National Champion of the Week: NC State
You want to know what a program win looks like? It's beating the Godzilla of your conference, twice.
After Will Shipley barreled into the end zone to tie the game at 14 with 10:52 to play, NC State took over at its own 25 and moved 41 yards in a methodical four minutes, 38 seconds, setting Christopher Dunn up for a 51-yard field goal. He missed it, his second of the day. #CollegeKickers, you know?
The Wolfpack defense forced an immediate three-and-out, and NC State's offense again got to work, moving from its own 23 to the Clemson 22, killing all but two seconds of the 4:35 left in the game. This Dunn attempt would be from 39 yards, straight on. He missed it again.
By this point, NC State had held the ball for all but 1:21 of the final 10:52 of the game, not only surviving hand-to-hand combat with the best defense in college football and winning, only with nothing to show for it.
What's it like when 60,000 people all want to wring the same guy's neck? Everyone in Carter-Finley Stadium knew at that point.
"Some teams (say) 'Here we go again.' Our guys say, 'Keep playing. Put the ball down. Next play is the play we're going to win the game.' That's how we approached it," head coach Dave Doeren said.
NC State's two touchdowns to that point were the only two Clemson had allowed all season, and yet that didn't stop the Wolfpack from adding two more in overtime. Devin Leary's 2-yard toss to Thayer Thomas knotted the score at 21. Doeren chose to kick an extra point rather than try to end the game right there but, after NC State scored at the top of the second overtime, Doeren then chose to go for two, and failed.
Clemson was now a touchdown and a PAT from sentencing everyone in red to a week's worth of sleepless nights, but the NC State defense didn't give the team in white the opportunity. A 5-yard run and three incomplete passes later, NC State had its first win over an AP Top 10 team since 2012.
"The curse is broken, NC State fans, finally," Doeren said.
NC State ran 96 plays to Clemson's 49, a gulf made possible by NC State winning 20 of the 32 third downs -- 11-of-21 on offense and 9-of-11 on defense.
"We controlled the ball, won the line of scrimmage, didn't flinch," Doeren said. "It's a great team win."
Offensive Staff of the Week: Texas
Let's not overthink this one, shall we? Texas put up 70 points -- 63 by the offense -- in just a smidge over three quarters of action.
All five of the Longhorns' five first half possessions found pay dirt, and all but two did on the game. One ended in a Casey Thompson interception in the end zone, and the other was a turnover on downs after UT had already moved 46 yards, all on the ground, in attempt to close out the game.
Making his second start, Thompson hit 18-of-23 passes for 303 yards with five touchdowns while also running for 29 yards and a score.
Speaking of running, Texas Tech plummeted from fifth in the nation in run defense to 53rd after Texas rushed 52 times for 336 yards on the day. Bijan Robinson led the way with 137 yards on 18 carries, but four Longhorns ran for more than 40.
In two games with Thompson in the starting lineup -- against Rice and Texas Tech, we must say -- Texas has rushed for 763 yards and 10 touchdowns on 8.2 a carry.
"Our offensive line played a really good game against a disruptive defense," Steve Sarkisian said. "We played a really efficient game in the passing game. We really stayed ahead of the chains, which enabled us to get into some manageable third downs."
The 70 points were one shy of a UT Big 12 record, and their 639 yards were the most against a Big 12 opponent since 2016.
Defensive Coordinator of the Week: Jordan Lesley, West Virginia
Our first losing effort award of the season, through no fault of WVU's defense.
The Mountaineers limited Oklahoma to 313 yards and 16 points, both low points in Lincoln Riley's 57 games as head coach. The Sooners' 4.89 yards per play were mere inches above a Riley-era worst.
Oklahoma ran for 57 yards on 2.04 per carry -- again, Riley-era worsts. Spencer Rattler's 7.1 yards per attempt was the third-lowest of the Riley era.
West Virginia's defense triggered a full on existential meltdown in some corners of Gaylord Family-Memorial Stadium.
West Virginia held Oklahoma out of the end zone for its final eight possessions. I can't tell you the last time that happened but I know it's been a long, l-o-n-g time.
"I thought our defensive players and staff played their tail off," WVU head coach Neal Brown said. "... As you look through this conference since we joined in 2012.... is Oklahoma has been the team to beat. When you look at it, we tried outscoring them, and it doesn't work. When we got here, and we started building a foundation.... we felt like we had to play great defense."
The Super 16: This week's FWAA-NFF Super 16 ballot.
6. Penn State
8. Ole Miss
9. Notre Dame
12. Ohio State
13. Michigan State
16. Coastal Carolina