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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.
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:
• 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.
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:
• 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.
• 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.
David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.