MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE ANNOUNCES WEEK FOURTEEN
FOOTBALL OFFENSIVE, DEFENSIVE AND SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player of the Week: Bowling Green WR Shaun Joplin
Senior wide receiver Shaun Joplin (Sylvania, Ohio) caught six passes for a career-high 149 yards and a touchdown as the Falcons clinched a spot in the MAC Championship game for the first time since 2003 with a 24-7 win over Buffalo. Joplin, who had just one catch for 10 yards in the first half, exploded with five catches for 139 yards in the second half. On the first drive of the second half, Joplin would catch a pass for 31 yards down to the Buffalo 19-yard line. On the next drive, quarterback Matt Johnson found Joplin in the corner of the end zone. Joplin was able to get his feet down in-bounds to secure the 23-yard touchdown reception, giving the Falcons the lead for good. In the fourth quarter, with the Falcons leading just 17-7, Johnson found Joplin on consecutive plays to set the Falcons up for a score. The second catch, which Joplin out-jumped a receiver and then juked a defender, would go for 62 yards down to the Buffalo seven-yard line. On the next play, the Falcons would score to ice the game.
Defensive Player of the Week: Akron LB Jatavis Brown
Sophomore linebacker Jatavis Brown (Belle Glade, Fla.) tallied 15 tackles, including five solo stops, to help the Zips to a 31-29 win over Toledo on Friday and their third-straight victory to end the season. That number was one off tying his career high that was set against Kent State on Nov. 2 and gave him 107 tackles for the season to make him the first Akron sophomore to post 100-plus stops since Brian Wagner in 2010 (130).
Special Teams Player of the Week: Ohio K Josiah Yazdani
Sophomore kicker Josiah Yazdani (Alexander, Ohio) was a perfect 3-for-3 as he connected from 30, 24 and 25 yards out to help the Bobcats to 51-23 win over Massachusetts. Yazdani also connected on all five extra points. In addition, Yazdani had 10 kickoffs for 607 yards (60.7 average). In 2013, Yazdani has not missed an extra point or a field goal.
Offensive Player of the Week: Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch
Senior quarterback Jordan Lynch (Chicago, Ill.) broke his own NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback by running the ball 27 times for 321 yards with three rushing touchdowns in the Huskies 33-14 win over Western Michigan that capped a perfect 12-0 regular season. Lynch scored on touchdown runs of 29, 36 and 37 yards as he averaged 11.9 yards per carry. On a cold, snowy and windy night, Lynch also hit Juwan Brescacin on a 10-yard touchdown pass as he totaled 360 yards of total offense on the night. He singlehandedly outgained Western Michigan, 360-256.
Defensive Player of the Week: Ball State DE Jonathan Newsome
Senior defensive end Jonathan Newsome (Cleveland, Ohio) tallied eight tackles, three tackles for loss, one forced fumble and two sacks in Ball State’s 55-14 win over Miami in the regular season finale. The Cardinals recorded its 10th win of the year to mark only the third team in Ball State’s 89 years of football to tally at least 10 victories in a single year. The three tackles were a career high for Newsome, while the two sacks tied his career best.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Central Michigan KR Courtney Williams
Junior kickoff returner Courtney Williams (Melvindale, Mich.) quashed any chances of an Eastern Michigan comeback by taking the opening kickoff of the second half back for a touchdown in the 42-10 Central Michigan victory. After the Eagles closed to within 21-10 just before halftime, Williams secured the high kick at the 16-yard line and weaved his way through the Eastern Michigan coverage for the 84-yard score, providing the Chippewas with an18-point lead. The kickoff return for a touchdown was the first of Williams’ career and the first by a Central Michigan player since Antonio Brown took one back 95 yards in the Chippewas GMAC Bowl victory over Troy in 2010. Central Michigan leads the MAC in kickoff returns, averaging 22.2 yards per run back.