Demerist Whitfield Highlights
Cleveland, Ohio- Tailback Chad Brinker of Ohio, Northern Illinois cornerback Demerist
Whitfield and Miami punt return specialist Eddie Tillitz captured this week's Mid-American
Conference Players of the Week Awards.
MAC Offensive Players of the Week
Ohio tailback Chad Brinker (So., Martins Ferry, Ohio)
Brinker had a career day, accounting for three touchdowns, to pace Ohio to a 23-17 win at
Minnesota. It was the team's first win over a Big Ten opponent since 1973. He scored touchdowns
in three ways: a 50-yard reception, a 35-yard pass and a six-yard run, all three of Ohio's TDs on
the day. The TD catch was the first of his career and his 35-yard TD pass to Joe Mohler was his first
career completion (in two attempts). He posted the second 100-yard rushing game of his career with
119 yards on 24 carries. Brinker left game at least twice with injuries or shaken up. He had X-rays
on his hand at halftime, but was able to return on Ohio's first offensive series.
Also nominated: Central Michigan TB Robbie Mixon (164 rushing yards, 42 att., 1 TD and 3 rec.,
101 yards, 1 TD vs. Akron); Kent State TB Chante Murphy (101 yards, 20 att. vs. Purdue); Marshall
QB Byron Leftwich (27-44, 227 yards, 3 TD, 3 int. vs. Michigan State), Miami RB Steve Little (77
yards, 13 carries, 29-yard TD run vs. Eastern Michigan); NIU TB Thomas Hammock (career-high
140 yards, 29 att, 2 TDs vs. Illinois State); Toledo QB Tavares Bolden (14-20, 169 yards, 2 TDs, 0
int. vs. Weber State); Western Michigan WR Steve Neal (8 rec., 114 yards, 1 TD vs. Iowa).
MAC Defensive Player of the Week
Northern Illinois cornerback Demerist Whitfield (So., Cocoa, Fla.)
Whitfield highlighted NIU's 52-0 win over Illinois State with several spectacular plays. He picked
off three passes and blocked punt in 14:13 span of the first half, scored one TD (30-yard
interception on ISU's first offensive play of game) and set up two more (33-yard return to ISU one
yard line and blocked punt recovered by teammate Wyatt Thomas on ISU 18). He Added six tackles
(five solo) for the entire game (48 snaps), recorded a career-high four pass deflections, and one
fumble-cause hit versus Illinois State. Whitfield made most Northern Illinois single-game
interceptions dating back to 1974 and tied a Huskie Stadium single-game facility record.
Also nominated: Kent State LB James Harrison (2 fumble recoveries vs. Purdue, 8 tackles); Marshall
DB Doug Hodges (2 int., 5 solo tackles vs. Michigan State); Ohio DE Art Adams (6 tackles, 1 fumble
recovery vs. Minnesota); Toledo DE Frank Ofili (4 tackles for a loss vs. Weber State); Western
Michigan DE Jared Pike (7 tackles, 2 sacks vs, Iowa).
MAC Special Teams Player of the Week
Miami punt return specialist Eddie Tillitz (So., Martinsville, Ind.)
Tillitz returned five punts for a MAC-record 162 yards and helped Miami to a 34-17 victory
over Eastern Michigan in its league opener. Two of Tillitz's five punts were returned for
TDs, which tied an NCAA single-game mark held by several players. Tillitz scored on returns of 53
and 82 yards, the latter being the third-longest in Miami history. His record day also helped Miami
snap a dubious streak: the RedHawks had gone 283 games without a punt return for touchdown the
longest streak in Division I-A football. The streak dated to Oct. 19, 1974.
Also nominated: Akron P Andy Jerdon (4 punts inside 20; 40.3 avg. on 7 punts); Marshall's Chris
Crocker (2 blocked punts vs. Michigan State); Western Michigan PK Brad Selent (9 points vs. Iowa, 2
FG, 3 PAT).