Head Coach of the Week - Jim Mora, UCLA. Here's hoping this goes down as the most trying week of Mora's coaching career. First and foremost, the UCLA football program endured the stunning loss of freshman wide receiver Nick Pasquale on Sunday morning. Then, Mora had to get the Bruins ready to go on the road to play a capable opponent in their house.
With all the emotion of the week, and considering that the Bruins kicked off at 9 a.m. body clock time, their early 21-3 deficit was almost expect. And then UCLA responded. The Bruins thorougly dominated Nebraska over the final three quarters, scoring the game's final 38 points in a 41-21 win. A defense that allowed touchdowns on three of its first five drives forced six punts, a fumble and a turnover on downs over the course of the final three quarters; while an offense that began the game with a punt, interception, field goal, punt, turnover on downs and a missed field goal rebounded by finding the end zones on five of its next six possessions, including all four times it touched the ball in a 28-0 third quarter.
Offensive Staff of the Week - Alabama. While the Crimson Tide could not match the dazzling theatrics of its counterparts, it didn't matter. Once they got rolling, Doug Nussmeier and the Alabama offense were like a wrecking ball rolling downhill. After producing zero yards in its first three plays, Alabama marched 328 yards on 27 plays over its next four possessions, with each trip ending in a touchdown to put Saban's team on top 28-14 at the break. Of the Tide's 10 non-game ending possessions, seven of them travelled at least 65 yards, and five of them were 75 yards or longer. Alabama got what it wanted on the ground and through the air; the team rushed for 234 yards and two scores on 37 carries (6.2 yards per pop), while A.J. McCarron completed 20-of-29 attempts for 334 yards (11.5 yards per attempt) with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Most importantly, in a back-and-forth game when its vaunted defense found itself in a rare position of surviving a 60-minute siege from Johnny Manziel and company, the Crimson Tide offense carried the load; the Tide held a 10-minute time of possession edge despite running five fewer plays than Texas A&M.
Defensive Staff of the Week - Texas Tech. Let's be honest, this wasn't a banner week for defensive football. Our award this week goes to a staff that got the absolute most out of its talent and inspired a complete 60-minute effort to earn a key win in the short history of the Kliff Kingsbury era in Lubbock. In building a 10-0 halftime lead en route to a 20-10 win over TCU, the Red Raiders posted a first half shutout of a conference opponent since October 10, 2009, and held a Big 12 foe to 10 points or less for the first time since October 17, 2009.
TCU held the ball 14 times in non-end of half situations, and 11 of those possessions ended in a punt, an interception or a turnover on downs. The Horned Frogs were able to run for 207 yards and a touchdown, but needed 44 carries to do so. The Texas Tech front harrassed Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin all night surrendering just 194 yards on 23-of-38 passing (5.1 yards per attempt) with no touchdowns and two picks. With a schedule that follows with Texas State, Kansas, Iowa State and West Virginia, Matt Wallerstedt and the Texas Tech defensive staff have a month and a half to tinker and improve before the meat of the Big 12 schedule arrives.
Special Teams Unit of the Week - Oregon State. In a tight game, you can't afford any mistakes on special teams. See: Oregon State's 51-48 win over Utah in overtime late Saturday night. Kicker Trevor Romaine knocked in all three field goals and each of his four extra points, and punter Keith Kristol had an effective day with a 42.3-yard average and only three total return yards on four punts. Victor Bolden had a 35-yard kickoff return that set up a Beavers field goal, giving them a 37-31 lead with 10:01 to play. Coordinator Bruce Read's unit wasn't spectacular, but they made the plays needed to earn a much-appreciated tight win on the road in Pac-12 play.
Call of the Week - Bowling Green. When special teams coordinator Adam Scheier called for a punt block, even he didn't evision it working quite as efficiently as this. Linebacker Paul Senn grabbed the ball off the foot off Erich Toth's foot and took it back to the house. Unfortunately for the Falcons, this was the only highlight of the day in a 42-10 loss.