Duncan, Hall headline FCS players of the week
(STATS) - Arkansas-Pine Bluff quarterback Brandon Duncan clearly saves his best games for the toughest opponents.
His best performance in a part-time role last season came against SWAC West Division champion Grambling State.
Thursday night, Duncan surpassed it. With a national television spotlight, he tore apart Alcorn State, the reigning East Division and overall conference champion, in a surprising UAPB victory.
Duncan, Sam Houston State's P.J. Hall, Tennessee Tech's Dontez Byrd and Duquesne's A.J. Hines have been named the STATS FCS National Players of the Week for games played Sept. 15-17.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK=
Brandon Duncan, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, QB, R-So., 6-3, 210, Roosevelt, New York
Alcorn State ranked second in the FCS in passing yards allowed and completed less than 46 percent of his passes last season, but Duncan stunned the reigning SWAC champion by throwing for 505 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-43, triple-overtime upset. Despite facing great pressure, he completed 29 of 52 attempts for the FCS season high in passing yards. He threw for a two-point conversion in the final minute of the fourth quarter to force overtime. After Alcorn State went ahead 43-37 on its possession of the third overtime, Duncan tied the score with a 25-yard pass to Willie Young and won it by completing a two-point conversion to John Hawkins on a slant route.
Honorable Mention: Marcus Bagley, RB, Saint Francis; Case Cookus, QB, Northern Arizona; Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, RB, Albany; Eli Jenkins, QB, Jacksonville State; Kyle Moreno, QB, Brown; Joe Protheroe, RB, Cal Poly; Nick Shafnisky, QB, Lehigh
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK=
P.J. Hall, Sam Houston State, DE, Jr., 6-1, 280, Seguin, Texas
"Beast-mode" isn't just for running backs; the STATS FCS All-American goes into it on a weekly basis. He camped out in the Lamar backfield as Sam Houston built a big lead in the first half and beat Lamar 44-31 in the Southland Conference. He recorded nine tackles, including 4 1/2 for loss, broke up two passes and provided the pressure on Lamar quarterback Andrew Allen that resulted in an intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety. Running back Kade Harrington, the co-national offensive player of the week in Lamar's win over Sam Houston last season, was limited to 76 yards on 25 carries. Hall raised his school record for tackles for loss to 57 1/2.
Honorable Mention: Darius Jackson, DE, Jacksonville State; Zach Jackson, FS, Mercer; Christian Kuntz, LB, Duquesne; Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State; Nakevion Leslie, LB, Chattanooga; Trent Williams, LB, Colgate; Miquiyah Zamora, DE, Eastern Washington
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK=
Dontez Byrd, Tennessee Tech, RS/WR, R-Jr., 5-11, 180, Louisville, Kentucky
Byrd didn't wait to get started on a big game against Mercer. He took the opening kickoff and returned it 100 yards for the longest play in Tennessee Tech history. The first-year transfer from Louisville returned three other kickoffs and finished with 183 return yards. He added six receptions for 41 yards and had a 3-yard carry for 227 all-purpose yards in a game the Golden Eagles led after three quarters but lost 34-27. His 100-yard kickoff return was the longest of the season in the FCS and the 13th all-time in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Bowling, LB, Houston Baptist; Kevin Lazo, DL, Bryant; Zach Mays, PK, Cornell; Cam Pedersen, PK, North Dakota State; DeAndre Schoultz, PR, The Citadel; Sean Smith, P, Dayton
FRESHMAN PLAYER OF THE WEEK=
A.J. Hines, Duquesne, RB, Fr., 5-11, 220, Wilson, North Carolina
The defending Northeast Conference champion Dukes had a hole to fill at running back and they've filled it with a true freshman. Hines was a workhorse in their 34-20 win over Dayton, which avenged a loss from last season. He carried the ball 29 times for 189 yards - the most by a Dukes freshman in seven years - and two touchdowns. Adept at picking up yards in bunches, he scored on a 10-yard run in the second quarter and a 37-yard run in the fourth quarter, giving him five touchdowns on the young season. He's been named NEC rookie of the week in two of the season's first three weeks.
Honorable Mention: Albert Funderburke, RB, William & Mary; Earl Harrison, RB, Tennessee State; Sully Laiche, LB, Nicholls; Jimmy Seewall, QB, Valparaiso