Valley Football - Players of the Week -- Oct. 19
This week's Missouri Valley Football Conference Players of the Week include QB Kevin Earl of South Dakota; S Caleb Schaffitzel of Missouri State; P Nick Liste of Youngstown State; WR Riley Donovan of South Dakota; and LT Billy Turner of North Dakota State.
Offensive Player of the Week
QB Kevin Earl, South Dakota
So., Lincolnshire, Ill./Stevenson HS
Earl passed for a career-high 370 yards and accounted for five touchdowns (3 pass, 2 rush) in South Dakota’s 38-31, double-overtime win against No. 13 UNI Saturday at the UNI-Dome. Earl improved to 3-0 as a starter – all three wins have required fourth-quarter comebacks. USD trailed 28-7 late in the third quarter. Earl threw a 3-yard touchdown pass with five seconds left in regulation to force overtime, and snuck in from one yard away to give USD its first lead, 38-31, in the second overtime. Earl also threw 48- and 43-yard touchdowns to Riley Donovan and scored on a quarterback draw from 8 yards away. His 370 yards passing are the most by a USD quarterback in four seasons.
Defensive Player of the Week
S Caleb Schaffitzel, Missouri State
6-0, 214, Jr., S, Fair Grove (Mo.) High
Missouri State's standout safety tallied a game-high 14 tackles, broke up 4 passes and put the finishing touches on the Bears' homecoming win over No. 15 South Dakota State with a fourth-quarter interception return. His third interception of the season -- and third in four weeks -- halted the Jackrabbits' final drive of the afternoon and gave the Bears their second straight home victory. He returned the pick 25 yards before taking a knee to allow the Bears to run out the final 1:48.
Special Teams Player of the Week
P Nick Liste, Youngstown State
Sr., 5-10, 185, Niles, Ohio (Niles McKinley H.S.)
Liste had two punts downed on the WIU 1-yard line and averaged 43.4 yards on five punts in the Penguins’ 24-14 win over Western Illinois. Liste had punts of 55 (downed at the 1), 53, 44, 35 (downed at the 1) and 30 yards. He also had five kickoffs in the game, one for touchback on a cold and windy evening.
Newcomer of the Week
WR Riley Donovan, South Dakota
Fr., Kasson, Minn./Kasson-Mantorville HS
Donovan, a freshman who had his redshirt lifted four games ago, caught nine passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns in USD’s 38-31, double-overtime win against No. 13 UNI Saturday in the UNI-Dome. It was the most receiving yards by a Coyote since 2008. Donovan hauled in touchdown passes of 48 and 43 yards. Three of his other receptions moved the chains on third down, including a 15-yard catch on 3rd-and-15 that immediately preceded a USD touchdown that cut the lead to 28-21 in the fourth quarter.
LT Billy Turner, North Dakota State
6-6, 314, Sr., Shoreview (Minn.) Mounds View
Turner graded out at 92 percent with 10 knockdowns in North Dakota State’s 31-10 win at Southern Illinois. Turner did not allow a sack or quarterback hurry and was part of an offensive line that rushed for a season-high 331 yards against the nation’s fourth-ranked rushing defense. It was the most yards for NDSU in a conference game since joining the league in 2008. NDSU racked up 205 yards in the third quarter alone to come back from a 10-7 halftime deficit. John Crockett rushed for a career-high 165 yards and three touchdowns, and Sam Ojuri rushed for 143 yards to give NDSU dual 100-yard running backs for the first time since last season at Illinois State.