Shakir Bell of Indiana State Heads Up CSJ Players Of The Week

Indiana State RB Shakir Bell

College Sports Journal Release


PHILADELPHIA, PA. —  Running back Shakir Bell of Indiana State, quarterback Matt Brown of Illinois State, linebacker Dan Sullivan of Monmouth linebacker Carson Smith of The Citadel and kicker Bobby Zalud of Cal Poly have been selected as the College Sports Journal/ national players of the week for the second week of NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision play.


Offensive Players


Shakir Bell, Indiana State, Junior, Running Back, 5-8, 185, Indianapolis, Indiana


Bell had the biggest game of any running back in Division I yet this season, rushing for 349 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries as his Sycamores outlasted a determined Drake squad 27-10 at home on Saturday.


Bell set a Missouri Valley Conference record for rushing and topped his previous best of 256 yards on the ground — set last season against Youngstown State — by nearly 100 yards. 


The former MVFC record of 328 yards was set by Payton Award finalist Herb Donaldson of Western Illinois in 2006 against Indiana State.


The 349 yards was the most gained either rushing, or receiving by a Sycamore player since Bill Griffith had 319 yards receiving in 1955 against Evansville.


He also caught a pair of passes for 27 yards and finished with 376 all-purpose yards, which is also the best single-game performance in Division I this season.


In addition, Bell's rushing performance was the eighth-best rushing effort in FCS history. 


Illinois State quarterback Matt Brown (13) is chased by Eastern Illinois' Pat Wertz (93) during the first half of an NCAA college football game at Hancock Stadium in Normal, Ill., Saturday Sept. 15, 2012

Matt Brown, Illinois State, Junior, Quarterback, 6-4, 220, Marion, Indiana


Brown completed 42-of-57 passes for 473 yards and five touchdowns, with just one interception as Illinois State outlasted Eastern Illinois 54-51 in double overtime at home on Saturday.


His 25-yard strike to Tyrone Walker in the second overtime session lifted the Redbirds to the victory.


Brown also rushed four times for four yards and two more scores from 11 yards out and one yard in the third quarter. Brown also fired TD tosses of 19 yards to Lechein Neblett in the second period, 20 yards to Cameron Hunt and 13 to Donovan Harden in the fourth quarter.


He also finished with a career-high 477 yards of total offense.


Brown's performance was the fourth-highest passing total by any quarterback in FCS this season. Brown's previous best game was a 390-yard passing total against Youngstown State in 2010.



Monmouth LB Dan Sullivan

Defensive Players


Dan Sullivan, Monmouth, Senior, Linebacker, 6-2, 235, Manasquan, N.J.


Sullivan helped the Hawks win their Northeast Conference opener over Wagner with 4.5 tackles for loss, including 3.5 sacks as Monmouth beat Wagner 38-17.


Sullivan added nine tackles, seven solo stops, a forced fumble and two quarterback hurries. He had a sack on the first play from scrimmage to send Wagner spiraling to a three and out and then stopped three consecutive Seahawk drives in the second quarter with solo sacks.


With Monmouth ahead 28-10 near the end of the first half, Sullivan forced a fumble which the Hawks recovered to set up one last scoring chance at the Wagner 23.


Sullivn was the lynchpin as Monmouth forced three turnovers, piled up six sacks and held the Seahawks to just nine first downs, 145 total yards and 54 net yards rushing.



Citadel LB Carson Smith

Carson Smith, The Citadel, Sophomore, Linebacker, 6-2, 225, Simpsonville, S.C.



Smith had one of the key moments in The Citadel's stunning 52-28 victory at Appalachian State on Saturday, scooping up a Domonic Jones blocked punt and running eight yards for a touchdown with 6:16 left in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs a 31-0 lead.


He also contributed in a major way on defense, picking off a pass to stop ASU's final drive of the first half with the Mountaineers threatening and returning it 11 yards to set up a field goal attempt.


Smith also had seven total tackles, with three solo stops and four assists for the Bulldogs, who beat No. 2 Georgia Southern and No. 3 Appalachian State in back-to-back weeks. 


It was the first time since 2003 that The Citadel had beaten two ranked opponents in one season and was the first time it had beaten two top-10 teams in one year since 1991. 


The win allowed the Bulldogs to vault to No. 5 in the College Sports Journal poll, its highest ranking in any poll since finishing the regular season ranked No. 1 in 1992.



Special Teams


Bobby Zalud, Cal Poly, Junior, Place Kicker/Punter, 5-7, 190, Carlsbad, California


Zalud drilled a 51-yard field goal for Cal Poly's only points of the fourth quarter to provide the margin of victory for the Mustangs' 24-22 victory over FBS Wyoming Saturday on the road.


He also was a perfect 3-of-3 on extra points to tally six points total as Cal Poly earned its fourth win against an FBS opponent since 2003.


Zalud helped the defense by punting eight times for an average of 42 yards, including a long of 62 yards and booted four of his five kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.



About College Sports Journal


College Sports Journal is selecting weekly national players 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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