FCS players of the week keyed pivotal wins
By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - There's a lot on the line this time of the college football season, and many FCS players put their teams on their shoulders to win important games this past weekend.
For their clutch performances, Lehigh's Dominick Bragalone, Jacksonville State's Darius Jackson, Eastern Washington's Jordan Dascalo and Nicholls' Tahj Smith were honored Monday as the STATS FCS National Players of the Week for Week 11 games ending Nov. 11.
NATIONAL OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Dominick Bragalone, Lehigh, RB, Jr., 5-11, 230, South Williamsport, Pennsylvania
With surging Lehigh (4-6) two wins from claiming the Patriot League title and an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs, Bragalone took over in the Mountain Hawks' 34-21 victory over Holy Cross. He rushed for 157 yards in the second half and finished with 30 carries for 201 yards and four touchdowns. Included was a 45-yard score in the fourth quarter to put the game away. He leads the FCS in rushing touchdowns (19) and overall touchdowns (16).
Honorable Mention: Tyrie Adams, QB, Western Carolina; Luke Bech, WR/RS, Princeton; Jacob Dolegala, QB, Central Connecticut State; Khadarel Hodge, WR, Prairie View A&M; Grant Kraemer, QB, Drake; Anthony Lawrence, QB, San Diego; Chris Schroer, RB, Columbia; Norlando Veals, WR, Alcorn State
NATIONAL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Darius Jackson, Jacksonville State, DE, Sr., 6-3, 242, Bessemer, Alabama
Second-ranked Jacksonville State faced a road challenge at UT Martin, but Jackson keyed a big defensive effort as the Gamecocks won 14-7 and captured their fourth straight outright Ohio Valley Conference title and the automatic playoff bid that goes with it. Jackson had five tackles, 2 1/2 tackles for loss, two sacks (for losses of 20 yards), two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. The Gamecocks (9-1), who have a 31-game OVC win streak, limited the Skyhawks to just 176 yards of total offense.
Honorable Mention: Willie Barrett, LB, Marist; Lee Bennett, LB, Mercer; Jay Cammon, LB, Penn; Kenny Dotson, DL, Nicholls; Cameron Gill, LB, Wagner; Jared Kuehl, LB, New Hampshire; Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina State; Vernon Moland, DL, Alabama A&M; Luke Nelson, LB, Northern Colorado; Heavon Price, DB, Bryant; Chris Stewart, DL, Sam Houston State; Juwan Wells, DE, Liberty; Khamaal Whitaker, CB, Sacred Heart
NATIONAL SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jordan Dascalo, Eastern Washington, Sr., 6-1, 225, Los Angeles
Dascalo sure liked the move indoors as Eastern Washington (6-4) won 21-14 at North Dakota in the Big Sky. Six of his seven punts traveled at least 50 yards and he averaged 52.7 yards, with two downed inside the UND 20-yard line. Included was a 67-yarder (tying a career long) that was downed at the 3 with 2:47 left in the game. UND's average field position after Dascalo punts was its 24-yard line.
Honorable Mention: Alex Chadwick, PK, Houston Baptist; Lane Clark, PK, Tennessee State; Jean Constant, WR/KR, Bryant; Chandler Curtis, RS/WR, Mercer; Earnest Edwards, WR/KR, Maine; Cam Jackson, RB/KR, The Citadel; Dean Kelly, P, Jacksonville State; Ed Mish, PK/P, Lehigh; Brandon Purdy, PK, Montana; Christian Uphoff, KR, Illinois State; Chase Vinatieri, PK, South Dakota State
NATIONAL FRESHMAN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tahj Smith, Nicholls, RB, R-Fr., 5-8, 175, LaPlace, Louisiana
Smith had only one carry before Nicholls' game against Stephen F. Austin, but two running backs left due to injury and the rookie came on to carry the ball 23 times for 177 yards and a touchdown in a 34-14 win. He scored on a 20-yard run and finished with the second-highest single-game rushing total in the Southland Conference this season. The win helped Nicholls (8-2) to its first ranking in the STATS FCS Top 25 in more than 10 years - at No. 25.
Honorable Mention: Brian Cook, DB, Howard; Zane Dudek, RB, Yale; Neico Hollins, QB, Prairie View A&M; Jeremiah Oatsvall, QB, Austin Peay; Vincent Sellers, S, Tennessee State; Rashid Shaheed, WR/KR, Weber State; Coby Tippett, DB/PR, Towson
Updated November 13, 2017