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October 6, 2008Seasons needed saving in the first Saturday in October. Illinois needed to stay alive in the Big Ten race against Michigan, Ohio State needed to prove its switch to freshman Terrelle Pryor at quarterback was the best decision and Pittsburgh needed to beat South Florida to assert itself in the Big East race.
All three achieved their goals this week to earn Rivals.com national awards.
NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: QB Juice Williams, Illinois.
Williams showed no hangover from last week's loss at Penn State with a record-setting performance at Michigan. He accounted for 431 yards of total offense (310 passing, 121 rushing), a record for any player in Michigan Stadium history.
Passing for two touchdowns and rushing for two more, Williams led the Illini to 45 points - the highest total for Illinois against Michigan since 1924. That team was led by Red Grange.
More important, Williams kept Illinois alive in the Big Ten race.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: QB Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State.
Pryor erased any doubt that he will lead Ohio State for the remainder of the season after rallying the Buckeyes to a road win against Wisconsin.
Pryor was 13-for-19 for 144 yards with an interception. He rushed for only 20 yards, but scored the game-winning touchdown on 11-yard run with 1:08 left.
ALSO CONSIDERED FOR FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK:
? Miami may have a playmaker on offense in WR Travis Benjamin, who had two touchdowns and 89 yards from scrimmage in a 41-39 loss to Florida State. LB Sean Spence also stood out for the Hurricanes, with 10 tackles and an interception for a touchdown.
COORDINATOR OF THE WEEK: Phil Bennett, Pittsburgh
Suddenly, everyone in the Big East is chasing Pittsburgh, who is 2-0 in the league. Pittsburgh held UCF to just 245 of offense in a 26-21 upset of the Bulls. USF QB Matt Grothe finished with just 154 yards of offense.
ALSO CONSIDERED FOR COORDINATOR OF THE WEEK:
? Behind coordinator Nick Holt, USC's defense rebounded against Oregon, allowing only 239 total yards and 60 rushing in a 44-10 win. The Ducks had averaged 308.6 rushing yards going into the USC game.
? Bob Gregory's Cal defense allowed Arizona State to put up only 236 yards. The Sun Devils rushed for 71 yards and turned the ball over three times in a 24-14 loss.
David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.