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Coaches of the Week - Week 11

Head Coach of the Week - Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M: There was no other choice for this week's honor but the coach who led his team to a win over the top-ranked defending national champions in their house. Sumlin's team started at their trademark whirlwind pace in opening up a 20-0 lead through one quarter. The Alabama defense adjusted but unlike in previous losses to Florida and LSU, the Aggies produced timely offense, most notably Johnny Manziel's 24-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Kennedy with 8:37 to play. The Texas A&M defense allowed some big plays in the passing game but created game-changing plays of their own, turning A.J. McCarron's first interception of the season into points and sealing the game with their second interception on fourth-and-goal in the game's waning moments. The Aggies won the turnover battle 3-0, went 11-of-18 on third down and, unlike Alabama, did not doom itself with costly penalties. Texas A&M's 29 points were the most scored on an Alabama defense since a 35-21 loss to South Carolina in 2010, a span of 29 games. 

 

Offensive Staff of the Week - Syracuse: Doug Marrone's offensive unit saved its best performance of the season for the best team on its schedule in a 45-26 trouncing of Louisville. Syracuse reached a season high in points and its 524 total yards and 278 rushing yards were the tops against Big East competition in 2012. The Orange pulled away with touchdowns on five consecutive full drives, marching 332 yards in 36 collective plays. A balanced effort, Syracuse had a 240-yard passer, a 140-yard rusher and a 170-yard receiver and very nearly had another rusher reach triple digits. After winning just four Big East games from 2005-09, Syracuse now has a shot at five conference wins for the first time since 2001. 

 

Defensive Staff of the Week - Kansas State: When the Wildcats offense played a quiet night by its standards, it was the Kansas State defense that allowed a prime time conference road game turn into a comfortable victory. In fact, Tom Hayes' defense did not allow the Horned Frogs offense on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter when the score was already 23-0. TCU had not been held to just 10 points since a 17-10 loss to Boise State in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, a streak of 35 games. Kansas State limited TCU to 4.1 yards per play and 260 total yards, both season lows. 

 

Special Teams Unit of the Week - UCLA: The Bruins produced two blocked field goals, returning one for a touchdown, and two blocked punts in a 44-36 win over Washington State. A successful punt pinning the Cougars deep in their own territory also set up a safety by the Bruins' defense. Kenneth Walker also returned a kickoff 40 yards to the Washington State 41-yard line, priming the UCLA offense for a short touchdown drive. UCLA built a 37-7 halftime lead and needed every one of its early special teams plays as the Cougars won the second half, 29-7, to pull within one score. The Bruins also punted successfully with five attempts for an average of 46.6 yards, with two kicks pinned inside the 20, allowing just one return for four yards. 

 

Call of the Week - Bryan Harsin, Texas: Everyone in the stadium knew Texas was going to line up in the wishbone on their first offensive play Saturday. But nobody saw coming what happened next. Backed up at their own six-yard line, quarterback David Ash handed to wide receiver Jaxon Shipley, who was lined up as a tailback in the wishbone formation,  who then turned and threw back to Ash inside his own end zone, and Ash fired a 46-yard strike to tight end Greg Daniels. How out of nowhere was the play call? The catch was the second of Daniels' career. Timely creativity is Bryan Harsin's calling card and this play was a prime example why. 

Author: Zach Barnett
Zach Barnett is a native of Denton, Texas and a graduate of the University of Texas. He joined FootballScoop in 2012 after two years at the National Football Foundation. His hobbies include watching college football, reading about college football and writing about college football.