FCS players of the week make opening statements
By CRAIG HALEY
STATS FCS Senior Editor
(STATS) - Big-time competition brings out big-time performances.
For many FCS players, that scenario produced a great way to begin the new college football season this past week.
Butler's Pace Temple, Southeast Missouri's Zach Hall, Montana State's Tristan Bailey and UC Davis' Ulonzo Gilliam performed like they were in midseason form while earning the STATS FCS National Players of the Week for Week 1 games through Sept. 2.
NATIONAL OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Pace Temple, Butler, WR, Sr., 6-1, 200, Geneva, Illinois
As usual, the All-Pioneer Football League standout put his hands all over a Butler win, this time a 23-21 victory at No. 25 Youngstown State. Temple led all FCS receivers in Week 1 with 14 receptions, including five during Butler's final two scoring drives, for 167 yards and one touchdown. In between the two critical drives, he recovered the on-side kick that set up the Bulldogs' game-winning field goal.
Honorable Mention: Zach Bednarczyk, QB, Villanova; Dom Bragalone, RB, Lehigh; Kendall Bussey, RB, Nicholls; Ryan Fulse, RB, Wagner; Alexander Hollins, WR, Eastern Illinois; Gunther Johnson, QB, Georgetown; Christian Lopez, QB, North Alabama; Caylin Newton, QB, Howard; Dawonya Tucker, RB, Prairie View A&M; Chason Virgil, QB, Southeastern Louisiana; Nsimba Webster, WR, Eastern Washington; Josh Wilkes, WR, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
NATIONAL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Zach Hall, Southeast Missouri, LB, Jr. 6-0, 230, Louisville, Kentucky
No player on any NCAA level had more than Hall's career-high 22 tackles while Southeast Missouri fell to Arkansas State 48-21. It was the highest total by an Ohio Valley Conference player since 2008. He had nine solo tackles and 13 assisted tackles with one tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Dating to last season, Hall has reached double figures in tackles in five of his last six games.
Honorable Mention: Blaise Brown, S, Georgetown; Alex Gray, LB, South Dakota; Justin Hogan, LB, Rhode Island; Juan Jackson, S, Central Arkansas; Da'Jon Lee, LB, Saint Francis; David Leisring, S, Dayton; Dante Olson, LB, Montana; Bryce Sterk, DE, Montana State; Shai Thomas, LB, Gardner-Webb; Langston Tunson, LB, Houston Baptist
NATIONAL SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tristan Bailey, Montana State, PK, Jr., 6-1, 220, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Bailey put his foot, er, stamp on Montana State's 26-23 win over Western Illinois to open the Big Sky/Missouri Valley Challenge Series. The junior college transfer became the first Bobcat since 2011 to kick four field goals in a game, including a 50-yarder to tie the score at 23 midway through the fourth quarter and then a 35-yard game-winner with 4:02 left. He also connected on a 21-yarder in the first quarter and a 47-yarder to end the first half. With two PATs, he was 6-for-6 on kicks.
Honorable Mention: Yahia Aly, PK, Florida A&M; Drew Bevelhimer, PK, Butler; Jean Constant, WR/KR, Bryant; Ezra Gray, RB/KR, Alabama State; Aidan O'Neill, PK, Towson; Andrew Zecca, P, Saint Francis
NATIONAL FRESHMAN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ulonzo Gilliam, UC Davis, RB, R-Fr., 5-9, 185, Merced, California
Gilliam's biochemistry and molecular biology major sound easier than defending him. He scored three touchdowns in UC Davis' 44-38 triumph at San Jose State - the season's first FCS win over an FBS program. Gilliam carried the ball 23 times for 132 yards and two scores and caught eight passes for 59 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. He racked up 191 all-purpose yards.
Honorable Mention: Dexter Boykin, WR, North Alabama; Juwon Farri, RB, Monmouth; Mitchell Fineran, PK, Samford; Dev Holmes, WR, Albany
Updated September 3, 2018