Courtesy of the Ohio Valley Conference
Chris Wright, WR • So., 6-1, 180 • Skokie, Ill. • Eastern Illinois
Wright proved to be the difference as Eastern Illinois overcame a 28-7 halftime deficit to win 31-28 in overtime at Tennessee State. The sophomore hauled in three second half touchdown receptions and finished the game with five catches for 217 yards. Wright caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and added touchdowns of 65 and 81 yards in the fourth quarter, the last coming with 6:46 to play as EIU tied the game at 28. The 217 yards was the third-highest single-game total in Panther history and he became just the fourth player in EIU history with 200 or more receiving yards in a game. It was the fourth-highest receiving yard output of the season by a player in the FCS. Over the past two weeks Wright has caught seven passes from freshman quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for 308 yards and five touchdowns.
Orlandus Harris, WR • So., 6-0, 185 • Chattanooga, Tenn. • Eastern Kentucky
Harris caught four passes for 205 yards and two touchdowns as Eastern Kentucky topped No. 2 Jacksonville State 49-37 on Saturday night. Harris caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from T.J. Pryor in the second quarter to put his team on top for good (14-10), and added a 76-yarder three minutes later to give EKU a 21-10 advantage. Both touchdowns came on third and long plays. Harris became the first Eastern Kentucky wide receiver to have 200 or more receiving yards in seven seasons as the Colonels beat its first Top 5 opponent since the 1990 season (No. 1 Middle Tennessee). Harris ranks 23rd nationally in receiving yards/game (78.0).
Others Nominated: Marques Ivory, Jacksonville State; Mike Harris, Murray State; Henry Harris, Southeast Missouri; Dominic Grooms, Tennessee State; Derek Carr, UT Martin.
Tyson Patrick, LB • Jr., 6-1, 228 • Dayton, Ohio • Eastern Kentucky
Patrick had career-highs in both tackles (9, including 7 solo) and sacks (2.5) as Eastern Kentucky topped No. 2 Jacksonville State 49-37 on Saturday night, ending the longest winning streak in the FCS (12 games). Patrick also forced a key fumble in the third quarter that was returned 34 yards by teammate Robert Knowles to put EKU ahead by 18 points (35-17). The junior was part of a defensive unit that held the Gamecocks to a season-low 31 yards rushing on 28 attempts (1.1 yards/rush). The win was the first for the program over a top five opponent since the 1990 season (when EKU beat No. 1 Middle Tennessee).
Others Nominated: Artavious Dowdell, Eastern Illinois; Antonio Bonner, Jacksonville State; Dontrell Johnson, Murray State; Eugene Clifford, Tennessee State; Marty Jones, Tennessee Tech; Josh Bey, UT Martin.
Jeremy Caldwell, KR/DB • Jr., 5-10, 183 • Chattanooga, Tenn. • Eastern Kentucky
After No. 2 Jacksonville State had scored to cut the third quarter deficit to just 11 points (35-24), Caldwell took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 86 yards for a touchdown to put the Colonels on top 42-24. Eastern Kentucky would go on to win 49-37, upsetting the No. 2-ranked Gamecocks, the first win for the program over a Top 5 ranked team since 1990 (No. 1 Middle Tennessee). It was the second kickoff return for a touchdown of the season for Caldwell, who ranks first nationally in kickoff returns (33.54 yards/return). As a defensive back the junior added four tackles and picked off a pass (the second of the season for the Buck Buchanan Award candidate) with three minutes going that sealed the victory.
Others Nominated: Terrence Holt, Austin Peay; Cameron Berra, Eastern Illinois; Coty Blanchard, Jacksonville State; Kienan Cullen, Murray State.
Mike Harris, RB • Jr., 5-11, 200 • Broken Arrow, Okla. • Murray State
Harris earned his third OVC Newcomer of the Week honor of the season after rushing for a career-high 242 yards and a touchdown in Murray State’s 44-13 victory over Tennessee Tech. The junior transfer had 198 yards in the first half, including a 94-yard rush right before halftime that led to a Racer field goal (and 22-7 halftime advantage). Overall he averaged 10.5 yards/carry on his 23 attempts. His first quarter touchdown run that started the scoring marked the sixth-straight game in which he had rushed a touchdown. It was the second 200-yard rushing game of the season for Harris, making him only the second Murray State player to ever accomplish that feat. The 242 yards marked the seventh-best rushing game for a FCS player this season. Harris currently ranks 10th nationally in rushing (125.71 yards/game) and sixth nationally in scoring (9.43 points/game).
Others Nominated: Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois; Coty Blanchard, Jacksonville State; Jeremy Pryor, Tennessee State; Corey Jordan, UT Martin.