Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - When a star quarterback goes down with a season-ending injury, the effects can be disastrous.
But Central Arkansas refused to surrender when senior Wynrick Smothers was shelved for the final six weeks of the season with a broken ankle. Junior Ryan Howard stepped in and helped lead the team to four wins in the remaining six weeks.
In Saturday's season finale, Howard was sensational against Southland Conference foe Sam Houston State. His four first-half touchdown passes helped bury the Bearkats.
Howard, Bucknell's Evan Byers, Duquesne's Christian Kuntz, Southeastern Louisiana's Seth Sebastian, Lafayette's Drew Reed and Howard's Anthony Philyaw have been named The Sports Network FCS National Players of the Week for all Week 13 games ending Nov. 23.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ryan Howard, Central Arkansas, QB, Jr., 5-11, 194, Vestavia Hills, Ala.
Howard led Central Arkansas to a 49-31, season-ending win over playoff-bound Sam Houston State, completing 24-of-36 pass attempts for 349 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bears jumped out to a 42-10 lead at halftime, as all four of Howard's scoring passes came in the first two quarters. In nine games this season, Howard completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 1,848 yards and 18 touchdowns.
CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Evan Byers, Bucknell, LB, Jr., 6-0, 225, Roaring Rock, Pa.
Byers paced Bucknell's defense in Saturday's 35-23 win over Big South opponent VMI. The junior linebacker recorded a season-high 19 total tackles (the highest total by a Bucknell player since the 2001 season) with 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble that Byers recovered. Byers and the Bison limited VMI to 94 rushing yards, the seventh time Bucknell held an opponent to under 100 rushing yards this season.
Christian Kuntz, Duquesne, LB, So., 6-2, 210, Pittsburgh
Kuntz played a key role in Duquesne's 33-23, road win over FCS independent Monmouth. Kuntz was a pest in the Hawks' backfield as the sophomore linebacker notched a Northeast Conference single-game season high with 3.5 sacks of Monmouth quarterback Brandon Hill. Kuntz totaled 10 tackles (nine solo stops) and had 4.5 tackles for loss. He added a pass breakup for good measure. Kuntz finished the season as the Dukes' leader in tackles for loss (19.5) and sacks (nine).
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Seth Sebastian, Southeastern Louisiana, PK, Sr., 5-10, 180, Lafayette, La.
Sebastian's Thursday night was so much more than a simple win for his Southeastern Louisiana squad. The senior place-kicker banged home three field goals against Nicholls, which included a long of 46 yards, and hit all five of his extra point tries in the Lions' 52-27 win. In the process of his perfect night, Sebastian broke his Southland Conference school's records for career points and single-season scoring. In his collegiate career, Sebastian has accounted for 276 points, which breaks the old program mark of 264 set by Jeff Turner. This season, Sebastian has put up 103 points. He finished the 2013 regular season a perfect 14-for-14 on field goal tries and 61-of-62 on extra points.
CO-FRESHMEN OF THE WEEK
Drew Reed, Lafayette, QB, Fr., 6-0, 185, Lakeland, Tenn.
After gaining the full-time starting duties under center for Lafayette midway through the season, Reed has become one of more prominent passers in the Patriot League. The Jerry Rice Award nominee capped his season with a performance that included 20-of-27 pass attempts for a career-high 378 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in his team's 50-28 win at Lehigh. He was named the MVP in the 149th meeting between the rivals. As a starter, Reed is 4-1 on the season with 1,681 passing yards and 17 touchdowns.
Anthony Philyaw, Howard, RB, Fr., 6-1, 210, Los Angeles
Philyaw earns his second freshman of the week honor after a career day against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival Hampton. The Los Angeles native gained 111 yards on 34 carries against the Pirates and scored a career-high four touchdowns, which included the game-winner in the Bison's 42-39 double-overtime victory. He added 64 yards on five receptions, bringing his all-purpose yardage total to 175 in the season finale.