Story courtesy of Conference USA
Photo courtesy of East Carolina Athletics
After accounting for six touchdowns in the highest scoring game in league history, East Carolina sophomore QB Shane Carden has been named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season. The Defensive Player of the Week went to SMU senior LB Ja'Gared Davis, who had an interception, a blocked punt and a fumble recovery in the Mustangs' win over West Division champion Tulsa. Special teams recognition was given to Rice junior KR Jeremy Eddington, who became the first Owl in 28 years to return a kickoff for a touchdown and helped the Owls clinch a bowl berth. C-USA Football Players of the Week are voted on by a panel of the league's media.
Carden accounted for six of East Carolina's nine touchdowns and established a school single-game record 439 passing yards to lift the Pirates to a 65-59 double-overtime Conference USA victory over Marshall. He completed 38-of-47 passes for a completion percentage of 80.6, the third-highest single-game clip in ECU history and tossed three TD passes, including a six-yarder to Danny Webster with 0:04 remaining to force overtime and a 25-yarder to Andrew Bodenheimer in the first overtime period. Trailing 52-45 with only 1:51 remaining in the fourth quarter, Carden engineered a game-tying drive that moved the Pirates 76 yards in 11 plays with only one time out (completed 8-of-10 passes for 65 yards and converted a 4th-and-10 play from the ECU 24-yard line during the possession). He rushed for a career-high three touchdowns, including the game-winner from one yard out in the second overtime period, to push his team-best total to eight this season. Carden helped extend East Carolina's consecutive red zone scoring streak to 31 straight visits with a 7-of-7 performance (18-of-18 in last three games). He sparked the Pirates to a 35-28 halftime lead, with a 19-of-22, 261-yard, one TD passing performance (is 93-of-127 for 73.2percent, 1,189 yards and nine TDs in his first-half play over the last six games).
Playing in his school-record-tying 52nd career game, Davis did a little bit of everything in leading SMU to a 35-27 victory over Tulsa that made the school bowl eligible for a school-record fourth consecutive season. The linebacker blocked a punt to set up the game's first score and then forced and recovered a fumble to set up the second touchdown. Davis followed that by intercepting a pass to set up SMU's third TD drive. He finished the game with seven tackles and two-and-a-half tackles for loss.
Eddington gouged the nation's top kickoff return defense for 210 yards on four returns and broke the nation's longest drought without a kickoff return for a touchdown by taking a fourth quarter kickoff against UTEP 97 yards for a score to clinch bowl eligibility for the Owls. His touchdown return was the first for the Owls since Antonio Brinkley returned one for 90 yards vs. Baylor at Rice Stadium November 17, 1984. Eddington averaged 52 yards per return against a team that came into the game holding opponents to 13.7 yards. His 210 yards are the second-best total in school history and he added 59 yards on the ground and caught one pass for a total of 279 all-purpose yards which was just 16 yards shy of Trevor Cobb's school mark of 295 set vs. Iowa State in 1991.