Story courtesy of the Sun Belt Conference
Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Athletics
Offensive Player of the Week
Ryan Aplin (Arkansas State, Sr., QB)
Senior quarterback Ryan Aplin recorded a school-record 454 yards of total offense, including a season-high 369 passing yards with a career-high four touchdowns, and broke the Sun Belt Conference record for career passing yards in Arkansas State’s 41-34 road victory against Troy. Aplin completed 28-of-42 passing attempts and increased his passing touchdowns’ total to 20, the second most in ASU history. His four passing touchdowns also tied the second most in school history and matched the most by a Sun Belt Conference player this year. He rushed for a season-high 85 yards as well with a 7.1 average per attempt. Aplin became the second player in Sun Belt Conference history to throw for over 10,000 yards, increasing his career total to 10,307 to move him past FAU’s Rusty Smith (10,112 yards from 2006-09) for the league record.
Defensive Player of the Week
Jajuan Harley (Middle Tennessee, r-Jr., DB)
Safety Jajuan Harley was responsible for forcing three South Alabama turnovers in Middle Tennessee’s 20-12 victory over the Jaguars. Harley also managed five tackles in the Blue Raiders victory. The Tallahassee product recorded his first interception in the first quarter, stopping a USA scoring drive. He then forced a fumble and recovered his own force to help thwart the South Alabama offense. Finally, Harley intercepted a pass in the dwindling minutes of the fourth quarter to seal the Blue Raiders fifth win on the road. Harley has 63 tackles and a team-best three interceptions in 10 games this season.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Richard Leonard (FIU, So., RS)
Leonard was lightning all night for the Panthers and was a driving force in FIU's 34-24 Sun Belt Conference road victory at Florida Atlantic. FIU had not trailed in the game until mid-way through the third quarter when FAU went ahead 17-14. The lead would be split-second brief, because on the ensuing kickoff Richard broke through the first line of Owls, found a seem through the right side of the coverage and raced a school-record 100 yards for the touchdown. Although the game had its thrilling moments the rest of the way, FIU never trailed again. On the night, Leonard had a career-high night returning the ball, totaling five returns (4 kick, 1 punt) for 181 yards. The highlight kick return was the longest by any Sun Belt Conference player in 2012, and his two returns for touchdowns this season (PR vs. Akron) places him as the only league player with two return TD's in 2012.