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November 3, 2008Picking this week's national player and coordinator of the week was an easy call.
In the two biggest games of the week, perhaps two of the biggest of the season, Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell and Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong turned in season-defining performances for national championship contenders.
Not to be ignored, a Georgia Tech freshman provided the game-turning play to beat the latest ACC front-runner.
Harrell went from Heisman outsider to perhaps the Heisman favorite in one week. He outdueled Colt McCoy, helped lead an upset of the No. 1 team in the country and created a Heisman highlight with the 28-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with a second remaining against Texas.
Harrell was 36-of-53 passing for 474 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He helped Texas Tech storm to a 22-6 first-half lead, then led the winning drive in the final two minutes.
Taylor stepped in for Dominique Reese and helped Georgia Tech remain one of the front-runners in the ACC.
Taylor ? whose dad, Jim Bob, was a quarterback for Tech in the early 1980s ? had 10 tackles and an interception, but his most important play came at the end of the game. Taylor forced a Marcus Sims fumble in the end zone in the final minute to secure the Yellow Jackets' 31-28 win over Florida State.
Also considered for freshman of the week:
? In his first career start at quarterback, Kentucky's Randall Cobb was 7-of-13 for 56 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 14-13 victory at Mississippi State. Splitting snaps with Mike Hartline, Cobb also added 31 rushing yards and a touchdown and 33 receiving yards.
Georgia found out how much Florida's defense had improved since their last meeting. Knowshon Moreno ran for 188 yards against the Gators last season, but was held to 65 yards on 17 carries on Saturday.
Strong's defense held Georgia to one fourth-quarter touchdown and forced four turnovers, including three Matthew Stafford interceptions.
Also considered for coordinator of the week:
? Ruffin McNeill's defense came up big again by holding Texas to 374 yards (91 came on one play), including just 80 rushing, in Texas Tech's 39-33 win over Texas.
? West Virginia became the first team this year to hold Connecticut RB Donald Brown to fewer than 100 yards. Jeff Casteel's defense held Brown to 82 yards and forced five turnovers in a 35-13 win over the Huskies.
David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.