Marshall and Northern Illinois Student-Athletes Named MAC Football Players of the Week

Updated 10/30/2000
Cleveland, Ohio- Marshalls Byron Leftwich, a quarterback, and Curtis Jones, a kick return specialist, along with Northern Illinois cornerback Vince Thompson, were honored as this weeks Mid-American Conference Players of the Week for the ninth week of the season.

MAC Offensive Player of the Week
Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich (So., Washington, D.C.)

Leftwich passed for a career-best and MAC season-high 393 yards in leading Marshall to a 31-28 win at Akron. Leftwich engineered drives of 97 and 87 yards, the last culminating in the game-winning touchdown in an 11-yard pass to John Cooper with 26 seconds left. In the game-winning drive, Leftwich completed 7-of-10 passes for 75 yards. He also led the team in rushing with 26 yards despite being sacked six times. Leftwich has not thrown an interception in his last 97 attempts. For the game he completed 26-of-49 passes for 393 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Also nominated:
Ball State RB Marcus Merriweather (career-high and MAC season-high 257 rushing yards, 3 TDs versus Central Michigan); Buffalo RB Albert Grundy (career-high 173 rushing yards, 18 att. versus Northern Illinois); Northern Illinois WR Justin McCareins (277 all-purpose yds., 10 rec., 151 rec. yds., vs. Buffalo); Toledo QB Tavares Bolden (2 passing TDs, 1 rush TD, 17-of-28 passing, 135 yds. at Navy); WMU RB Robert Sanford (183 rushing yds., 27 att. 2 TDs at Kent State).

MAC Defensive Player of the Week
Northern Illinois cornerback Vince Thompson (So., Chicago, Ill.)

Thompson became the fourth MAC player this year, and second from NIU, to intercept three passes in a single game. Thompsons thefts came in the Huskies 73-10 win over Buffalo and all led to NIU touchdowns. Thompson also was credited with three solo tackles and a pass deflection.

Also nominated:
Akron DE Dwayne Lefall (4 tackles, 3 tfl, 1 sack versus Marshall); Ball State DE Evan Triggs (9 tackles, 7 solos, 2 tfl, 1 sack versus Central Michigan); Marshall DB Doug Hodges (7 tackles, 1 int. versus Akron); Toledo LB Kevin Rollins (season-high 14 tackles, 2 tfl, 1 sack versus Navy); Western Michigan DE Anthony Allsbury (4 tackles, 2 tfl versus Kent State).

MAC Special Teams Player of the Week
Marshall kick return specialist Curtis Jones (So., Okeechobee, Fla.)

Jones sparked Marshalls comeback win at Akron with an 83-yard kickoff return late in the third quarter that set up Marshalls game-tying touchdown. Jones returned four kickoffs for 130 yards (32.5 avg.) and also had two receptions for 27 yards as a wide receiver.

Also nominated:
NIU PK Steve Azar (13 pts., school-record 10-of-10 PATs versus Buffalo); Toledo PK Todd France (37 and 43-yd. field goals into the wind versus Navy); Western Michigan PR Josh Bush (4 punt returns, 96 yds., 19 avg., 4 rec., 47 yds., 1 TD).