College Sports Journal
PHILADELPHIA, PA. — Linebacker Quinn Backus of Coastal Carolina, kicker Connor Loftus of Penn, quarterback Jeff Mathews of Cornell, running back Steven Miller of Appalachian State, quarterback Garret Safron of Sacramento State, and linebacker Ian Sluss have been selected as the College Sports Journal/ GameWorn Uniforms.com national players of the week for the eighth week of NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision play.
Linebacker Zac Browning of Southern Utah and quarterback Logan Hallock of Appalachian State have been named as the College Sports Journal freshmen of the week for the eighth week of the Football Championship Subdivision season.
Here are the conference and team write-ups for each of the players of the week and freshmen of the week:
Jeff Mathews, Cornell, Junior, Quarterback, Camarillo, California
Mathews continued his record-setting ways with 525 yards, on 35-of-51 passing, and four touchdowns without a turnover to help the Big Red top Princeton 37-35 with a last-minute scoring drive.
Mathews' single-game yardage ranks second at Cornell and third in the Ivy League history. He was named Ivy League offensive player of the week.
He set up John Wells' game-winning, 23-yard field goal with under a minute by driving Cornell 66 yards after receiving the ball with two minutes to play.
Mathews converted a pair of third-down chances and connected with Grant Gellatly for 35 yards to bring the Big Red down to the 11-yard line with under 90 seconds to play.
Steven Miller, Appalachian State, Senior, Running Back, Piscataway, N.J.
Miller rushed for 245 yards and amassed 270 all-purpose yards in Saturday’s 38-27 win over Western Carolina, helping the Mountaineers retain the Old Mountain Jug
With starting quarterback Jamal Jackson sidelined for most of the game due to a knee injury sustained in the first quarter, Miller carried the load offensively for the Mountaineers, rushing 34 times for the 245 yards, both career highs.
The 245-yard effort was the second-highest rushing total in the Southern Conference and the seventh-best in NCAA Division I FCS this season.
It is also tied for the sixth-best single-game rushing performance in Appalachian State history and tied for 22nd in the all-time SoCon annals.
Miller also caught an 11-yard pass and returned a kickoff 14 yards, giving him 270 all-purpose yards, which is the 22nd-highest mark by an FCS player in 2012.
The 245-yard performance also pushed Miller over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season, making him only the 14th player and 12th running back in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
Through just nine games, Miller’s 1,077 rushing yards rank 15th in Appalachian single-season history.
For the season, Miller ranks 10th nationally in all-purpose yardage (157.7 ypg), 13th in rushing (119.7 ypg) and is tied for 19th in scoring (8.7 ppg).
The weekly honor as Southern Conference offensive player of the week was the first of Miller’s career.
Garret Safron, Sacramento State, Sophomore, Quarterback, Santa Monica, California
Safron, a 6-1, 195-pound sophomore, completed 31-of-38 passes for 303 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in Sacramento State ’s 35-29 upset of previously unbeaten and No. 4-ranked Cal Poly.
Safron threw TD passes of five, 28, three and 32 yards. His three-yard strike to T.J. Knowles late in the third quarter put the Hornets ahead 28-17.
His 32-yard TD pass to Morris Norrise with 3:09 to play gave the Hornets a 35-23 lead. His completions, attempts, and touchdown passes were all career-highs.
Safron also rushed for 46 yards and was named Big Sky Conference offensive player of the week.
Ian Sluss, Portland State, Senior, Linebacker, Vista, California
Sluss intercepted two passes, scored a touchdown, recovered two fumbles, and tallied six tackles in Portland State ’s 49-21 win over UC Davis.
Sluss was a one-man turnover machine in the fourth quarter, falling on two fumbles and intercepting two passes in the final 15 minutes.
Sluss picked off a pass and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown with 5:32 remaining, marking the third straight game he has scored a defensive touchdown.
His first interception came with 12:10 to play and the Vikings holding a 28-14 lead. Sluss made five solo stops and was named Big Sky defensive player of the week.
Quinn Backus, Coastal Carolina, Sophomore, Linebacker, Greenwood, SC
Backus had 15 tackles (seven solo, eight assisted), including 1.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack, one forced fumble and an interception in Coastal’s 36-12 win over Liberty.
He had eight second-half tackles, including his sack, as the Chanticleers held Liberty to just 31 rushing yards in the second half.
Backus forced a fumble on his sack on a 3rd-and-8 play, while his half tackle-for-loss forced a punt near the end of the third quarter.
He cemented the win with an interception on the Flames’ final drive of the game and was named Big South defensive player of the week.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER
Connor Loftus, Penn, Sophomore, Kicker, Villa Park, California
Penn sophomore kicker Connor Loftus connected on two clutch field goals in the final 2:12 of play to push the Quakers to a 20-17 victory over Brown.
Loftus booted a career-long, 45-yard field goal to tie the game at 17-17.
He drilled a 30-yarder with 17 seconds left to steal the win in front of the Franklin Field homecoming crowd.
Loftus, who was named the Ivy League special teams player of the week, also connected on both of his extra point attempts.
FRESHMEN OF THE WEEK
Logan Hallock, Appalachian State, Freshman, Quarterback, Ferguson, N.C.
Hallock sparked the Mountaineers to a win on the road and helped them retain the Old Mountain Jug with a 38-27 victory over Western Carolina in his first significant action as a college quarterback.
Hallock entered the game in place of injured starter Jamal Jackson (knee) in the first quarter and completed the first 20 passes of his career, helping the Mountaineers stretch an early 10-0 lead to a commanding 38-13 advantage when he found tight end Drew Bailey (Spartanburg, S.C./Dorman) for a 16-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Hallock, whose only two previous plays as a college quarterback came when he handed off twice to close out Appalachian’s 55-14 win over Coastal Carolina on Sept. 29, finished 230 yards on 20-of-21 passing and two touchdowns.
His sterling .952 completion percentage set a school record, breaking the previous mark of .895 (17-19) set by Armanti Edwards in a 70-24 win over Wofford in 2008.
Ten of those completions were to freshman wide receiver Sean Price, matching Price's own Appalachian State freshman record for receptions for a career-high 142 yards and a back-breaking 18-yard touchdown catch on the Mountaineers’ final offensive play of the first half that gave Appalachian a 24-7 halftime lead.
Zak Browning, Southern Utah, Freshman, Linebacker, Camas, Washington
Browning helped spark the Thunderbirds to a 30-27 over top-ranked Eastern Washington.
One of the top freshman in FCS all season, he led all tacklers with 15 tackles, including 14 solo stops, had one tackle for loss and recovered a fumble.
The tackle for loss came on Eastern Washington's final drive (not counting the one-play drive after the winning field goal), on second and 10 when he tackled EWU receiver Ashton Clark for a four-yard loss and helped force the failed field goal attempt.
Browning's fumble recovery came at the SUU 12 yard line early in the fourth quarter to quash another Eagle scoring drive.