Sunday, November 20, 2011 | Valley Football
Valley Football Announces Players of the Week
L.J. Fort, UNI
L.J. Fort, UNI

This week's Missouri Valley Football Conference Players of the Week include QB Trevor Wooden of Missouri State; LB L.J. Fort of UNI; PK Tyler Sievertsen of UNI; RB Jewel Hampton of Southern Illinois; and OC Harrison Menke of Missouri State.


Offensive Player of the Week
QB Trevor Wooden, Missouri State
6-2, 223, So., High Springs (Fla.) Gainesville High
Wooden compiled 309 yards in total offense to lift the Bears over Youngstown State in the season finale at Stambaugh Stadium. He rushed 18 tmes for 121 yards and two second-half touchdowns, while passing for 188 yards and a pair of TDs in the win over the Penguins. His TD pass to Cadarrius Dotson with 10 seconds remaining in the game secured a 38-34 win for the Bears over YSU, a game in which MSU trailed by 17 points in the second quarter. Wooden became the first MSU quarterback to rush for 100 yards twice in a season since DeAndre Smith in 1989.

Defense Player of the Week
LB L.J. Fort, UNI
6-1, 232, Sr., Waynesville (Mo.) High
In UNI's 23-20, double-overtime win at No. 14 Illinois State, Fort had a game for the record books. He racked up a career-high 22 total tackles in the contest, including nine solo stops and 1.5 TFL. Trailing 6-3 with 2:52 left in the third quarter, Fort forced his FCS-leading sixth fumble of the season and the recovery led to a UNI scoring drive. His 22 tackles tied him for the fourth-best single-game performance in UNI history and catapulted him to 151 total tackles on the season -- also the fourth-best mark in school history. With 323 total tackles, he now ranks at No. 6 on the UNI career tackles list.

Special Teams Player of the Week
PK Tyler Sievertsen, UNI
6-2, 185, So., Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Kennedy High
With three field goals and 11 total points, Sievertsen carried UNI to a 23-20, double-overtime victory at No. 14 Illinois State on Saturday afternoon. Sievertsen connected on field goal tries of 38, 40 and 36 yards and was also 2-of-2 on PATs. Trailing 13-10 in the fourth quarter, he converted a 40-yard field goal attempt into a stiff wind to tie the game and force overtime with only 0:05 remaining. In the second overtime period, his 36-yard field goal served as the game-winner and clinched UNI a share of the MVFC title. On the season, Sievertsen is now 17-of-18 on field goals and a perfect 34-of-34 on PATs, with eight of his field goals coming from 40 yards or further.

Newcomer of the Week
RB Jewel Hampton, Southern Illinois
5-9, 210, Jr., Indianapolis (Ind.) University of Iowa
Hampton set career highs with 178 yards on 35 carries in the win at No. 23 Indiana State. He added two touchdowns--his fourth consecutive two-TD game. Hampton became the 19th player in school history to surpass 1,000 yards in a single season, ending the year with 1,121 yards. With his two touchdowns, Hampton ended the year with 17 touchdowns, the fifth most single-season touchdowns in school history.

Offensive Lineman
OC Harrison Menke, Missouri State
6-4, 275, Jr., Joplin, Mo., Joplin High
Menke played every offensive snap for the Bears in Saturday's come-from-behind win at Youngstwon State, grading out 85 percent for the game. Was also pivotal part of MSU offensive attack that generated a season-high 38 points, 389 yards of total offense and 20 first downs. Bears finished with 201 rushing yards, their second-highest game of the season thanks to the work of Menke and company. The Joplin tornado surivor started all 11 games this season for MSU and played all 683 offensive plays.


Other nominees on offense
QB Kurt Hess, Youngstown State -- Set a school record by throwing five touchdown passes against Missouri State. His 298 yards was a career high. For the year he threw a school-record 25 touchdown passes. He competed 21 of 31 passes in the game.

WR Donald Spencer, Indiana State -- Racked up 168 receiving yards against Southern Illinois, picking up the yardage on five receptions while scoring a pair of touchdowns.

RB Sam Ojuri, North Dakota State -- Rushed a career-high 24 times for 128 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in 5th-ranked North Dakota State’s 37-21 win at Western Illinois

RB Jewel Hampton, Southern Illinois -- Set career highs with 178 yards on 35 carries in the win at Indiana State. He added two touchdowns--his fourth consecutive two-TD game.

QB Matt Brown, Illinois State -- Completed 33-of-49 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers in the double-overtime defeat. Brown also rushed for 28 yards in the game, including a huge 10-yard run in the first overtime period that eventually led to an Illinois State TD.

QB Tirrell Rennie, UNI -- Rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries -- all in the second half and overtime -- to lead UNI to a come-from-behind, 23-20, double-overtime victory at No. 14 Illinois State on Saturday afternoon. He also completed 10 passes for 61 yards and one TD.


Other nominees on defense
FS Jeremey Edwards, Youngstown State -- Had six tackles, including five solo stops, a forced fumble and an interception in the loss to Missouri State.

DL Eric Brunner, Illinois State -- Had five tackles, including four solo stops, and finished with two tackle-for-loss in helping the Redbirds hold the Panthers to just 191 total yards.

DB Mike McElroy, Southern Illinois -- Ended his career with two game-changing interceptions. After Indiana State scored 21 unanswered points in six minutes to tie the game, McElroy intercepted a pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. With Indiana State driving for the tying score late in the fourth quarter, McElroy picked off another pass on the one yard line with less than a minute to go in the game, sealing the 35-28 win for SIU.

LB Andrew Beisel, Missouri State -- Tallied a game-high 12 tackles, including 5 solos, in Saturday's win over Youngstown State. Against YSU, he factored in the team's only sack and compiled 7 assisted tackles in helping MSU secure its fourth straight victory over the Penguins. He became the first MSU freshman to lead the team in tackles since MVC All-Newcomer pick PJ Jones did so in 1998.

LB Kevin Palermo, Western Illinois
In his final game as a Leatherneck, Palermo matched a career-high with 14 tackles. He also broke up a pass, nearly getting an interception. For the third time this year and fourth of his career Palermo finished with 14 stops in a game. He went past the 100-tackle mark this season, doubling his total from last year.

CB Marcus Williams, North Dakota State -- Williams intercepted two passes and returned one for a TD in 5th-ranked North Dakota State’s 37-21 win at Western Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 19. He returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown to put the Bison ahead 34-0 with 10:09 left in the third quarter.

LB Jacolby Washington, Indiana State -- Led the Sycamores with 17 tackles on Saturday against Southern Illinois, also picking up one sack, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup. Washington recorded his eighth double-digit tackle game against the Salukis, ending the season in 16th in ISU history with 120 stops for the season.


Other Nominees on special teams
RS Steve Strother, Southern Illinois -- returned two kicks for 51 yards--falling just 10 yards short of breaking the single-season kickoff return yards school record. Strother had a 42 yard return--his sixth of the season longer than 35 yards.

RS Larry Patterson, Western Illinois -- Patterson averaged 20 yards per kickoff return, but nearly took one back for a touchdown on his 46-yard return in the second half. He also had a 25-yard return as NDSU used short kicks three times.

RS Caleb Schaffitzel, Missouri State -- Returned four kickoffs for 158 yards (39.5), including a team season-long 75-yarder that set up a key second-quarter field goal in MSU's 38-34 win at Youngstown State.

P Lucas Hileman, Indiana State -- Junior punter Lucas Hileman averaged 53.2 yards per punt on Saturday against Southern Illinois, totaling his best single-game average while posting a season-high with a 64-yard kick.


Other newcomer of the week nominees
WR Donald Spencer, Indiana State -- Racked up 168 receiving yards against Southern Illinois, picking up the yardage on five receptions while scoring a pair of touchdowns.

FS Jeremey Edwards, Youngstown State -- Had six tackles, including five solo stops, a forced fumble and an interception in the loss to Missouri State.

RB Nikko Watson, Western Illinois -- Recorded the third 100-yard rushing game of his four-game freshman season against a Bison defense among the national leaders. He rushed for a team-high 106 yards (6.6 yards per carry) and scored a touchdown.

LB Andrew Beisel, Missouri State -- Tallied a game-high 12 tackles, including 5 solos, in Saturday's win over Youngstown State. Against YSU, he factored in the team's only sack and compiled 7 assisted tackles in helping MSU secure its fourth straight victory over the Penguins. He became the first MSU freshman to lead the team in tackles since MVC All-Newcomer pick PJ Jones did so in 1998.

DL Kenneth Boatright, Southern Illinois -- tied for the team lead with seven tackles. Boatright was the lone Saluki to record a sack and also recorded 2.5 TFLs. Boatright ended his first year with 7.5 TFLs in the last three games of the season. He recorded at least one tackle for loss in eight of the last nine games of the season.

LB Carlton Littlejohn, North Dakota State -- Recorded eight tackles including six solos in 5th-ranked North Dakota State’s 37-21 win at Western Illinois on Saturday, Nov. 19. He was credited with a half-sack and a pass breakup.