Courtesy of the Big South Conference
CHARLOTTE, N.C. â€“ Liberty quarterback Mike Brown (Charlottesville, Va.) has been named the Choice Hotels Big South Football Offensive Player of the Week, while Gardner-Webb linebacker Jeffery Williams (Frisco City, Ala.) has been selected as the Defensive Player of the Week for games played during the opening weekend of the 2010 season, it was announced today by the Conference office. In addition, VMI kick returner Michael Rainey-Wiles (Pittsburgh, Pa.) is the Special Teams Player of the Week, while Gardner-Webb running back Juanne Blount (Wingate, N.C.) is The Crons Brand Freshman of the Week.
Brown was 17-of-22 passing for 338 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Flames back from an early 7-0 deficit against St. Francis (Pa.). In his second career start at quarterback, Brown threw three touchdown passes in the final 5:08 of the second quarter to give Liberty the lead for good. He started with a 75-yard touchdown strike on third down to Pat Kelly. On the next possession and facing a second-and-20, Brown hit B.J. Hayes for 49 yards and a score. Brown closed out the first half with a 40-yard touchdown to Chris Summers on a third-and-10 play. Brown connected with Summers again in the third quarter on a 20-yard scoring play. Three of Brownâ€™s four touchdown passes came on drives of 70-yards or longer. Brown also rushed for 14 yards and caught a pass for four yards.
Williams posted an 18-tackle game against Brevard and played the balance of a grueling 37:18 that the GWU defense was on the field against the Tornadosâ€™ triple-option attack. Williams helped hold Brevard to just 3.5 yards per play and had nine solo stops â€“ including a pair behind the line and a half sack. He also intercepted a pass with 5:45 left in the second quarter that ended a 12-play drive in Gardner-Webb territory. Williams is now the eighth player in Big South history to surpass 300 career tackles (304).
Rainey-Wiles returned four punts for 112 yards, including a 52-yarder for a touchdown in the third quarter. It was his first career punt return TD and VMIâ€™s first punt return for a score since Tim Maypray on Oct. 3, 2009. Rainey-Wiles also had punt returns of 29 and 20 yards that gave the Keydets great field possession, and he also returned the opening kickoff 31 yards that eventually led to VMIâ€™s first points of the game.
Blount was thrown into heavy action earlier than expected Saturday due to injuries and responded with 134 rushing yards and one touchdown in Gardner-Webbâ€™s 28-14 victory. Blount gained 58 yards on his first carry to set up the squadâ€™s second score of the game, and he later scored in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard run. He averaged 7.4 yards on his 18 carries and recorded the top freshman rushing debut in Gardner-Webbâ€™s Division I era.