It's only been two weeks into the 2013 season, but South Dakota State running back Zach Zenner is already back to midseason form.
The junior nearly single-handedly defeated North Dakota Saturday in the annual Potato Bowl held in Grand Forks.
Zenner, UT Martin's Tony Bell, Sacred Heart's Stephan Thomas, North Carolina A&T's Dominic Frescura and William & Mary's Kendell Anderson have been named The Sports Network FCS National Players of the Week for all Week 2 games ending Sept. 7.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Zach Zenner, South Dakota State, RB, Jr., 6-0, 220, Eagan, Minn.
Although North Dakota had won its previous 10 Potato Bowl games, this was the second time SDSU and UND faced off as members of the FCS. And if it weren't for Zenner's efforts, North Dakota would have made it 11 straight in the Potato Bowl. The junior running back tied his career high and the program high in rushing yards with 295 while producing four total touchdowns, including three on the ground. For good measure, Zenner added 31 yards receiving, with a 23-yard touchdown grab. It was the fourth time Zenner has eclipsed the 200-yard rushing barrier for his Missouri Valley Football Conference program.
CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Tony Bell, UT Martin, LB, Jr., 6-1, 200, Memphis, Tenn.
Bell had the daunting task of handling FBS powerhouse Boise State and produced some significant numbers almost immediately. On Boise State's fourth offensive play, Bell broke into the Boise backfield and sacked quarterback Joe Southwick, forcing a fumble which Bell recovered. He finished the day with six total tackles, five of them for a loss, including two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
Stephan Thomas, Sacred Heart, CB, Jr., 5-11, 180, Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Thomas had the unique day of producing a solid stat line while also making his non-statistical presence felt. The junior cornerback racked up eight total tackles with two interceptions, a pass breakup and a forced fumble. Thomas's second interception occurred on the goal line midway through the third quarter, with Sacred Heart leading Lafayette, 14-10, but the Leopards threatening to take the lead. Sacred Heart held on to win, 26-24, pushing the Northeast Conference team to 2-0.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Dominic Frescura, North Carolina A&T, P, Fr. 6-2, 190, South Pasadena, CA
There were a handful of players nationally who were deserving of the special teams award, but Frescura stood out with his monster leg and monster performance versus Appalachian State. Frescura played a large role in the Aggies' 24-21 upset of then-No. 21-ranked App State. He punted the ball nine times, averaging 47.1 yards per punt, and sent two of those kicks for 60 yards or more. Five times, the MEAC newcomer pinned the Mountaineers inside their 20- yard line, including three times on their 5-yard line.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Kendell Anderson, William & Mary, RB, R-Fr., 5-9, 203, Centreville, VA
After dropping its opening contest by a single touchdown to FBS opponent West Virginia, the William & Mary program rebounded behind Anderson against Hampton University. The Tribe got a (albeit early) career-best effort against the Pirates from Anderson, who gained 97 yards rushing on 14 carries (6.9-yard average), with two touchdowns. He added two receptions in the CAA Football team's 31-7 victory.