NEC Football Players of the Week (I)

As reported earlier by Duquesne, first year wide receiver Dave Williams was named one of the Northeast Conference's offensive players of the week following the league's nine teams' openers. The other is senior running back James Mallory from Central Connecticut State. And the other awardees ...

Northeast Conference Players of the Week
Week One - September 8, 2009

Offensive Players of the Week

    James Mallory, Central Connecticut State
    SR, RB, 5-10, 200, Buffalo, N.Y./Kenmore West

    Mallory ran for 117 yards and a touchdown as the Blue Devils opened their 2009 season with a 28-21 victory on the road at Lehigh last Saturday. In the process, co-captain Mallory became the fourth player to surpass the 2,000 career rushing mark for the Blue Devils. Eight of Mallory's carries resulted in either a first down or a score as CCSU held possession for over 44 minutes. The 100-yard rushing performance was the 10th of his career, all in the last 12 games.

    Dave Williams, Duquesne
    JR, WR, 5-10, 185, Monroeville, Pa./Gateway/Michigan State

    Williams, a first-year Michigan State transfer, caught 11 passes for 145 yards - including a 35-yard third quarter TD that proved to be the game-winner in Duquesne's 24-19 season-opening win over Bucknell on Saturday. Williams' 11 catches were two shy of the school record of 13 set by Jeremy Conley against Lafayette in 2002. The Gateway H.S. grad caught 10 passes for 138 yards from quarterback Connor Dixon. Dixon was Williams' teammate at Michigan State in 2007 before transferring to DU prior to last season.

Defensive Player of the Week

    Alex DiMichele, Robert Morris
    JR, LB, 6-2, 240, Pittsburgh, PA/Sto-Rox/Temple

    DiMichele took the ball away from VMI on three different occasions during the Colonials' heartbreaking one-point setback on opening day. The junior linebacker made 15 tackles (6 solo) and recovered a program-record three fumbles, one of which he forced. DiMichele's prime performance was a major factor in limiting Big South Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Tim Maprey and the nation's top rushing attack (357.5 ypg) from last year to only 14 points at home. Alex twice denied VMI inside Robert Morris' 25-yard line. The Temple-transfer, in his second season with the Colonials, recovered a second-quarter fumble at the RMU 23 before thwarting a first-and-goal situation from the four by forcing Howard Abegash to cough up the ball and then pouncing on it.

      The name DiMichele probably sounds familiar. His older brother, Adam, left Temple fourth on the Owls' all-time passing list with 5,024 yards. Adam got a look this preseason with the Philadelphia Eagles, prior to the signing of Michael Vick. In his one chance on the field, DiMichele was 14-for-22 for 130 yards including a 21-yard touchdown in a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts. He was cut by the Eagles on August 26th.

Special Teams Player of the Week

    Frantz Placide, Wagner
    JR, DB, 6-2, 205, Miami, FL/Archbishop Curley

    Placide provided three huge plays on special teams, two of which went for touchdowns, in an attempt to lift Wagner past Stonehill. The junior defensive back returned the game's opening kickoff 89 yards for a score. He found the end zone again midway through the second quarter when he scooped up a blocked punt and returned it 17 yards to extend Wagner's lead to 28-14. Placide's final big play of the day came with 00:48 remaining on the clock as he recovered Wagner's successful onsides kick. He returned four kickoffs for 162 yards (40.5 ypr).

Rookie of the Week

    Andrew Smith, Albany
    R-Fr., QB/RS, 6-2, 220, Schenectady, NY/Guilderland

    Smith did everything from return kickoffs to taking snaps from under center during his collegiate debut. The athletic freshman totaled 239 all-purpose yards, scored one touchdown, and set up another in Albany's last-minute loss at Georgia Southern. Smith returned six kickoffs for 140 yards, the third-highest single-game mark in the program's 10-year FCS history, and carried the ball eight times for 99 yards. His 30-yard scamper on a fake punt turned a fourth-and-four situation into a first down at the GSU 29-yard line. Six plays later, UA found the end zone to break a 10-10 tie in the final minute of the first half. Spelling quarterback Vinny Esposito, Smith engineered a five-play touchdown drive, capped by his 39-yard rush, to put the Danes ahead 23-19 with 3:36 to go in the third.