Gold Stars Week 9: 3 offensive stars take home the hardware
Welcome to the Week 9 edition of Gold Stars, my weekly look at the Pac-12’s best individual performers.
We’ll keep a running track of the Gold Stars of the Week, all leading up to the Gold Stars of the Year column in December. It’s exactly like the Heisman Trophy, only there’s no ceremony, no trophy, and no one puts this on their résumé. As a note: 1st-place finishers get 3 gold stars, 2nd-place get 2 and 3rd-place gets 1.
Also, I’m on the voting committee for Pac-12 weekly awards, and I’ll include my ballot below Gold Stars.
|Michael Penix Jr.||Washington||Quarterback||6|
|Jacob Cowing||Arizona||Wide Receiver||3|
|Jaydn Ott||Cal||Running Back||3|
|Daiyan Henley||Washington State||Linebacker||3|
|Zach Charbonnet||UCLA||Running Back||3|
|Kitan Oladapo||Oregon State||Safety||2|
|Dalton Kincaid||Utah||Tight End||2|
|Jordan Addison||USC||Wide Receiver||1|
|Jayden de Laura||Arizona||Quarterback||1|
|Tuli Tuipulotu||USC||Defensive Lineman||1|
|Ja'Lynn Polk||Washington||Wide Receiver||1|
|Alex Austin||Oregon State||Cornerback||1|
On to the Gold Stars of Week 9 …
1. Oregon QB Bo Nix (3 stars)
Nix wins top honors for the second straight week. He really dialed it up on Saturday for his second 400-yard passing game of the season, and he set a career-high with 6 total touchdowns, 3 through the air and 3 through the running game.
Aside from an uncharacteristic 1-for-3 on 4th down, the Ducks’ offense was humming against the Bears, ringing up 29 first downs and 586 total yards of offense.
It’s one thing when Oregon is flowing everything through its impressive ground game. It’s an entirely different thing altogether when Nix and the passing game lead the way.
2. USC QB Caleb Williams (2 stars)
Williams has been terrific all year, throwing just 1 interception this season, but he’s been particularly good the past 2 games.
He nearly lifted the Trojans to a huge win over Utah in a 43-42 loss, throwing for 381 yards and 5 touchdowns. Against Arizona on Saturday, he once again threw for 5 touchdowns, but this time he set a career-high with 411 passing yards.
Even more impressively, he escaped pressure and avoided a sack for the first time this year.
Williams now has three games this year with 4 or more touchdowns and zero picks.
3. UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet (1 stars)
Charbonnet had topped the century mark in 5 consecutive games, but he took it to a new level on Saturday in a 38-13 win over Stanford.
The UCLA star running back had 198 yards for the 2nd time in 3 weeks, but he also tacked on 61 receiving yards on 5 receptions, his most active involvement in the Bruins’ passing game.
Charbonnet hasn’t just been one of the most consistent running backs in the Pac-12, he’s been one of the best in the entire country.
Zach Charbonnet is a BEAST 😤
He can handle any amount of touches you give him.. a more explosive version of James Conner pic.twitter.com/99KhqjbTLQ
— RanDynasty (@ran_dynasty) October 22, 2022
My Pac-12 Weekly Awards ballot:
Defensive Line POW: Utah DL Van Fillinger
Fillinger was expected to step up in a big way this season but hasn’t been all that productive. But he played a major role in Utah’s 21-17 win over Washington State, tying a season-high with 1.5 sacks while forcing a fumble with a strip sack.
Defensive POW: USC S Bryson Shaw
The Ohio State transfer hadn’t made a big impact on the Trojans’ defense this year, but he really stepped up on Saturday with several starters sidelined. Shaw had his first interception this year while also finishing with 7 tackles and a pass breakup.
Honorable mentions: Utah DL Van Fillinger, UCLA LB Darius Muasau, Oregon LB DJ Johnson.
.@bshaw272727 with his first interception as a Trojan!
— USC Football ✌️ (@uscfb) October 30, 2022
Freshman POW: Colorado WR Jordyn Tyson
Tyson had a career day for the Buffaloes, finishing with one of the best days for a Colorado freshman wide receiver in program history. Tyson’s 5 receptions for 115 yards ranked as the 3rd-most yards for a Buffs true freshman, highlighted by a 58-yard touchdown. He also added an 88-yard punt return touchdown, finishing with 246 all-purpose yards, the most for a freshman in Colorado history.
Offensive Line POW: USC OL Jonah Monheim
With star offensive guard Andrew Vorhees sidelined, Monheim stabilized things up front for the USC offense. The line protected Caleb Williams throughout, giving him time to connect on 31-of-45 (.689) passes for a career-best 411 yards and 5 TDs.
Offensive POW: Oregon QB Bo Nix
Six more total touchdowns for the Ducks’ quarterback, who is having a transcendent senior season. In addition to an absurd 11 rushing touchdowns this year, Nix now leads the conference in passing efficiency.
Honorable mentions: USC QB Caleb Williams, UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet.
Special Teams POW: Colorado PR Jordyn Tyson
Tyson finished with 4 punt returns for 117 yards, including his 88-yard touchdown, the 6th-longest punt return in school history.
.@tyson_jordyn WITH AN 88-YARD PUNT RETURN 🤯
6th longest in school history!!
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) October 30, 2022