GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – A pair of Duke student-athletes have been honored as Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week following the Blue Devils’ 38-35 road win at Notre Dame on Saturday.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors, while Shaun Wilson was named the Specialist of the Week after they led Duke’s comeback from an early two-touchdown deficit to the program’s first-ever win in South Bend.
North Carolina also had two players recognized following their ACC and school record-setting performances in the Tar Heels’ 37-36 win over Pitt, as quarterback Mitch Trubisky was tabbed the ACC Offensive Back of the Week and Ryan Switzer the Receiver of the Week.
Florida State’s Roderick Johnson (Offensive Lineman), Virginia Tech’s Ken Ekanem (Defensive Lineman), Syracuse’s Zaire Franklin (Linebacker) and Wake Forest’s Jessie Bates (Defensive Back) complete the ACC’s list of weekly honorees for Sept. 26.
UNC’s Trubisky was also named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, giving the ACC three recipients of that award in the first four weeks of the season.
The ACC Football Player of the Week selections are determined by a vote of a 14-member media panel. Selections are announced via Facebook.com/theACC Mondays at noon by the ACC Digital Network. Be sure to like Facebook.com/theACC and opt in for live alerts to be the first to be notified.
OFFENSIVE BACK – Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina, Jr., QB, 6-3, 225, Mentor, Ohio
Trubisky completed 35 of 46 passes for 453 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in Saturday’s 37-36 win over Pitt. In addition to directing a game-ending drive and throwing the winning touchdown pass with two seconds to play, he set career highs for completions, pass attempts, passing yards and touchdown passes. Trubisky tied the school record for TD passes in a game and set an ACC and school record with 30 consecutive completions over two games (final 18 attempts Sept. 17 vs. James Madison, first 12 vs. Pitt). Trubisky’s 453 passing yards were the second-most in for a single game in UNC history behind Marquise Williams’ 494 versus Duke in 2015. UNC has played 1,271 football games, and Trubisky posted the school’s second- and fourth-highest single-game passing yardage totals in a span of eight days (432 yards versus James Madison, 453 versus Pitt).
In Saturday’s 55-35 win over USF, Johnson led an offensive line effort that paved the way for 478 yards rushing – the nation’s highest single game performance this season – and 647 yards of total offense – the most by the Seminoles since 2012. Johnson had the offensive line’s top grade and opened holes for Dalvin Cook’s incredible day (267 rushing yards, 329 total yards, two TDs). Jacques Patrick added 124 yards and a score on the ground, while quarterback Deondre Francois had 75 yards on the ground and 169 yards passing. FSU came within one yard of tying the school record for rushing yards in the road victory.
RECEIVER – Ryan Switzer, North Carolina, Sr., WR, 5-10, 185, Charleston, W. Va.
Switzer tied the ACC and school record with 16 receptions for a career-high 208 yards and one touchdown in the Tar Heels’ 37-36 win over Pitt. Only eight other ACC players have caught 16 passes in a single game. Switzer also became the sixth Tar Heel to have 200-plus receiving yards in a game. His previous high was 136 against Georgia Tech in 2014. It was his seventh career game with 100 or more receiving yards. Switzer ranks in the top 10 in UNC history in receptions (third) and receiving yards (fifth) and touchdown receptions (t-seventh).
DEFENSIVE LINE – Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech, Sr.-r, DE, 6-3, 255, Centreville, Va.
Ekanem led a stout defensive effort as the Hokies recorded six quarterback sacks and 16 total tackles for loss while limiting East Carolina to 81 net rushing yards in Saturday’s 54-17 win at Lane Field. Ekanem recorded two of Virginia Tech’s sacks, including a takedown of ECU quarterback James Summers in the third quarter that resulted in a safety and a 40-7 lead for the Hokies. Ekanem finished with five total tackles and added a pair of quarterback hurries.
Franklin made a career-high 14 tackles, including a season-best 2.5 tackles for loss, in Syracuse’s 31-24 victory at Connecticut. He also had one pass breakup. Franklin was involved in two of the game’s most pivotal plays. With the scored tied at 17 late in the third quarter, Franklin tipped UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs’ pass into the waiting arms of cornerback Cordell Hudson, who returned the ball 22 yards for a touchdown to give Syracuse a 24-17 lead. Then, midway through the fourth quarter and Huskies down seven, Franklin stopped Shirreffs for a gain of just one yard on fourth-and-goal from the SU 2-yard line. The Orange offense took over after the defensive stand and put together a 99-yard scoring drive to put the game out of reach.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Jessie Bates, Wake Forest, Fr-r., SS, 6-2, 200, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Bates played his first college football game in his home state and did not disappoint as the Deacons claimed a 33-28 win at Indiana on Saturday. Bates had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. He totaled 94 yards in returns, including his 55-yard return for a score. He led the team with eight tackles, returned two punts for a total of two yards, and recovered Indiana’s final on-side kick. In the first quarter with Wake Forest trailing 7-0, Bates intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it 39 yards, leading to a Deacon touchdown that tied the game. With the game tied at 7-7 in the second quarter, Bates intercepted a pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown to give Wake Forest a 14-7 lead.
Wilson returned four kickoffs for 163 yards (40.75), including a 96-yard return for a touchdown, in the Blue Devils’ 38-35 win at Notre Dame. Filling in for injured three-time All-America kick returner DeVon Edwards and with Duke trailing, 14-0, in the opening quarter, Wilson delivered his 96-yard scoring return, which jump-started a 28-7 spurt as Duke claimed a 28-21 advantage at halftime. Jones’ runback matched the 14th longest kickoff return in school history, and he posted the eighth highest single-game kickoff return average (minimum three returns) in school history. He added 66 yards rushing on 13 attempts.
Jones spearheaded Duke – a three-touchdown underdog – to a 38-35 road win over Notre Dame as the Blue Devils rallied from deficits of 14 points in the first quarter and seven points in the fourth quarter. Jones completed 24-of-32 passes for 290 yards with three touchdowns and one interception while rushing for an additional 19 yards on five attempts. Jones engineered Duke’s game-winning 10-play, 44-yard drive, which culminated in AJ Reed’s 19-yard field goal with 1:24 remaining in the game. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Jones threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to WR Anthony Nash to tie the game, 35-35, with 6:47 left. Jones matched the school single-game record for scoring passes of 20-plus yards with touchdown tosses to Nash (32 and 64 yards) and Quay Chambers (25 yards).