Sports

Pioneer League gains pair of FCS national awards winners

(STATS) – The smaller FCS conferences strike back in a big way.

The action in the Pioneer Football League was so good this past weekend that the non-scholarship league garnered both the national offensive and defensive player of the week awards. But not to be outdone were the MEAC and SWAC, the two FCS conferences for historically black colleges and universities, also with one recipient each.

On Monday, Campbell’s Daniel Smith, Jacksonville’s Trevor Tufano, Alcorn State’s Corey McCullough and Howard’s Caylin Newton were honored as the STATS FCS National Players of the Week for Week 10 games ending Nov. 4.

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NATIONAL OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK=

Daniel Smith, Campbell, QB, R-Fr., 6-0, 200, Leesburg, Virginia

The FCS lead in rushing yards belongs to Smith after he set the Campbell single-game record with 289 yards plus four touchdowns on 23 carries in the Camels’ 42-29 PFL triumph over Davidson. Smith, whose 1,189 rushing yards with one game to go also are a program record, scored on runs of 3, 20, 80 and 18 yards. He also passed for a touchdown, going 7 of 18 for 156 yards with one interception.

Honorable Mention: Larry Brihm Jr., QB, Bethune-Cookman; Chandler Burks, QB, Kennesaw State; Ricky Davis, QB, Youngstown State; A.J. Hines, RB, Duquesne; Tom Kennedy, WR, Bryant; Trevor Knight, QB, New Hampshire; Jake Maier, QB, UC Davis; Detrez Newsome, RB, Western Carolina

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NATIONAL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK=

Trevor Tufano, Jacksonville, LB, So., 5-11, 200, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Tufano defended Jacksonville territory with authority as the Dolphins held off Valparaiso 20-17 in the Pioneer Football League to clinch a winning season. He sealed the victory on Valpo’s final drive with an interception in the JU end zone. His timely plays after Valpo crossed midfield also included a forced fumble that JU recovered and turned into a touchdown, and a third-down sack and forced fumble that kept the Crusaders to a field goal. Tufano totaled a career-high 10 tackles, including eight solos.

Honorable Mention: Stefen Banks, LB, Savannah State; Najae Brown, S, Central Connecticut State; Bradley Dewberry, S, Eastern Illinois; Anthony Ellis, DE, Charleston Southern; Dominique Hill, S, McNeese; Joshua Hill, DB, Alabama State; Nick McBeath, LB, Holy Cross; Richie Ryan, DT, Harvard; Shaheed Salmon, LB, Samford; Connor Strahm, LB, Montana; J.T. Wahee, LB, Norfolk State; Devin Watson, CB, Wofford

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NATIONAL SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK=

Corey McCullough, Alcorn State, PK/P, So., 5-11, 175, Louisville, Mississippi

McCullough got a kick – in fact, lots of them – out of a 47-22 win over Alabama A&M that allowed Alcorn State to retain sole possession of first place in the SWAC East Division. With four field goals (24, 37, 38 and 39 yards), he raised his 2017 total to 14, a Braves’ single-season record. Five of his six punts traveled at least 50 yards, with a long of 56 yards and two landing inside the A&M 20-yard line. He averaged 51.5 yards.

Honorable Mention: JaMichael Baldwin, KR, Savannah State; Matt Blair, PK/P, UC Davis; Cam Jackson, RB/ST, The Citadel; Owen Johnson, PK, Elon; Nickolas Null, P/PK, Cornell; Eric Piccione, PK, Northwestern State; Matt Severino, PK, Eastern Illinois; Allan Waltz, PK, Dayton

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NATIONAL FRESHMAN PLAYER OF THE WEEK=

Caylin Newton, Howard, QB, Fr., 5-11, 195, Atlanta

Cam Newton’s younger brother becomes the first two-time weekly award winner this season, accounting for 435 yards and four touchdowns in Howard’s 37-26 road win over Florida A&M in the MEAC. He carried the ball 17 times for 141 yards and one touchdown and completed 15 of 28 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns. Included was a 40-yard Hail Mary to Jequez Ezzard for a TD to end the first half. The two connected again for a score to cap the first drive of the second half, which gave the Bison the lead for good.

Honorable Mention: Luke Anthony, QB, Abilene Christian; Zane Dudek, RB, Yale; Wesley Dugger, RB, Davidson; Pete Guerriero, RB, Monmouth; Dresser Winn, QB, UT Martin

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