Person, Ekwonu Named ACC Players of the Week
Running back Ricky Person Jr. and offensive guard Ickey Ekwonu, two of the main forces behind NC State's impressive 270-yard rushing performance in Saturday's win against Wake Forest, were honored by the ACC on Monday.
Person was named the league's Running Back of the Week while Ekwonu was selected as co-Offensive Lineman of the Week.
A junior from Wake Forest, Person set the tone early by breaking off a 33-yard run on the second play of the game. Running on fresh, healthy legs for the first time since his freshman year, he built on the fast start to finish with 99 rushing yards on 14 carries, averaging 7.1 yards per attempt and scoring two touchdowns.
He also threw a touchdown pass on a perfectly executed jump pass off a direct snap. He also caught two passes and returned a kickoff for 24 yards to finish the game with 133 all-purpose yards.
"He played really well. He was physical. He was vocal. He had great energy. He executed within the scheme," State coach Dave Doeren said of Person during his weekly media conference Monday.
"He was playing his first two years here with very limited practice time. Every week there was something he was dealing with. Those were things out of his control. I’m happy for him that he is having the success that he is. He’s definitely worked hard to deserve it."
Ekwonu played just as big a role in the Wolfpack's success on the ground against the Deacons.
Playing guard for the first time in his college career, the 6-foot-4, 325-pound sophomore was a virtual wrecking ball while opening up holes for Person and fellow backs Zonovan Knight and Jordan Houston. His key block sprung Knight for a 30-yard touchdown, the first of three the Wolfpack scored on their first three possessions of the season.
It's a tradition at State for offensive linemen to be awarded a bottle of syrup for every pancake block they record in a game. According to Doeren, Ekwonu earned five of them for his work in the Wake game.
"He brings a lot of fire to that group," Doeren said of Ekwonu. "He’s very physical. It starts and doesn’t finish the whole game. He’s trying to knock people on the ground and that’s what he does. He brings a lot of juice to that room."
Besides Person and Ekwonu, the other members of this week's ACC honor roll are Miami's D'Eriq King (Quarterback), Boston College's Zay Flowers (Receiver), Notre Dame's Robert Hainsey (co-Offensive Lineman), Duke's Victor Dimukeje (co-Defensive Lineman), Pittsburgh's Rashad Weaver (co-Defensive Lineman), Pitt's Cam Bright (Linebacker), Miami's Bubba Bolden (Defensive Back), Miami's Jose Borregales (Special Teams) and Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs (Rookie).
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