Complete Release here
Players of the Week
Willie Thornton, Texas A&M-Commerce, Jr., Wide Receiver, Belle Glade, Fla./UCF/Belle Glade
Thornton set a single-game record with 266 yards receiving and a 98-yard touchdown reception in the Lions' 38-14 win over Eastern New Mexico. His 266 yards eclipsed the previous mark of 259 yards receiving. He tied the school record of Epps with four touchdown receptions.
Cory Whitfield, Texas A&M-Commerce, Jr., Defensive Back, Palestine, Texas/Kilgore JC
Facing the spread offense of Eastern New Mexico, Whitfield made a season-best seven tackles. Broke off a block for a leaping interception in the first quarter that led to the first A&M-Commerce touchdown. He also was a member of an A&M-Commerce defense that recorded seven sacks, 13 tackles for minus yardage, forced two fumbles and picked off three passes.
North Special Teams
Juan Velasco, Texas A&M-Commerce, Jr., Kicker, Santa Maria, Calif./Allen Hancock College
Velasco handled all the kicking duties in the Lions' 38-14 win over Eastern New Mexico. He was 4-for-5 on PAT attempts and had a season-high eight punts, including a season-best 59-yard kick. Three of his eight punts landed inside-the-20.
Marcus Mathis, Midwestern State, So., Running Back, Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall
Mathis' huge second half keyed a 21-0 Midwestern State surge as the Mustangs rolled past No. 21 Newberry 24-10. Mathis rushed for 111 of his career-high 140 yards in the second half as MSU turned a 10-0 deficit into a two-touchdown win. The sophomore from Rockwall's 27-yard touchdown run with 2:24 to go in the third quarter gave the Mustangs their first lead of the game at 17-10, then his 60-yard burst in the middle of the fourth quarter keyed Midwestern's three-play, 73-yard TD drive that put away the game with 6:20 remaining. Mathis produced his fourth career 100-yard rushing effort against a defense came into the weekend as NCAA Division II's ninth best rushing defense allowing 61.5 yards per game including contests against No. 1 Valdosta State and North Greenville.
Billy Malone, Abilene Christian, Sr., Quarterback, Paris, Texas/North Lamar
Malone posted the highest single-game completion percentage of his career (89.5 percent on 17 of 19 passing) as he threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns Saturday night to lead the fourth-ranked Wildcats to a 59-10 blowout win at Southeastern Oklahoma. Most of Malone's damage came in the first half when he completed 15 of 17 passes for 303 yards and three scores before the Wildcats turned the game over to running back Bernard Scott in the third quarter and the reserves in the fourth quarter. Malone - already the LSC's all-time leading passer, now with 9,799 yards - also broke two other LSC records in the win as he became the LSC and ACU all-time leader in touchdown passes (87) and became the LSC's all-time leader in total offense (9,808 yards).
Jabir Perkins, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Sr., Safety, Dallas, Texas/Irving Nimitz
The Javelinas have forced nine turnovers this year with Perkins having a hand in five of them. He picked off two passes, made a team high seven tackles and picked up his first sack of the season against Northeastern State last week. He is now tied for first in the LSC with three interceptions on the season.
Mike Kern, Abilene Christian, Sr., Linebacker, Leander, Texas/Leander
Kern had five tackles, one-half tackle for loss and a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown in fourth-ranked ACU's 59-10 win at Southeastern Oklahoma. After ACU had taken a 7-0 lead, the Savage Storm drove right back down the field where they had second-and-goal at the ACU 6-yard line. However, Kern stepped in front of a Brandon McCain pass at the 1-yard line, cut to the left sideline and went 99 yards for the score to turn a potential tie game into a 14-0 ACU lead. The touchdown return marked the second straight week in which Kern had scored after he scored on a 35-yard fumble return for a TD two weeks ago against A&M-C. That return was the longest interception for a touchdown in school history, topping the 98-yard touchdown return for a touchdown by Jan Brown against Howard Payne in 1973. The return tied Stacy Brown's 99-yard return against New Mexico Highlands for the longest return in school history. Kern was a big part of an ACU defensive effort that limited the Savage Storm to just 279 yards of total offense on 72 total plays, an average of just 3.9 yards per play.
South Special Teams
Roderick Smith, Tarleton State, Jr., RB/KR, Mesquite, Texas/West HS
Smith fielded a kickoff at the Tarleton seven and returned it 93 yards as time expired in the first half to put the Texans up 28-17 after UCO had just scored on a field goal to cut the lead to 21-17. He had 212 all-purpose yards to lead all players.