Player of the Week Awards - Week 4

September 26, 2023 by Staff

(NOTE: In addition to numerous other awards,'s Dave Congrove is a season-end voter for these awards in this article: Ray Guy, Bednarik, Maxwell, Lou Groza, Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski)

Shaun Alexander Award - Freshman Player of the Week

Rocco Becht Iowa State Iowa State quarterback Rocco Becht has been named the Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Week after leading the Cyclones to a win over Oklahoma State. In the 34-27 victory, the freshman completed 27 passes out of his 38 attempts for 348 yards and 3 touchdowns. With that win over the Cowboys, Becht joins Brock Purdy and Kyle Kempt as quarterbacks under head coach Matt Campbell to win their first career Big 12 Start. The quarterback has also thrown a touchdown in each of his first four career starts, tallying seven total on the season. The Cyclones will look to take down No. 14 Oklahoma on the road next week.

Weekly Winners:
Week 4: Rocco Becht, QB, Iowa State
Week 3:
Jordan Castell, S, Florida
Week 2: Anthony Hill, Jr., LB, Texas
Week 1:
Dylan Edwards, RB, Colorado

Ray Guy Award - Punter of the Week

The Augusta Sports Council and the Ray Guy Award are proud to announce Matt Hayball of Vanderbilt as the Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week for Week 4 games. Hayball punted 7 times during the game against Kentucky for a total of 352 yards. His gross and net average was 50.29 due to him having no punts returned. Five of his punts ended up inside Kentucky's 20-yard line and he had a long punt of 62 yards.

Weekly Winners:
Week 4: Matt Hayball, Vanderbilt
Week 3: Tyler Perkins, Iowa State
Week 2: James Burnip, Alabama
Week 1: Ryan Rehkow, BYU

Outland Trophy - Interior Lineman of the Week

Penn State notched a 31-0 home win over Iowa behind an offensive line that is allowing the Nittany Lions to reach historic heights so far this season. Offensive tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu is the stalwart up front at Penn State, which has scored at least 30 points in 11 consecutive games for only the second time in program history. For creating the FBS’ longest active streak of 30-plus-point games, Fashanu earned the Outland Trophy National Player of the Week honor for games during the weekend of Sept. 23, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

Fashanu, a 6-6, 317-pound junior from Waldorf, Md., and a team captain, has helped Penn State (4-0) score in 28 consecutive quarters, a streak going back to its Nov. 19 game last season against Rutgers. The 28-quarter streak is another that is the longest current streak in the FBS this season. This is only the fifth time in Big Ten Conference history for a team to string together 11 or more games of 30+ points. The only other time Penn State has achieved it was in 1993-94 – Fashanu and this team aims to threaten that 15-game school record.

Penn State held the ball for 45:27 in the Iowa game as Fashanu and the offensive line dominated the line. They created gaps for a 215-yard rushing effort and Penn State scored on four drives of 10 or more plays, something the Nittany Lions had not done since the 2021 season. The protection Fashanu has provided has assisted in Penn State not committing a turnover this season, the only FBS team remaining this season without having turned it over.

Penn State travels to Northwestern on Saturday for a noon ET game on the Big Ten Network.

Weekly Winners:
Week 4: Olumuyiwa Fashanu, OT, Penn State
Week 3: Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
Week 2: Anez Cooper, G, Miami (FL)
Week 1: Tanor Bortoloini, C, Wisconsin

Maxwell Award - Offensive Player of the Week

Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward has been named Maxwell Award Player of The Week after helping upset No. 14 Oregon State this past weekend. The 6’2 223 junior completed 28-of-34 attempts for 404 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for a score. The Texas native’s performance would also put him at seventh best for completion percentage in WSU single-game history (82.4%). Additionally, Ward currently ranks among the Top 10 in FBS total offense (2nd), passing yards (3rd), passing yards per game (3rd), passing touchdowns (4th), and passing efficiency (9th). The Cougars travel to Pasadena for their next contest, where they’ll face off against UCLA on Oct. 7.

Weekly Winners:
Week 4: Cameron Ward, QB, Washington State
Week 3:
Michael Penix, Jr., Washington
Week 2:
Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas
Week 1: Jordan, QB, Florida State

Bednarik Award - Defensive Player of the Week

Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner has been named Bednarik Award Player of The Week after the SEC opener against Ole Miss. The 6’4 242 junior posted another big game with five tackles, two sacks (-17 yards), 3.5 TFL (-27 yards), one forced fumble, and two quarterback hurries. The Florida native's performance aided Alabama in its eighth consecutive win over Ole Miss, outscoring Ole Miss 394-187 (49.3-23.4 ppg) throughout those wins. The Crimson Tide will travel to Starkville for an SEC match-up against Mississippi State this Saturday, Sept. 30 at 9 p.m. ET.

Weekly Winners:
Week 4: Dallas Turner, LB, Alabama
Week 3: Daquan Evans, DB, USF
Week 2:
Jaden Hicks, DB, Washington State
Week 1: Kaimon Rucker, LB, North Carolina

Lou Groza Award - Placekicker “Stars of the Week”

Michael Lantz went 4-for-4 on both field goals and extra points in Georgia Southern’s 40-3 road win over Ball State. The senior from Peachtree City, Ga. connected from 41, 37, 35 and 26 yards out as part of a 16-point game that tied for the most points by a kicker this week. Three of those field goals came in the second quarter, accounting for all of the scoring in that frame. Lantz now sits at 8-for-9 on field goals, tied for seventh in the country.

Trey Smack led all kickers this week with a 5-for-5 performance in Florida’s 22-7 win over Charlotte. The five field goals included a new career-long of 54 yards, tied for the seventh-longest kick in Gators history. He also connected from 36, 27 and twice from 23 yards, becoming the Gators’ first kicker with five field goals since 2017 and just the fourth to ever do it. The sophomore from Severna Park, Md. also converted the extra point on Florida’s only touchdown for a 16-point game that tied for the most by a kicker this week.

Dominic Zvada kicked three crucial field goals in a 44-37 win over Southern Miss for Arkansas State’s first win in a conference opener since 2019. The sophomore from Chandler, Ariz. gave the Red Wolves their final lead with a 21-yard kick, joining first-half makes from 36 and 53 yards out. The 53 yarder joins his make from 56 last season to make him just the fourth kicker in program history with multiple field goals from long distance. He converted all five extra point tries for a 14-point game that sets a new high in his young career.

Weekly Winners:
Week 4: Michael Lantz (Georgia Southern), Trey Smack (Florida), Dominic Zvada (Arkansas State)
Week 3: Harrison Mevis (Missouri), Jose Pizano (UNLV), Noah Rauschenberg (North Texas)
Week 2: Colton Boomer (UCF), Caden Davis (Ole Miss), Camden Lewis (Oregon)
Week 1: Josh Karty (Stanford), Andrew Stein (Southern Miss) Brock Travelstead (Louisville)

Doak Walker Award - Running Back of the Week

Kansas State running back DJ Giddens rushed for a career-high 207 yards and four touchdowns and caught eight passes for another 86 yards as the Wildcats spoiled UCF’s Big 12 Conference debut, 44-31, in Manhattan. The performance earned him the Doak Walker National Running Back of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 23.

The 6-1, 212-pound sophomore from Junction City, Kan., scored three first-half touchdowns on runs of 1, 9, 18 yards as K-State took a 21- 17 into the halftime locker room. He later added a 3-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter that helped seal the win.

Yet perhaps his biggest play on the night that included 293 scrimmage yards was a 16-yard catch-and-run that converted a key third down and led to a tie-breaking touchdown in the third quarter. The 30 carries also marked a career high and Giddens who scored multiple rushing touchdowns in a game for the first time in his career.

The Wildcats (3-1) will enjoy a week off before traveling to Oklahoma State for a Friday night tilt on Oct. 6.

Other candidates for the honor in Week 4 included:

  • Rasheen Ali, Marshall: Ali finished with 174 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Thundering Herd to a 24-17 win over ACC foe Virginia Tech. For the second straight week, the junior from Cleveland, Ohio, notched a 56-yard touchdown run, this one a second quarter burst that gave Marshall the lead for good.

  • Peny Boone, Toledo: Boone rushed for a career-high 211 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-31 win over Western Michigan, the most yards by a Rocket since Bryant Koback rushed for 259 yards vs. Eastern Michigan in 2019. The junior from Detroit, Mich., and Maryland transfer earned the bulk of his yardage in the fourth quarter, rushing for 132 yards in the final period.

  • Emmanuel Michel, Air Force: Michel, a senior fullback from Lawrenceville, Ga., carried 33 times for 148 yards and three touchdowns – all career highs – and the first time he has had back-to-back games with a touchdown and 100 yards as Air Force topped San Jose State, 45-20, last Thursday.

  • Ashton Jeanty, Boise State: Jeanty rushed for a career-high 205 yards and scored two touchdowns as Boise State defeated San Diego State, 34-31, on Friday. The sophomore from Jacksonville, Fla., and Texas transfer is the first Bronco to rush for more than 200 yards since 2018, and he accounted for 12 of BSU’s 19 first downs.

  • Ismail Mahdi, Texas State: Mahdi’s career-high 216 rushing yards helped Texas State overcome a 17-0 halftime deficit to beat Nevada, 35-24 – the program’s largest come-from-behind win in its FBS history. The sophomore from Plano, Texas, and Houston Christian transfer averaged 10.3 yards per rushing attempt (21 carries) and added two catches for 40 yards to finish with 256 all-purpose yards.

Weekly Winners:
Week 4: DJ Giddens, Kansas State
Week 3:
Trevor Etienne, Florida
Week 2: Omarion Hampton, North Carolina
Week 1: Dylan Edwards, Colorado

Bronko Nagurski - Defensive Player of the Week

Kentucky cornerback Maxwell Hairston set a school record and tied a Southeastern Conference record with two interception returns for touchdowns Saturday in the Wildcats’ 45-28 win at Vanderbilt. For the 29- and 54-yard scoring returns plus an all-around game that included four tackles and three pass breakups, Hairston earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games during the weekend of Sept. 23, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

The scoring plays were a bit of payback for Hairston, a 6-1, 181-pound sophomore from West Bloomfield, Mich. Hairston, a freshman at the time inserted in reserve of an injured starter, gave up a long pass that set up the winning touchdown in Vanderbilt’s upset 24-21 win last season. Hairston’s revenge struck twice on Saturday.

On Vanderbilt’s second possession Hairston broke on a floating pass near the sideline for his first interception and easily raced 29 yards untouched for the touchdown that gave Kentucky a 14-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, he snatched a pass near the same sideline and weaved his way 54 yards to the end zone that sealed the Wildcats’ win.

Two of Hairston's three breakups came on series that ended in punts. Hairston also helped keep short completions from turning into long plays, as all four of his tackles came on plays of 11 yards or less. Hairston’s two picks were among three Kentucky takeaways. On the season, Hairston has 23 tackles, one tackle for loss, three interceptions, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Kentucky has a recent winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy in linebacker Josh Allen from the 2018 season. He is the Wildcats’ lone player to earn the award or be a finalist, and is the last Kentucky defensive player to earn FWAA All-America honors. The previous Kentucky defender to earn FWAA All-America honors prior to Allen was defensive lineman Art Still in 1977 – ironically, both players were recruited from New Jersey.

Weekly Winners:
Week 4: Maxwell Hairston, CB, Kentucky
Week 3: Carlton Johnson, DB, Fresno State
Week 2:
Ron Stone, Jr., EDGE, Washington State
Week 1: Travis Hunter, CB, Colorado