Player of the Week Awards - Week 2

September 13, 2023 by Staff

(NOTE: In additon to numerous other awards,'s Dave Congrove is a season-end voter for these awards in this article: Ray Guy, Bednarik, Maxwell, Lou Groza, Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski)

In no particular order, here are the Players of the Week, as announced by eight of college football's major award presenters.

Shaun Alexander Award - Freshman Player of the Week

Texas Linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. has been named the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Week after a dominant showing in the Texas upset against No. 3 Alabama. The 6 ‘3 234 freshman would lead the Longhorn defense, making 6 tackles with 2 tackles for loss and two sacks. Hill would also record his first sack for the program during their trip down to Tuscaloosa. Texas returns home to Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium to take on Wyoming this Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. CT.

Ray Guy Award - Punter of the Week

The Augusta Sports Council and the Ray Guy Award are proud to announce James Burnip of Alabama as the Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week for Week 2 games. Burnip was chosen from Ray's 8, announced Monday. 

Burnip punted five times for an average of 52.6 yards with a long of 61 and three being pinned inside the Longhorns 20.

Congratulations to James Burnip for being "our guy" this week!

Outland Trophy - Interior Lineman of the Week

Miami Hurricane guard Anez Cooper was the top-graded offensive lineman from a Miami Hurricanes blocking front facing a stiff test against Texas A&M. For helping the Hurricanes gain 451 total yards averaging 8.4 yards per play in their 43-33 win over the No. 25 Aggies, the Miami guard earned the Outland Trophy National Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 9, as selected by theFootball Writers Association of America.

Cooper, a 6-6, 350-pound sophomore from Pleasant Grove, Ala., and the Hurricanes outmuscled and outgained the Aggies 451-433 in total yards. Miami allowed just two sacks, neither attributed against Cooper, assisting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke to throw for a career-high five touchdowns, the most scoring passes ever by a Miami quarterback against a top-25-ranked opponent and tied for second all-time among the Hurricane’s vast vault of former signal-callers. 

The offensive line’s play was never as essential as the last stages of the second quarter with Miami trailing 17-7. Van Dyke first connected with Isaiah Horton on a 52-yard scoring pass to pull the Hurricanes within three at 17-14. The offensive line then helped engineer a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard scoring pass to Jacolby George with 13 seconds left before halftime that gave Miami a 21-17 lead. 

Miami would not trail again, earning its first win over a top-25 opponent since head coach Mario Cristobal returned to his alma mater two seasons ago. Cooper was also named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week.

The Hurricanes are well-represented in the Outland Trophy annals with two prior winners in offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie in 2001 and defensive tackle Russell Maryland in 1990. Miami also has former finalists, most recently with center Brett Romberg in 2002 and Warren Sapp (1994) and Daniel Stubbs (1987) before that. Romberg is also the most recent of Miami’s five offensive linemen to ever make the FWAA All-America team. 

The Hurricanes (2-0) face Bethune-Cookman at home Thursday with a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff on the ACC Network.

Maxwell Award - Offensive Player of the Week

Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers has been named Maxwell Award Player of the Week after upsetting No. 3, Alabama in stunning fashion (34-24). The Texas native went 24-for-38 on passes for 349 yards and 3 touchdown passes, while adding 3 carries for 11 yards. The 6 '2 195 sophomore would additionally record 6-of-7 passes in the fourth quarter for 135 yards, leading the Longhorns to a 21-point fourth-quarter finish. This performance would also help Texas earn Cheez-It National Team of the Week, making it the sixth time doing so. Texas is back home in the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium to take on Wyoming this Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. CT.

Bednarik Award - Defensive Player of the Week

Washington State defensive back Jaden Hicks has been named the Chuck Bednarik Award Defensive Player of the Week after leading Washington State to an upset of No. 19 Wisconsin. In the 31-22 victory, the Cougar sophomore tallied nine tackles, seven solos, a tackle for loss, forced a fumble and broke up two passes. Hicks’ tremendous play from start to finish led the way for the Cougars. Hicks began the game with 2 solo tackles on Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen, leading to a three-and-out to set Washington State up with the first points of the game, then finished his great play with a forced fumble that sealed the deal. The Cougars look to move to 3-0 this week when they take on the Northern Colorado Bears at home.

Lou Groza Award - Placekicker “Stars of the Week”

College football’s top kicking award, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award presented by the Orange Bowl, recognizes three of the top kickers each week from FBS division teams as the “Stars of the Week.”

Colton Boomer kicked a 40-yard winner as time expired, one of his four field goals in UCF’s 18-16 road victory over Boise State. The sophomore from Lake Mary, Fla. opened the game with a 50 yarder, setting a personal best that lasted less than two quarters as he topped it with a 55-yard kick that also matches the longest in program history. In between the two long kicks was a 33 yarder, accounting for all of the Knights’ first-half scoring.

Caden Davis connected from 56 yards out to cap a 3-for-3 performance that keyed an Ole Miss 37-20 comeback win on the road against Tulane. The senior from Coppell, Texas also kicked field goals from 37 and 27 yards to help turn a 10-point deficit to a 3-point lead before the Rebels pulled away in the final five minutes. The 56-yard field goal is the fourth longest in Ole Miss history, and the longest by a Rebel kicker since 1988.

Twice Oregon faced two-point deficits in the fourth quarter, and twice Camden Lewis came through to put the Ducks ahead in an ultimate 38-30 road win over Texas Tech. The senior from Charlotte, N.C. connected from 23 yards out to give the Ducks a 28-27 lead early in the fourth, and then answered Texas Tech’s comeback with a 34 yarder with just over a minute to play to provide the winning points. He also kicked a 28-yard field goal earlier in the game for a 3-for-3 performance.

Doak Walker Award - Running Back of the Week

North Carolina running back Omarion Hampton rushed for a career-high 234 yards on 26 carries and scored three touchdowns as the Tar Heels held off an upset bid from in-state foe App State, 40-34 in double overtime. The performance earned him the Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 9.

The 6-0, 220-pound sophomore from Clayton, N.C. opened the scoring for North Carolina with a career-long 68-yard touchdown run before adding a 7-yard fourth-quarter scoring dash and tacking on a 17-yard scoring run on Carolina’s first possesion of overtime. The Atlantic Coast Conference’s Running Back of the Week became the 27th UNC player to rush for more than 200 yards in a game.

Coming off a two-touchdown performance in the season-opener against South Carolina, Hampton is the first Tar Heel to score five rushing touchdowns in the first two games of a season since 1995.

The Tar Heels (2-0) play host to Minnesota on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Other candidates for the honor in Week 2 included:

  • Daelen Alexander, Rice: Alexander, a freshman, set a school record scoring 14 points in overtime, rushing for both Rice touchdowns along with the decisive two-point conversion in a 43-41 win over Houston. The win allowed the Owls to capture the Bayou Bucket for the first time since 2010 and snap a 17-game losing streak to Power Five programs dating to 2013.

  • Roman Hemby, Maryland: Hemby had 217 yards of total offense – 162 rushing and 55 receiving – and a rushing touchdown to lead Maryland past Charlotte, 38-20. It was the sophomore’s fifth career 100-yard game and his first of the season as he averaged 8.5 yards on 19 carries. In total, he had 217 yards on 24 touches

    • Corey Kiner, Cincinnati: Kiner had a career night rushing for a personal-best 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries in a 27-21 win at Pitt. The junior’s career-long 68-yard run in the first quarter punctuated his second consecutive 100-yard performance and the third of his career.

    • Darius Taylor, Minnesota: Taylor carried 33 times for 193 yards and one touchdown in 25-6 win against Eastern Michigan. After carrying the ball once in the season-opener vs. Nebraska, his 193 yards were second-most in school history for a true freshman.

    • Keith Willis Jr, Louisiana Tech: The true freshman ran over and ran away from Northwestern State, leading a Louisiana Tech rushing attack with 188 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs won, 51-21. Willis had touchdown runs of 68 and 65 yards while averaging 14.5 yards per carry on the night.

Bronko Nagurski - Defensive Player of the Week

Edge Ron Stone Jr. spearheaded a Washington State defensive front tallying two sacks and two tackles-for-loss among five total tackles as the Cougars topped No. 19 Wisconsin, 31-22. For the three solo tackles and two forced fumbles as the Cougars hosted – and defeated – a ranked Power 5 team in a non-conference game for the first time, Stone earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 9, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

Two plays in the second quarter showcased the all-around effort for the 6-3, 246-pound senior from San Jose, Calif. On back-to-back Wisconsin possessions, Stone sacked quarterback Tanner Mordecai while forcing fumbles on both plays. The second strip sack came at Wisconsin’s 2-yard line, and fellow edge Brennan Jackson picked up the loose ball and ran into the end zone, giving WSU a 24-6 lead with just over two minutes left in the first half.

Stone had five total pressures and recorded the first two-sack game of his career. WSU sources reported Stone also earned the best edge grade among Pac-12 players and the seventh-best edge grade in the nation over the weekend. Stone was named both the Pac-12’s Defensive Lineman of the Week and its Defensive Player of the Week, becoming only the fourth player to earn both awards in the same week since the conference’s lineman honor was created in 2019. Former Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists Tuli Tuipulotu of USC (2022) and Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux (twice in 2021) are among the others along with 2019 FWAA All-American Bradlee Anae of Utah (2019).

This is the second Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week honor for Stone, who also earned it in 2021. The last WSU player to win Defensive Lineman of the Week was Brennan Jackson in Week 11 of last season. Jackson is on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List, and Stone will now join him on that list going forward. 

Washington State has not had a Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner or a finalist in its past. The only WSU designated defensive lineman to earn FWAA All-America honors was Rien Long in 2002. Linemen Wayne Foster (1965) and end Bill Steiger (1956) are former Cougars FWAA All-Americans from the two-way player era. 

Washington State (2-0) hosts Northern Colorado at 5 p.m. ET Saturday on the Pac-12 Network.