College Sports Journal Release
PHILADELPHIA, PA. — Running back Zac Bauman of Northern Arizona, quarterback Taylor Heinicke of Old Dominion, wide receiver Erik Lora of Eastern Illinois, linebacker Quinn Backus of Coastal Carolina, linebacker Billy Boyko of Lehigh, defensive back Cejay Ceniza of Eastern Kentucky, linebacker Brandon Greer of Appalachian State, and Riley Lyons of Dartmouth have been selected as the College Sports Journal/GameWornUniforms.com national players of the week for the fourth week of NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision play.
Zach Bauman, Northern Arizona, Junior, Running Back, 5-10, 200, Chandler, Arizona
Bauman rambled for a career-high 253 yards and scored three touchdowns on 29 carries to help Northern Arizona to a 41-31 upset of No. 18-ranked Montana at storied Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Saturday in Big Sky Conference play.
Bauman got things started when he raced 75 yards on the first play from scrimmage for a touchdown.
He added a 20-yard TD jaunt with 11:54 remaining in the fourth period to give the Lumberjacks a 34-24 lead.
With 5:53 left, Bauman iced NAU's first win over Montana since 1997 — when a Payton Award winner named Archie Amerson was running for the Lumberjacks — with a two-yard touchdown burst.
Bauman, already considered an NFL prospect as an underclassmen, also hauled in three passes for 21 yards to finish the day with 274 all-purpose yards as Northern Arizona rallied from a 24-7, second-quarter deficit.
With the performance, Bauman earned Big Sky Conference offensive player of the week recognition.
Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion, Sophomore, Quarterback, 6-1, 195, Atlanta, Georgia
Heinicke not only led Old Dominion from a 47-24 deficit in the third quarter to a wild, 64-61 win, he also broke several NCAA records in the process as the host Monarchs defeated New Hampshire in an important Colonial Athletic Association game.
Heinicke completed 55-of-79 passes for 730 yards and five touchdowns and added 65 yards rushing with another score on the ground to earn CAA offensive player of the week honors.
The 730 yards was a NCAA Division I record for passing and was within five yards of the NCAA all-division mark of 736 set by Sam Durley of Eureka College in a Division III game against Knox on Sept. 1 of this year.
Heinicke snapped the D-I record set by Houston's David Klingler, who piled up 716 yards against Arizona State in 1990. Heinicke also snapped Klingler's D-I total offense mark of 732 yards.
Heinicke's 791 yards of total offense snapped the FCS record of Jackson State's Robert Kent, set in 2001 against Alabama State with 668 yards. Kent had 595 yards passing and 73 yards on the ground in that game.
Heinicke established new school records with 79 pass attempts, 55 completions, 730 passing yards and 791 total offensive yards in a game that featured 824 yards by Old Dominion and a combined 1,549 yards by the two teams.
The FCS record for passing yards was 624 yards by Weber State's Jamie Martin, who threw for 624 yards in a 1991 game against Idaho State, on the way to winning the Payton Award that season.
It was the third highest passing game in NCAA history, coming within a yard of the second-place effort by Menlo College's Zamir Amin of 731 yards, set in a 2000 Division III game against Cal Lutheran.
Heinicke had TD passes of 57 yards to Nick Mayers and 15 yards to Antonio Vaughan in the second quarter and added a nine-yard scoring romp. In the third period, he hit Jackwail Bailey for a 32-yard scoring strike.
In the fourth-quarter surge, Heinicke found Mayers for TD tosses of 12 and nine yards to tie the game at 54-all before leading an 11-play, 74-yard drive in the final minutes that set up a winning, 25-yard field goal by Jarod Brown.
The sophomore, who became the Monarchs' starter midway through his freshman season last year, has thrown for 1,921 yards and 19 touchdowns in four winning games this season.
Erik Lora, Eastern Illinois, Junior, Wide Receiver, 5-10, 181, Miami, Florida
Lora snapped a 43-year-old Ohio Valley Conference record for single-game receptions when he pulled down 21 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns as Eastern Illinois outlasted Murray State 50-49 in overtime at home to win a key OVC contest.
While Lora kept the Panthers in the game with his receiving, it was ultimately his arm that lifted EIU to the win. Lora threw a game-winning two-point conversion pass, off a reverse, to Von Wise for the final points of the crazy game.
The 21 catches broke the previous OVC mark of 20 set by Austin Peay’s Harold Roberts in 1969 and are the most receptions by any player at any level of NCAA football this season.
Lora came within three catches of the all-time FCS record, held by Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice of Mississippi Valley State in 1983 against Southern and Chas Geesner of Brown in 1999 against Rhode Island.
The redshirt junior set a single-game record for receiving yards at Eastern Illinois and became only the sixth Panther player ever to have 200 or more yards in a game on his way to OVC offensive player of the week honors.
Lora got off to a terrific start with 13 catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns in the first period alone. He hauled in scoring strikes of 10, 23 and 37 yards as EIU grabbed a quick 20-7 lead.
Lora currently ranks first nationally in total receiving yards (647), receptions/game (12.0) and receiving yards/game (161.75) and 12th nationally in all-purpose yards (163.75/game).
Quinn Backus, Coastal Carolina, Senior, Linebacker, 5-10, 205, Greenwood, South Carolina.
Backus led the Chanticleers to a near-upset of FBS opponent Toledo on Saturday night, coming up with 13 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery as Coastal Carolina fell short on the road to the Rockets 38-28.
Backus had nine solo stops and four assists to finish with a team high in tackles, but none was more important than a fourth-quarter hit where he stripped the ball away from Toledo's Cassius McDowell and recovered the fumble to set up a key CCU score.
Five plays after the fumble recovery, Coastal Carolina put a touchdown on the scoreboard to pull within three points of the Rockets at 31-28.
Billy Boyko, Lehigh Senior, Linebacker 6-2, 235, Northampton, Pennsylvania
Boyko piled up 14 tackles and contributed the winning points for the Mountain Hawks in a 28-26 victory over Liberty.
His interception and 39-yard return for a touchdown propelled Lehigh captured a key non-conference victory on the road Saturday night.
The interception return came on a fourth quarter series after Lehigh had taken a 21-20 lead.
Boyko read a slant pass on third and two from the Liberty 35, and picked off the deflected pass of Flame freshman quarterback Josh Woodrum, rumbling down the sideline before powering into the end zone for the score.
Bokyo had five solo stops and nine assists to match his career high in tackles, one key third-quarter sack for a loss of two yards to go with the first interception and first touchdown of his college career.
He won his first Patriot League defensive player of the week award for the performance.
Cejay Ceniza, Eastern Kentucky, Senior, Defensive Back, 5-11, 183, Las Vegas, Nevada
Ceniza came away with three turnovers to help Eastern Kentucky to a surprisingly dominant 51-21 over Jacksonville State at home at Roy Kidd Stadium in the Colonels' OVC opener.
He picked off his first pass in the first quarter after the Colonels bounced out to an early 7-0 lead. It was the first interception of his career.
Ceniza returned the interception 11 yards, fumbled and the ball was recovered by one of his teammates for another 11-yard gain.
A blocked field goal was all that kept Ceniza's interception from resulting in more points for EKU.
He then recovered a fumble in the second period to set up an Eastern Kentucky touchdown seven plays later that made it a 27-8 game.
In the fourth quarter, Ceniza picked off another Marques Ivory pass and returned it 84 yards for a touchdown to put the Colonels on top 51-15 with 14:45 remaining in the game.
It was the fourth longest interception return in FCS this season and Ceniza ended the night with 98 yards in returns.
Ceniza also added four solo tackles and was named as the OVC's defensive player of the week.
Brandon Grier, Appalachian State, Senior, Linebacker, 6-2, 232, Charlotte, N.C.
Grier sparked the Mountaineers to a 34-17 victory on the road at Finley Stadium against Tennessee-Chattanooga as ASU turned a 10-10 tie into a lopsided win in the fourth quarter.
Grier helped the Mountaineers break the game open with a fumble recovery at the UTC 14-yard-line to set up a touchdown on the next play that gave Appalachian State a 27-10 lead.
On the next possession by the Moc offense, Greer intercepted a pass and rumbled 70 yards for a touchdown to push the advantage to 34-10.
Greer, who earned Southern Conference defensive player of the week honors, finished with seven tackles, two solo stops, five assists, one sack for a six-yard loss and one quarterback hurry to go along with the fumble recovery and interception.
He also was instrumental in holding UTC to just 10 points after a pair of early turnovers in the first quarter.
It is the second national player of the week honor for Greer this season, who was also honored for his performance in ASU's 35-27 win over Montana in week two.
Riley Lyons, Dartmouth, Sophomore, Place Kicker/Punter, 5-11, 170, Roswell, Georgia
Lyons drilled a pair of field goals with Dartmouth trailing Holy Cross 10-7, including a second one from 31 yards out with one second remaining to lift the Big Green to a 13-10 non-conference victory on Saturday on the road.
His 34-yard field in the second quarter tied the game at 10-10.
Lyons had to save a touchdown immediately after that game-tying field goal when he tackled Sam Auffant at the Dartmouth 31 following a 69-yard kickoff return. Lyons was the last tackler between Auffant and the goal line.
Lyons drilled one extra point following a Big Green touchdown early in the second period to make it 10-7.
Besides handling all of the place-kicking chores for Dartmouth, Lyons also punted seven times for a 36.4, placing two punts inside the 20-yard line and booming one effort 57 yards.
He was named the Ivy League's special teams player of the week.
About College Sports Journal
College Sports Journal is selecting weekly national players of the week, weekly freshmen of the week and releasing a national top-25 poll for the first time this season, but it is not the first time that the people behind the selections have chosen players of the week and administered polls at the FCS level.
The weekly selections are made by a panel of FCS experts that include the co-owners of College Sports Journal, David Coulson and Chuck Burton.
Coulson is a 35-year veteran of covering college football at every level from Division I to the junior college ranks, including 20 years as the leading written voice of FCS. He authored an award-winning, coffee-table book on Appalachian State's run to the 2005 national championship, entitled "Magic on the Mountain."
A 1980 graduate of Fresno State, Coulson also spent two years as sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times, three seasons running the FCS awards program as the executive director of The Sports Network and was one of the pioneers of College Sporting News in 2001.
Burton cut his teeth in FCS as a student at Lehigh. After graduating, he began the popular blog, Lehigh Sports Nation, covering the Mountain Hawks and the Patriot League in depth.
Burton also spent nearly a decade writing a successful FCS column for College Sporting News before beginning the College Sports Journal web site with Coulson last year.
College Sports Journal also publishes preseason and postseason All-America teams for FCS, national awards honoring offensive and defensive players of the year, a lineman of the year and a special teams player of the year and released the first All-FCS Freshman squad last season, besides its work covering other NCAA sports.
This season, College Sports Journal will also publish weekly freshmen of the week, leading up to the release of the freshman of the year and All-FCS Freshman team in January.
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