September 29, 2013

Johnson, Huguely receive OVC Weekly Player of the Week honors


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech senior Jordan Johnson is the Ohio Valley Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, while junior James Huguely is the co-Defensive Player of the Week, for their roles in Tech's 38-37 win over Indiana State Saturday night.

Johnson, a 5-11, 285-pound defensive tackle from Miami, Fla., bulled his way through the middle of the line to block two kicks, both of which proved vital in the victory. On the first touchdown of the game, he blocked the PAT and the single point proved to be the difference in the one-point, come-from-behind win. Later in the first quarter, Johnson rejected a 20-yard field goal attempt, allowing James Huguely to pick it up and win an 87-yard footrace to the end zone for a 10-6 Tech lead.

Huguely, a 6-foot, 180-pound junior from Atlanta, made a career-high 12 tackles (8 solo) and returned the blocked field goal for a touchdown. With Indiana State leading 6-3 and lining up for a 20-yard field goal late in the first quarter, Johnson blocked the attempt that Huguely picked up and raced 87 yards for a touchdown to put his team up 10-6.

Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, was named the OVC Offensive Player of the Week. Garoppolo became the OVC career leader in touchdown passes and passing yards in leading No. 8 Eastern Illinois to a dominating 42-7 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Saturday. The Walter Payton Award candidate completed 26-of-39 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns and continues to lead all Division I players (FBS or FCS) with 2,053 passing yards and 23 touchdowns in 2013. In the first quarter he threw his 86th career touchdown pass to pass former EIU All-American and current Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo for the OVC record (he now has 88 touchdown passes which is 22nd in NCAA FCS history). In the second quarter he passed Murray State's Casey Brockman for the career passing yards mark, and also became the first OVC player and just 30th player in FCS history to go over 10,000 passing yards; Garoppolo now has 10,159 passing yards and also went over 10,000 yards of total offense (10,032). This marks the fourth-straight week Garoppolo has been named OVC Offensive Player of the Week, becoming the first player to do so since the 2009 season (JSU's Ryan Perrilloux).
 
Anthony Goodman, a defensive back from Eastern Illinois, shared the Defensive award with Huguely. Goodman helped key a defensive unit that limited Eastern Kentucky to just 266 yards of total offense (140 against the first team defense which came out with five minutes to play in the third quarter) and a late fourth quarter touchdown as No. 8 Eastern Illinois dominated the Colonels 42-7. Goodman had a game-high eight tackles (5 solo) and recovered a fumble that he returned for a touchdown. With just 23 seconds remaining before halftime, Goodman picked up the fumble forced by Jourdan Wickliffe and raced 70 yards for a touchdown to put the Panthers up 35-0 at the break. The 70-yard fumble return was the longest in school history.

The OVC Newcomer of the Week Award went to Murray State quarterback Maikhail Miller, who beat out Tech redshirt freshmn quarterback Jared Davis in voting for the honor.  Miller, a transfer from Ole Miss, accounted for three touchdowns and also tossed the winning two-point conversion in overtime as Murray State ended a nine-game losing streak against Jacksonville State by winning 35-34. The sophomore completed 14-of-26 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown and carried the ball 24 times for a team-high 134 yards (5.6 ypc) and two touchdowns. Miller threw a 29-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to put the Racers up 10-0 and added a 14-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give his team a 27-24 advantage. Facing a 4th-and-10 in overtime, Miller connected on a 13-yard pass for a first down and then got the final 12 yards with his feet, eventually scoring on a one-yard touchdown run. He followed that by throwing the successful two-point conversion to Jeremy Harness in the flat to give MSU the win. Miller currently ranks second in the OVC and 39th nationally in total offense (236.2 yards/game).

The Golden Eagles will play at Murray State Saturday afternoon.