Story courtesy of Conference USA
Photo courtesy of Tulane Athletics
After setting a school record with 466 passing yards and five touchdowns in a victory over UAB, Tulane senior QB Ryan Griffin has been named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week. The Defensive Player of the Week went to Houston senior DB D.J. Hayden, who had two interceptions, including one that he returned for a score in a win over UTEP. Special teams recognition was given to UCF senior KR Quincy McDuffie, who became the first C-USA player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game. C-USA Football Players of the Week are voted on by a panel of the league's media.
Griffin threw for a school-record 466 yards and tallied a career-high five touchdown passes as Tulane defeated UAB, 55-45. Completing 34-of-42 passes, Griffin eclipsed the previous mark of 447 established by former record-setting Green Wave quarterback Patrick Ramsey against Army on Sept. 18, 1999. Griffin threw for 271 yards and four touchdown passes in the first half and added 195 yards and one score in the second half. Griffin's record-setting effort highlighted a game that saw Tulane pile up 619 yards of total offense - the most by a Green Wave squad since the 1998 team rolled up 633 in the regular-season finale against Louisiana Tech. For his effort, Griffin was also named an ESPN Prime Time Performer and received an ESPN Helmet Sticker.
Hayden picked off two passes, including one that he returned 97 yards for a touchdown, in Houston's 45-35 win over UTEP. One week after recording a pick-six against SMU, Hayden ended a pivotal UTEP drive with his 97-yard return to put Houston up 28-7. The return was Hayden's second pick of the game after he ended UTEP's third drive on just one play, picking off Nick Lamaison on Houston's 39-yard line. The Cougar offense would turn the interception around into a touchdown and an early 14-0 lead. Hayden also finished with four tackles and one pass break up.
McDuffie tied an NCAA record (it has happened 17 times in NCAA history, including twice Saturday) and became the first player in C-USA and UCF history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a single game during UCF's 54-17 win at Marshall. The senior had returns of 98 and 97 yards, and they both came at important points of the game. After Marshall got on the board at 3-0 in the first quarter, McDuffie returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards to give UCF the lead. The Herd then scored right before halftime to capture some momentum and trim the Knights' lead to 27-10, but McDuffie opened the second half with a 98-yard return for six points and UCF never looked back.