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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Commentary

Helmet stickers: Broken record and comebacks highlight this week’s awards


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Sophomore quarterback Kyle Postma led the Cougars back from a 20-point deficit against Memphis, earning him some helmet stickers. | File photo/The Cougar

In every football game, there are players who have an outstanding performance or play worthy of recognition regardless of the final outcome.

In this series, the Cougar staff will be presenting players across the American Athletic Conference with helmet stickers as a reward for their play.

USF sophomore running back Marlon Mack

Mack was simply unstoppable in the University of South Florida’s 44-23 upset of then-No. 22 Temple University Saturday, exploding for 230 yards and three touchdowns on the ground while adding three receptions for 42 yards and another score.

Following his performance, Mack was named the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week and the National Performer of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards.

His rushing yardage total is the highest by an AAC player this season and the second highest in league history, behind his own 275-yard effort in his collegiate debut against Western Carolina a year ago.

USF’s win moves the Bulls one game behind the Owls in the East Division, which marks the team’s first win against a ranked opponent since 2010 and makes them bowl eligible for the first time since 2011.

Final tally: four helmet stickers

 

UH senior linebacker Elandon Roberts

Roberts was all over the field for the Cougar defense in their comeback 35-34 upset of the No. 21 University of Memphis at TDECU Stadium, finishing with a career-high 18 tackles, including a sack and two tackles for a loss.

The senior linebacker’s biggest contribution of the night, however, came on a fourth quarter interception of Tiger quarterback Paxton Lynch, following a turnover on downs from the Cougar offense.

The pick set up the team with a short field and swung momentum back in the Cougars’ favor with 5:49 left to play.

For his performance, Roberts was named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week and the AutoNation National Defensive Player of the Week by the Football Writers Association of America.

Final tally: three helmet stickers

 

UH sophomore quarterback Kyle Postma

This may be a bit of a home pick, but for a backup quarterback to come off the bench and lead his team to a win over a ranked opponent after they had done next to nothing offensively beforehand is a noteworthy performance.

Postma, who had been playing wide receiver, was forced back into the backup quarterback role after the Cougars lost their primary backup earlier in the year. He was asked to step into the game mid-drive with his team down 20-0 with 1:21 left in the first half.

That is no small task for even a veteran QB, but the sophomore delivered for his team. He moved the team down the field and finished that drive off with a beautiful 30-yard pass over the defender for the first touchdown of the game for the Cougars.

The comeback was sparked.

It may not have been a flawless performance, but the backup quarterback out shined the starter and got the job done, while completing 21 of 33 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown to go along with a team-high 49 rushing yards and the game-winning touchdown on the ground.

Final tally: three helmet stickers

 

Navy senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds

The Midshipmen quarterback made his presence known with a 137-yard, four touchdown performance on the ground and 81-yards with one score through the air in Navy’s 55-14 win over Southern Methodist University on Saturday.

Reynolds’ play earned him multiple honors, including the Naval Academy Athletic Association Athlete of the Week award, the Manning Award Star of the Week award and Davey O’Brien “Great 8” performance list honors.

Most importantly, the senior made history. Reynolds’ four rushing scores give him the new NCAA career rushing touchdown record with 81, moving Wisconsin’s Monte Ball to second on the list with 77.

Final tally: five helmet stickers

With just two weeks left in the college football season, there is still time for more players to help their teams position for the postseason and shine individually as well, but topping this week’s list will be a tall order.

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