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O’Connell earns top PFF grade vs. Oregon

Cody O’Connell and several other WSU players earned top grades from Pro Football Focus for their performances in the Cougars’ 51-33 win over Oregon.

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NCAA Football: Oregon at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington State offensive line has abused opposing defenses in consecutive weeks, culminating in back-to-back games with over 200-yards rushing and nine total touchdowns during that span.

And for the second consecutive week, the Cougars have landed an offensive lineman on Pro Football Focus’ Team of the Week, as redshirt junior Cody O’Connell graded out as the top left guard in the country in WSU’s 51-33 win over Oregon with an 82.1 score.

“O’Connell was a key cog in Washington State’s surprisingly dominant run game,” says PFF senior analyst Steve Pallazalo, “and he performed well in the run and pass game while also doing a nice job in the Cougars’ screen game.”

Two weeks ago in the win over Idaho, Andre Dillard was named to Pro Football Focus’ Team of the Week after grading out as the top left tackle in the country. O’Connell also earned the top offensive guard grade in the Pac-12 against Idaho.

CougCenter’s Zane Murfitt showcased one of O’Connell’s top plays in the win, which you can watch over and over again below, and read more about here.

O’Connell wasn’t the only Washington State offensive lineman to earn top honors this week, though. Cole Madison graded out as the second-best offensive tackle in the Pac-12 (80.1) while Riley Sorenson earned the top grade at center in the conference (83.3).

On the defensive side, Hercules Mata’afa earned the second-highest defensive line grade in the conference (84.4) and Shalom Luani, who lined up at nickel once again, earned a 78.8 grade at safety, second-highest in the Pac-12 for week five.

So, what does this all mean? It’s subjective, of course, but you can read about Pro Football Focus’ grading criteria here. In short, it’s a six-step process where a bunch of analysts watch every play of every game, then come up with a grade for a given player that breaks down to: 0 to 59.9 (poor), 60 to 69.9 (below average), 70 to 79.9 (average), 80 to 84.9 (above average), 85 to 89.9 (high quality) and 90 to 99.9 (elite).