The nation's best.
Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein, Bethune-Cookman defensive back Nick Addison, Tennessee Tech running back/return specialist Ladarius Vanlier, Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams and Princeton cornerback Anthony Gaffney have been named The Sports Network FCS National Players of the Week 5 for games ending Sept. 29.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Eric Breitenstein, Wofford, Senior, 5-11, 230, FB, Valle Crucis, N.C.
Breitenstein set a Southern Conference single-game rushing record with 321 yards in Wofford's 49-24 win at Elon. He carried the ball 27 times, averaging 11 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns. On his first carry, Breitenstein scampered 90 yards for his first score. By halftime, he had already totaled 228 yards - four shy of the SoCon's record for yards in a half. It marked the third time in conference history a player has gained over 300 yards on the ground. Former Appalachian State great Armanti Edwards held the previous record with 313 yards against Richmond in 2007.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Nick Addison, Bethune-Cookman, Sophomore, 6-2, 180, DB, Tampa, Fla.
Addison recorded two interceptions in Bethune-Cookman's 38-26, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory versus Hampton. The sophomore fueled the Wildcats' impressive defense, which forced seven turnovers - four interceptions and three fumbles - by also totaling a team-high 11 tackles, a forced fumble and an assist on a tackle for loss. In the third quarter, Addison picked off a pass and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown, giving B-C a 24-10 lead. It was the fourth-longest interception return in school history, while the victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Wildcats.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ladarius Vanlier, Tennessee Tech, Freshman, 5-7, 165, RB/RS, Nashville
Vanlier returned an Ohio Valley Conference-record 11 kickoffs for 237 yards, including a 94-yard touchdown in the second quarter, against Murray State. However, it wasn't enough, as the Golden Eagles fell , 70-35. The freshman also returned a punt for 30 yards and caught four passes for 24 yards. When it was all said and done, he totaled 291 all-purpose yards. His 237 kickoff return yards account for the highest mark in the FCS this season.
CO-FRESHMEN OF THE WEEK
Vernon Adams, Eastern Washington, R-Freshman, 6-0, 180, QB, Pasadena, Calif.
In only his second career start under center for Eastern Washington, Adams completed 25-of-41 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns against Big Sky Conference rival Montana. In a wacky finish at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash., the Eagles scored two touchdowns in the final 2:19, rallying for a 32-26 victory. In that span, Adams found receiver Brandon Kaufman for a 30-yard touchdown pass, cutting the lead to two points. After EWU recovered an onside kick, the redshirt freshman threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Ashton Clark with 53 seconds remaining, which proved to be the game-winner. Adams had a team-high 54 rushing yards and accounted for 407 of Eastern's 447 yards of offense.
Anthony Gaffney, Princeton, Freshman, 6-3, 200, CB, Columbus, N.J.
Gaffney collected 122 all-purpose yards and two interceptions in Princeton's convincing, 33-6 road win versus Columbia. The Tigers got off to a fast start thanks to the freshman's 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game. Both of Gaffney's interceptions came in the fourth quarter, essentially sealing the deal for Princeton's first road win since 2009 and its first victory since Oct. 1, 2011. Similarly, it marked the first time a Princeton player recorded two picks since 2007, which was also against Columbia.