The FootballScoop Coaches of the Week Awards - Hail to Coach O
Head Coach of the Week - Ed Orgeron, USC
If this is the peak for Ed Orgeron's short tenure at USC - and it may be, it may not be - it's still the performance every interim head coach will be judged against from now until the sun burns this planet into oblivion. A late field goal to beat No. 4 Stanford, delirious cardinal and gold supporters storming the LA Coliseum turf, Orgeron directing the USC band while holding a dangerously large sword, it's all a fever dream not even Pat Haden could have imagined when he named his defensive line coach the caretaker of the USC program just hours after Arizona State turned the Trojans' skulls into oatmeal.
Nine days after Stanford made Oregon get out of its game, USC beat the Cardinal playing the Stanford way. Cody Kessler was an efficient 25-of-37 for 288 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions (remember how bad the USC quarterbacks were under Kiffin?), while the USC defense simply waited for Kevin Hogan - 0-for-5 passing with an interception inside the red zone - to make a fatal mistake. Which he did with 3:02 remaining, as he threw his second interception of the day, setting up Andre Heidari's game-winning 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds to play. All while this was happening:
Press box announcer just told us USC has only played two defensive subs all night. One of those subs played just one snap.— Ashley Adamson (@AdamsonAshley) November 17, 2013
Honorable Mention: Gus Malzahn, Auburn; Charlie Weis, Kansas; Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati; David Cutcliffe, Duke; Mike Leach, Washington State; Art Briles, Baylor; Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Rod Carey, Northern Illinois; Jim Mora, UCLA; Charlie Strong, Louisville; Mark Dantonio, Michigan State.
Offensive Staff of the Week - Duke
When Duke has won in the last two season, it's come courtesy of David Cutcliffe's Peyton Manning-approved passing attack. The Blue Devils don't blow people off the ball and run it down the opponent's throat. But that's what they did on Saturday. Duke came into the day ranking eighth in the ACC in rushing yards per game (165.89) and sixth in yards per carry (4.35), yet they ran 52 times for 358 yards (6.9 per carry) for five touchdowns versus the Hurricanes. That's 158 percent of their yards per carry average and 216 percent of their per game average.
All that running allowed the Blue Devils to score 20 unanswered points in turning a 30-28 deficit into a 48-30 win, moving them to a previously unfathomable 48-30 on the year.
Honorable Mention: Baylor, Northern Illinois, Florida State, Ohio State, Auburn, Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Boston College, Toledo.
Defensive Staff of the Week - Washington State
You'd assume a Washington State road win in the Pac-12 would require some sort of a record-breaking effort from Mike Leach's quarterback, but Saturday's 24-17 win at Arizona actually amounts to a better statement about the progression of Leach's program. Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey, the nation's second-leading rusher, was held 20 yards below his 152-yard average, and the Cougars held 'Zona to three points on their final seven possessions. It was a lot of bend-but-don't-break stuff as Arizona missed two field goals and turned the ball over on downs in those seven possessions, but it allowed Washington State to outscore the Wildcats 14-3 in the second half. That a Washington State defense held a non-Colorado Pac-12 opponent to three points over an entire half is reason enough to earn top honors for the week.
Honorable Mention: Michigan State, Oklahoma State, USC, Kansas, Florida State, Mississippi State, Alabama, Louisville.
Special Teams Unit of the Week - USC
Is it a coincidence or something more that Stanford's last two opponents wound up in this space? One week after Oregon used its special teams to make a blowout look respectable, the USC kicking game made the plays necessary to knock off the No. 4 Cardinal. First was the Trojans' block of Conrad Ukropina's 30-yard field goal try at the six minute mark of the third quarter which kept the game knotted at 17, and then there was Andre Heidari's 47-yarder for the win with 19 seconds left. Finally, don't forget the USC kickoff unit bottling up radioactive Stanford return man Ty Montgomery at the 30 after kicking off from their own 20 following an excessive celebration penalty.