Story courtesy of the Sun Belt Conference
Photo courtesy of Western Kentucky Athletics
Offensive Player of the Week
Benny Cunningham (Middle Tennessee, Sr., RB)
Benny Cunningham has made his presence felt since returning from his injury this season and his performance on Saturday lifted Middle Tennessee to a 49-28 victory over ACC foe Georgia Tech. The Nashville native set several career-highs including rushing for 217 yards, scoring five touchdowns, carrying the pigskin 27 times and running a career-long 60 yards. The touchdown was the longest since D.D. Kyles sprinted 74 yards against Louisiana in 2010. Cunningham also added a 23-yard touchdown in the third quarter. His five rushing touchdowns in a game are tied for second in school history with former Raider Phillip Tanner. Cunningham now has 18 rushing touchdowns for his career and 19 overall.
Defensive Player of the Week
Quanterus Smith (WKU, Sr., DL)
WKU senior defensive end Quanterus Smith recorded a career-high 3.5 sacks and a career-best 5.5 tackles for loss to help the Hilltoppers come back for a 26-13 victory at Arkansas State on Saturday. Smith finished with seven total tackles in the game – six of which came behind the line. He had a three-sack game earlier in the year at Alabama. Smith was able to pressure ASU quarterback Ryan Aplin on a number of occasions, helping WKU limit the Red Wolves to 123 yards after halftime and just 71 total yards until late in the fourth quarter. Smith already has 9.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks in four games played in 2012.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Brett Baer (Louisiana-Lafayette, Sr., P/K)
Kicker Brett Baer continued his exemplary senior campaign, making field goals from 46 and 23 yards and converting all six extra points in the Cajun's 48-20 win over preseason Sun Belt favorite FIU. Baer also punted five times for 208 yards (41.6 avg.) with none of the five punts being returned. Finally, he kicked off 6 times for a 55.8 average with those kicks being returned for 105 yards (17.5 avg). Baer continues to lead the nation in field goals made this year, converting 10 of his 11 attempts, and he is 10th nationally averaging 11.75 points a game.