The nation's best.
Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams, Charleston Southern linebacker Calvin Bryant, Eastern Illinois safety Alex McNulty, Samford return specialist Fabian Tuss and Stetson linebacker Donald Payne have been named The Sports Network FCS National Players of the Week 1 for games ending Sept. 1.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Vernon Adams, Eastern Washington, QB, Soph., 6-0, 190, Pasadena, Calif.
The Eagles became just the third FCS team in the last 30 seasons to beat a ranked FBS opponent, scoring points on all nine drives in which Adams played to stun 25th-ranked Oregon State, 49-46. Adams capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a game-winning, 2-yard touchdown run with 18 seconds left. Adams, who had to be taken to the Big Sky Conference squad's locker room early in the second half to be treated for dehydration, completed 23-of-30 pass attempts for a career-high 411 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, giving him a school-record 518 yards of total offense. That total was the FCS Week 1 high, as was his 235.747 pass efficiency rating.
CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Calvin Bryant, Charleston Southern, LB, Sr., 5-11, 222, Jacksonville, Fla.
Bryant led the Charleston Southern defense in its 32-29 road victory over The Citadel. He totaled a team-high 12 tackles, including seven solos, with 1.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one pass breakup. He made three stops on third down plays to force fourth downs and had another two tackles go for no gain. The win came in Jamey Chatwell's head coaching debut with the Big South Conference team.
Alex McNulty, Eastern Illinois, Rover, R-Sr., 6-2, 189, Bolingbrook, Ill.
As Eastern Illinois allowed only one touchdown while handling San Diego State, 40-19 - the Ohio Valley Conference program's first win over an FBS program since 2004 - McNulty fueled the Panthers defense with two interceptions and two other pass breakups. He had 51 return yards on the two picks and finished with five tackles, including one tackle for loss for seven yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Fabian Truss, Samford, RB/RS, Sr., 5-9, 190, Birmingham, Ala.
Truss jump-started the Bulldogs toward a 31-21 victory over transitioning FBS program Georgia State by returning the game's opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. The Sports Network Preseason FCS All-America kick returner brought back three kickoffs for 149 yards while adding two punt returns for 53 yards. He scored another touchdown on a carry in the first minute of the fourth quarter to put the Southern Conference team ahead for good. His 296 all-purpose yards ranked No. 1 in the FCS in Week 1.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Donald Payne, Stetson, LB, R-Fr., 6-0, 191, Fayetteville, Ga.
Payne was an all-around force as Stetson returned to football with a weather- delayed, 31-3 victory against Warner. He recovered a fumble for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage after Saturday's game was resumed in the second quarter on Sunday. Payne, the nephew of former 15-year NFL defensive end Ezra Johnson, finished the game with eight tackles, including five solos, and three tackles for loss, including a sack. The game was the new Pioneer Football League program's first since 1956.