Courtesy of Conference USA
IRVING, Texas â€“ After leading UAB to the biggest comeback in school history, Blazers junior QB Bryan Ellis has been named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week. UCF junior DE Darius Nall earned Defensive Player of the Week recognition after a dominating performance in the Knightsâ€™ 24-10 road win at Buffalo. Special Teams honors were split between Memphis freshman P Tom Hornsey and Southern Miss freshman DB Deron Wilson.
Ellis came off the bench in the second quarter and threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns to lead UAB to a 34-33 come-from-behind win over Troy Saturday at Legion Field. Ellis engineered a 99-yard drive in the final 1:09 of the game, capping off the drive with a 44-yard 'Hail Mary' touchdown pass to Jackie Williams. The score tied the game at 33-all before Josh Zahn converted the game-winning extra point. Ellis' performance helped the Blazers overcome a 23-0 lead Troy had built through the midway point of the second period, and a 33-20 deficit in the final quarter. The comeback was the largest in UAB history. Ellis connected on 23-of-37 passes in the game.
Nall led UCF with nine tackles, including three TFLs and two sacks, plus a pass-break up and a quarterback hurry in UCFâ€™s 24-10 win at Buffalo. He became just the sixth defensive lineman to lead UCF in tackles for a game under George Oâ€™Leary. The pass that Nall hurried was intercepted by Bruce Miller and returned 30 yards for a touchdown. Saturday was his second career two-sack game, the other coming last fall against Tulane. Nall was a Freshman All-C-USA pick in 2007 before missing the entire 2008 season while recovering from cancer surgery.
Hornsey helped keep Middle Tennesseeâ€™s offense deep in its own territory in a 24-17 Memphis victory in the Tigersâ€™ home opener. Hornsey kicked a career-high 10 punts in the game, averaging 41.7 yards per punt. The Australian native kicked a career-long 63-yard punt from the Memphis six-yard line late in the fourth quarter that helped keep MTSU in its own territory and go three-and-out in a critical defensive opportunity for the Tigers, who were holding on to a seven-point lead. Hornsey totaled 417 yards punting, which ranks eighth in school history and he posted two punts over 50 yards in the game, landing two inside the 20.
Wilson recovered a block punt and went seven yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter of the Golden Eaglesâ€™ 31-16 win over Kansas on Friday night. It was the second-straight week that he was involved with a blocked punt, tallying one last week against Prairie View. He added two solo tackles and a pass breakup in the victory.