy, Notre Dame
Tyrone Prothro, you have company.
Late in the first quarter of Notre Dame's win over Navy, senior wideout Braden Lenzy made an incredible catch.
Drew Pyne heaved a prayer down the right sideline, and Navy cornerback Mbiti Williams Jr. had good coverage on the play. Lenzy, though, managed to pin the ball on Williams' back and gain control with his right hand, sweeping the ball around the soon-to-be stunned defender.
Lenzy finished the 35-32 victory with season-high totals of five receptions, 67 yards and that amazing touchdown.
Add another candidate to Catch of the Year lists.
Cruel Technicality of the Week: Vanderbilt Commodores
One streak is over. But another is still alive.
By no means should this be a reason for Vanderbilt to tone down its celebration of beating Kentucky. The long-suffering program earned its first SEC victory since 2019, ending a 26-game skid to conference foes.
Additionally, the Commodores (seemingly) beat a ranked opponent on the road for the first time in 15 years. In the latest College Football Playoff release, Kentucky checked in 24th.
But the CFP rankings are not the poll of record—that title belongs to the Associated Press. So, when you're scanning, say, Sports Reference for past results, the 2022 schedule will show a Vanderbilt win against an unranked Kentucky team.
That's the long version of saying Vanderbilt technically still holds a 28-game road losing streak to Top 25 competition.
Again, this is not meant to detract from what the 'Dores achieved on Saturday. But it's a cruel twist to realize that streak is not officially over.
Best of the Rest: Week 11
Division Champions of the Week: Many!
The celebrations started Wednesday with Toledo winning the MAC East. LSU and Georgia settled the SEC matchup on a busy Saturday. TCU sealed a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game, and North Carolina locked in a meeting with Clemson for the ACC crown. UTSA secured a return trip to the Conference USA title game as well.
Division Non-Champion of the Week: The Big Ten West
What a hilarious, saddening mess. Illinois had the inside track to a division title but needed to a home victory over Purdue to keep it. You can probably guess that didn't happen. As a result, four teams—Purdue, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota—all hold 4-3 conference records with two games left. Purdue has the easiest remaining slate, but Iowa holds the head-to-head tiebreaker. This race won't be decided until the final week of the regular season.
Golf Clap of the Week: Boston College Upsets NC State
Boston College headed into Week 11 with a 2-7 record on a four-game skid. It certainly didn't seem likely that a trip to No. 16 North Carolina State, an 18-point favorite, with a quarterback making his second career start would reverse BC's fortune. Emmett Morehead, however, threw for 330 yards and tossed a game-winning touchdown with 14 seconds left to play to give the Eagles a stunning 21-20 victory.
Top Games in Week 12
No. 4 TCU at Baylor (Noon ET, Fox)
If you'd prefer Illinois' trip to Michigan, that's OK. We'll see Michigan in this space next weekend with Ohio State, though. TCU, on the other hand, is preparing for its final road contest of the regular season. Kansas State smoked Baylor in Week 11, but BU would undoubtedly love to spoil TCU's undefeated year in this rivalry clash.
No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA (8 p.m. ET, Fox)
UCLA's late-night loss to Arizona stung the impact of this contest. Disappointing as that is, however, Caleb Williams-led USC will be a CFP contender as long as it keeps winning. That demand gets tougher with a trip to UCLA this weekend and Notre Dame looming next Saturday.
No. 10 Utah at No. 12 Oregon (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
One of the league's biggest games is trapped in the latest broadcast window. Might want to fix that, Pac-12. Nevertheless, this contest is still very important even after Oregon's loss to Washington. The winner of this matchup will move within a victory of the Pac-12 Championship Game.