It’s the best we saw in Week 9 of the college football season, highlighted by the CFN Week 9 Team of the Week. And what a weekend it was.
Week 9 College Football Team of the Week | First Team
It’s important to note that the CFN Week 9 College Football Team of the Week awards players based on their impact in their respective games and is not necessarily based on total statistical output.
The strength of competition is accounted for, as is the situation — both time of the game and score. These individual awards are also solely based on a player’s ability on the field and does not look into any future beyond college football.
Quarterback: Bo Nix, Oregon
Bo Nix and the Oregon Ducks went into Rice-Eccles Stadium and ended Utah’s home win streak in dominant fashion. Nix threw for 248 yards and two scores against the Utes’ vaunted defense, taking incredible care of the ball and orchestrating the cleanest offensive performance of the day.
Running Back: Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams, UMass
Single-handedly winning the game for the Minutemen, Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams was UMass on Saturday against Army. Rushing the ball 34 times for 234 yards, Lynch-Adams carried the Minutemen to victory and all but ended Army’s hopes for a bowl game in the process.
Running Back: Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State
Riding their running back to victory once again, the Oklahoma State Cowboys were gifted a truly special performance for the second week in a row from Ollie Gordon II. This time, he averaged 10.8 yards per carry with two scores as Gordon ran for 271 yards on just 25 carries. Gordon scored twice and chipped in with four receptions out of the backfield as well.
Wide Receiver: Reggie Brown, James Madison
Needing a big play late in the game, the James Madison Dukes counted on their emerging QB-WR combination and Reggie Brown’s big-play ability. Coming up big all game long but mainly when his team needed it, Brown’s second touchdown of the night gave JMU the lead for good and kept them undefeated. Brown hauled in nine catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns against ODU.
Wide Receiver: Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington
It felt like Washington needed every Ja’Lynn Polk reception to stay ahead of the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday evening, and they certainly needed his 92-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter to strike fear into the Cardinal’s defense. In total, Polk recorded two scores on five catches for 158 yards as Washington stayed unbeaten.
Wide Receiver: Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State
The best player in college football continues to ascend on the national stage as Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. dominated in Week 9 again. Harrison Jr. hauled in six receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns, his second score of the day perhaps one of the better catches on the weekend. Harrison’s Heisman candidacy is alive and well.
Tight End: RJ Maryland, SMU
Rumbling, bumbling, and beating everyone down the sidelines, RJ Maryland made his 62-yard touchdown against Tulsa look easy. Maryland’s touchdown in the second quarter put the SMU lead up to 38-3 with 11:35 left in the first half as the route was officially on and starters began to be pulled. Had Maryland played any longer than he did, he could’ve set some records in SMU’s beatdown of Tulsa.
Flex: Blake Watson, Memphis
While his quarterback calmly led Memphis down for the game-winning score, it could be said that Seth Henigan and the Tigers wouldn’t have even been in a position to do so without Blake Watson. The sparkplug that made the Tigers offense go all game long combined for 269 total yards of offense. Watson had 169 yards on the ground and two scores to go with his 100 yards through the air.
Tackle: Chaz Neal, FAU
You didn’t want to be out in front of Chaz Neal on Friday night, just ask any Charlotte defender. Neal was dominant in all facets, keeping clean pockets in the passing game and finding his way to some highlight-reel blocks on the ground game for FAU.
Guard: Cooper Beebe, Kansas State
Cooper Beebe and the Kansas State offensive line at Houston’s defensive front for lunch on Saturday and looked hungry for more. Beebe was all over the place, flattening defenders in the run game and moving incredibly well to the second level all afternoon. He was terrific in pass protection as well.
Center: Joe Michalski, Oklahoma State
The Oklahoma State rushing attack is heating up, and it’s thanks to the prowess of Gordon in the backfield and Joe Michalski in the middle of the line. Michalski, calling the shots, led the charge against Cincinnati as he dictated not only the play side of multiple big runs but also moved very well across the formation and to the second level all evening.
Guard: AJ Vaipulu, New Mexico State
Remember back on Tuesday night when New Mexico State ran over Louisiana Tech in midweek CUSA play? Well, that was largely in part to AJ Vaipulu’s effort at guard for the Aggies more than it was anything else. Vaipulu put on a clinic on the ground and played just as well in pass protection to boot.
Tackle: Jonny Hassard, UMass
It looked easy at times for UMass, and that’s a large thanks to Jonny Hassard and the offensive line as a whole. Hassard was seen routinely finding Army defenders at the second level or altogether sealing the left side for the Minutemen’s rushing attack in the victory.
EDGE Defender: Jalen Green, James Madison
The nation’s leader in sacks added 2.5 more sacks to his total as Jalen Green once again dominated off the edge for JMU. Green was too much to handle on multiple occasions, and with his 2.5 sacks, he added a half tackle on a safety to round out yet another dominant performance for the Dukes.
EDGE Defender: Trey Moore, UTSA
Keeping the ECU passing attack off balance all game long, Trey Moore set some school history in the process. Moore lit up the Pirates’ offensive line to the tune of 3 sacks off the edge while leading the team with seven total tackles. The three sacks pushed Moore’s season total to 12 on the year, the new single-season record for sacks in a season at UTSA.
Defensive Line: Marshawn Kneeland, Western Michigan
Playing all over the defensive front for Western Michigan, Marshawn Kneeland was truly terrific, no matter where he lined up against Eastern Michigan. Kneeland rushed his way to three sacks and four total tackles for loss, doing most of his damage by working from the outside in, and beating any offensive lineman in front of him at will.
Defensive Interior: Aidan Hubbard, Northwestern
The Northwestern defense handled their business against Maryland’s passing attack and that’s thanks largely to Aidan Hubbard’s ability to get after Taulia Tagovailoa. Hubbard made three sacks and did so by lining up off the edge and getting home with a vengeance. He was too strong for the Maryland offensive line to contend with on seemingly every play.
Linebacker: Edgerrin Cooper, Texas A&M
Quite literally everywhere for Texas A&M, Edgerrin Cooper was integral toward the Aggies’ victory over South Carolina. Everywhere you looked, Cooper was making a play as he led the team with seven total tackles, six of which were solo. He contributed in every facet of play and finished with a sack, two tackles for loss, and multiple forced incompletions in coverage.
Linebacker: Payton Wilson, NC State
Needing a big game from their defense to limit Clemson, the NC State Wolfpack stood on top of Payton Wilson’s big-time outing. Wilson recorded eight total tackles, patrolling the middle of the field well and filling the run even better. Yet, Wilson’s biggest impact came with his pick-six for 15 yards that pushed the NC State lead tow two scores midway through the third quarter.
Linebacker: Cameron Whitfield, Louisiana
What a performance it was from Cameron Whitfield for Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns linebacker ripped through for 3.5 sacks as he was too much to handle with his timing, speed, and athleticism for South Alabama’s offensive line. Whitfield recorded five solo tackles and flat-out controlled the Jaguars’ offense with what he wanted to do on defense.
Cornerback: Travis Hunter, Colorado
Unfortunately for Travis Hunter, his strong defensive showing was for not as the offense just simply couldn’t move the ball against UCLA. Still, Hunter flashed brilliance on the defensive side of the ball for Colorado with two interceptions. He was all over the field on defense, and it was a dramatically improved showing after his last outing.
Cornerback: Mello Dotson, Kansas
Setting the tone for their feisty defensive performance early on, Mello Dotson all but forced Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel to look elsewhere when he jumped a route and skirted 37 yards down the sideline for a pick-six. Dotson recorded just one tackle because he locked down receivers on his side so well that Gabriel avoided him in coverage.
Cornerback: Tysheem Johnson, Oregon
The Ducks weren’t fazed against Utah’s attempts at an offense on Saturday as their defense came to play. Intercepting Bryson Barnes on two separate occasions, Tysheem Johnson flashed his all-around ability in coverage. He was sticky and his highlight-reel interception was one of what felt like a dozen highlights for Oregon’s defense.
Safety: Trey Washington, Ole Miss
Making life miserable for both Vanderbilt quarterbacks, Trey Washington recorded two interceptions for Ole Miss on Saturday night. Washington patrolled the middle of the field incredibly well from his free safety spot and was downright dominant in coverage against any type of pass catcher the Commodores threw his way.
Safety: Xavier Watts, Notre Dame
Thanks to Xavier Watts, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish got back in the win column in dominant fashion over Pittsburgh. Sure, the entire team played well, but Watts’ two-interception performance sparked the Irish on defense and helped limit Pitt’s offense from doing anything. Watts was everywhere against Pitt.
Flex Defense: Beanie Bishop Jr., West Virginia
With one of the most unique interceptions you’ll ever see, Beanie Bishop nabbed two total picks against UCF in a great showing. Bishop kept his balance on a go route early in the contest against the Knights, saw the ball clang off his receiver’s hands, then his receiver’s feet, before popping back into the air, allowing Bishop to regain his footing and grab an acrobatic interception. Bishop has come on strong in 2023 at WVU.
Kicker: Charles Campbell, Tennessee/Jack Olsen, Northwestern
If the performance is so nice, we have to award it twice. Both Charles Campbell and Jack Olsen combined to score 15 total points for their respective teams in close-fought single-possession victories.
Olsen went 4-for-4 on field goals and 3-3 on extra points, nailing field goals of 19, 33, and 47 yards. Campbell was also 4-for-4 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points, kicking field goals of 34, 35, and 44 yards.
It should be noted both Tennessee and Northwestern won by the exact same score of 33-27 over their opponents.
Punter: Caden Noonkester, NC State
To upset a conference rival who has historically bettered you over the past few decades, you’ll need to perform incredibly well in all three facets. Caden Noonkester helped NC State to their defeat over Clemson by booting four punts inside the 20-yard line, keeping the Clemson offense off schedule in doing so. He punted nine times for 369 yards on the day.
Kick Returner: Coco Azema, Northwestern
No one returner sparked their offense more so than Coco Azema in Week 9. Azema was a constant threat whenever he touched the ball and almost took one the distance. Instead went 61 yards and set up a go-ahead score for the Wildcats. He had 94 yards on three returns against Maryland.
Punt Returner: Xavier Worthy, Texas
Arguably one of the most electric players in all of college football with the ball in his hands, Xavier Worthy showcased that against BYU in Week 9. Worthy kicked off Texas’ scoring party with his electric 74-yard punt return for a touchdown that saw him flash his all-around elite athleticism in the process.
Week 9 College Football Team of the Week | Second Team
- QB: Haynes King, Georgia Tech
- RB: Frank Gore Jr., Southern Miss
- RB: Jaydn Ott, Cal
- WR: LaJohntay Wester, FAU
- WR: Christian Horn, Appalachian State
- WR: Ladd McConkey, Georgia
- TE: Jalin Conyers, Arizona State
- FLEX: Trey Benson, Florida State
- OT: KT Leveston, Kansas State
- G: Davion Carter, Memphis
- C: Parker Brailsford, Washington
- G: Terrell Haynes, UTSA
- OT: Dalton Cooper, Oklahoma State
- EDGE: Ashton Gillotte, Louisville
- DI: Tyleik Williams, Ohio State
- DI: Rueben Bain Jr., Miami (FL)
- EDGE: Jared Ivey, Ole Miss
- LB: Maema Njongmeta, Wisconsin
- LB: Gilbert Frierson, Louisville
- LB: Joe Sparacio, Eastern Michigan
- DB: Ricardo Hallman, Wisconsin
- DB: Aaron Wofford, Western Michigan
- DB: Jaden Mickey, Notre Dame
- DB: Tommi Hill, Nebraska
- DB: Tyrone Lewis Jr., Louisiana
- FLEX: Kamren Kinchens, Miami (FL)
- K: Collin Rogers, SMU
- P: James Ferguson-Reynolds, Boise State
- KR: Torrance Burgess Jr., UTEP
- PR: Chris Tyree, Notre Dame
Week 9 College Football Team of the Week | Third Team
- QB: Jordan Travis, Florida State
- RB: Jordan Nubin, Minnesota
- RB: Marcus Carroll, Georgia State
- WR: Joshua Cephus, UTSA
- WR: Jamaal Pritchett, South Alabama
- WR: Elijah Sarratt, James Madison
- TE: Jack Velling, Oregon State
- FLEX: TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State
- OT: Roger Rosengarten, Washington
- G: Michael Ford Jr., Kansas
- C: Branson Hickman, SMU
- G: Addison West, Western Michigan
- OT: Willie Tyler, Louisville
- EDGE: Jared Verse, Florida State
- DT: Antoine Baylis, Louisiana
- DT: James Carpenter, James Madison
- EDGE: Mikail Kamara, James Madison
- LB: Jalil Clemons, Southern Miss
- LB: Quentin Wilfawn, South Alabama
- LB: Andrew Simpson, Boise State
- DB: Thomas Harper, Notre Dame
- DB: Gabriel Taylor, Rice
- DB: Richard Toney Jr., Nevada
- DB: Kenny Logan Jr., Kansas
- DB: Trey Taylor, Air Force
- FLEX: Will Lee III, Kansas State
- K: Chase Contreraz, Iowa State
- P: Brady Hodges, Louisville
- KR: Tychaun Chapman, North Carolina
- PR: Cade McDonald, Miami (OH)
Week 9 College Football Team of the Week | Honorable Mention
- QB: Preston Stone, SMU | Frank Harris, UTSA
- RB: Audric Estime, Notre Dame
- RB: Jawhar Jordan, Louisville
- WR: Elic Ayomanor, Stanford
- WR: Eric McAlister, Boise State
- WR: Ainias Smith, Texas A&M
- TE: Mason Fairchild, Kansas
- FLEX: Jalen Buckley, Western Michigan
- OT: Eric Miller, Louisville
- G: Trevor Campbell, Western Michigan
- C: Josh Atwood, UMass
- G: Javontez Spraggins, Tennessee
- OT: Xavier Truss, Georgia
- EDGE: Jaylen Swain, Jacksonville State
- DT: B.J. Green II, Arizona State
- DT: Keyon Ware-Hudson, Oregon
- EDGE: Antwaun Powell-Ryland, Virginia Tech
- LB: Marques Watson-Trent, Georgia Southern
- LB: Aiden Fisher, James Madison
- LB: Nickolas Martin, Oklahoma State
- DB: Bryce Anderson, Texas A&M
- DB: Shawn Asbury II, Old Dominion
- DB: Cameron Epps, Oklahoma State
- DB: Jabbar Muhammad, Washington
- DB: Christian Gray, Notre Dame
- FLEX: Cedric Johnson, Ole Miss
- K: Derek McCormick, UL-Monroe
- P: Alex Mastromanno, Florida State
- KR: Deuce Spann, Florida State
- PR: Tucker Holloway, Virginia Tech