Western Michigan, Marshall, and Miami Players Recognized as MAC Pepsi Football Players of the Week

Updated 9/29/1999
CLEVELAND (Sept. 9) -- Western Michigan quarterback Tim Lester, Marshall linebacker John Grace, and Miami defensive end Julian Goodman were honored as Mid-American Conference Pepsi Players of the Week for the first week of the 1999 season.

MAC Pepsi Offensive Player of the Week - Tim Lester, Western Michigan
In winning the MAC Pepsi Offensive Player of the Week honors, Lester, a senior from Wheaton, Ill., ripped the secondary of the #4 ranked Florida Gators for 405 yards and two touchdowns while suffering no interceptions. Lester completed 63.2 percent of his passes (24-of-38) in racking up the sixth most passing yards ever against the Gators. Lester threw touchdown strikes of 66 and 17 yards to Steve Neal. Dating back to last season's final game against Bowling Green (435 passing yards), Lester has put together back-to-back games of 400-plus passing yards. He increased his career total to 8,065 yards and stands 2,215 yards away from becoming the MAC's all-time leader. Lester kept his team in the game at 31-26 in the third quarter before the Gators scored 24 straight points.

Also nominated for the award were Akron quarterback James Butchie Washington (Jr., Columbus, Ohio), who completed 12-of-24 passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns versus Penn State; Bowling Green quarterback Ricky Schneider, (Jr., Amherst, Ohio) with 17-of-33 for 174 yards and a touchdown at Pittsburgh; Central Michigan tailback Eric Flowers (Sr., Trenton, N.J.) with 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a 33-17 win against Eastern Illinois; Marshall quarterback Chad Pennington, (Sr., Knoxville, Tenn.) who led the Thundering Herd to a 13-10 triumph at Clemson by completing 29-of-44 passes for 333 yards. In addition, Pennington completed 7-of-7 passes and ran 12 yards for a first down on a third and 10 during the Herd's game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter; Miami tailback Travis Prentice, (Sr., Louisville, Ky.) who gained 151 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-3 win at Northwestern. Prentice moved to within 15 touchdowns of the all-time NCAA rushing record and within 281 rushing yards of the all-time MAC record; Northern Illinois tailback William Andrews (Jr., Robins, Ill.) with a career-high 126 rushing yards one one tocuhdown versus Western Illinois; Toledo running back Lyle Green, (Jr., Kitchener, Ontario) who caught a career high four receptions for 34 yards against Syracuse.

MAC Pepsi Defensive Player of the Week - John Grace, Marshall
Grace, a senior-linebacker from Okeechobee, Fla., won MAC Pepsi Defensive Player of the Week. He had a team-high 11 tackles (9 solos) and three tackles for a loss, including two sacks as the Herd went into Death Valley before 85,000-plus fans and beat the Clemson Tigers 13-10. It was Marshall's first win ever on the road versus an ACC opponent and first win versus an ACC opponent since beating Wake Forest in 1941.

Other nominees for the defensive award were Central Michigan tackle Joe Adam (Sr., Howell, Mich.) with six tackles, three for a loss and two sacks against Eastern Illinois; Miami linebacker Dustin Cohen (Sr., Cincinnati, Ohio) with 12 tackles, four for a loss, including two sacks in a 28-3 win at Northwestern; Toledo linebacker Jason Lamar (Sr., Ypsilanti, Mich.) with 14 tackles against Syracuse; and Western Michigan defensive back Eric Nunlee (Sr., Romulus, Mich.) with two interceptions, two pass breakups and four tackles at #4 ranked Florida. Nunlee returned one of the interceptions 60 yards for a touchdown.

MAC Pepsi Special Teams Player of the Week - Julian Goodman, Miami
Goodman, a sophomore from Wheatley Heights, N.Y., won the first ever MAC Pepsi Special Teams Player of the Week award for blocking Northwestern's first punt attempt of the afternoon. The play set up Miami's initial touchdown just three minutes into the game, giving the RedHawks momentum and a 7-0 lead. The RedHawks went on to a 28-3 win over its Big Ten opponent. Nominations were also received on behalf of Akron's Jimmie Gray, (Jr., Cleveland Heights, Ohio) who returned four kickoffs for 99 yards, including a long return of 51 yards, versus Penn State; Bowling Green's Pat Fleming (Fr., Ottawa, Ontario) with three punts for an average of 52.0 and a long of 62 yards in his first collegiate game; Marshall punter Curtis Head, (Fr., Shelbyville, Ky.) a freshman making his debut with six punts for a 40.2 average and a long boot of 55 yards. Three of Head's kicks dropped inside the 20 and one of those inside the 10-yard line at Clemson; Western Michigan's Rashad McDade (So., Cary, Ill.) with 129 yards on five kickoff returns at Florida. McDade averaged 21.5 yards per return with a best of 43 yards.