Welcome to the first installment of MAC players of the week in the 2019 season. The week went about as expected, a close win against an FCS opponent, the MAC favorite losing to another G5 opponent, and losing by 71 to Ohio State. Normal weekend stuff.
Despite that, some players were great on Saturday. Some of them won’t be the official best as stated below like, Dustin Crum for Kent State, LeVante Bellamy from Western Michigan, and Justin Hall from Ball State. They were great, just not quite good enough.
Quarterback of the Week
Mitchell Guadagni – Toledo
Mitchell wasn’t great through the air, only 111 yards on 6 of 15, but he ran all over Colorado State. He scored a touchdown rushing for 119 yards. Guadagni doesn’t always take off but when he does, he can really take off. In 2018, he broke 100 yards twice and ran for 73 at Kentucky in week 1.
Guadagni needs to be more consistent throwing the ball in MAC play. I don’t think that’s a debate. This performance was good enough to pull out a win on the road. His mobility is definitely a plus. Mobile quarterbacks can give defenses real headaches, looking at you Western Michigan.
Running Back of the Week
Bryant Koback – Toledo
Toledo’s offensive coordinator Brian Wright figured out that he doesn’t need to throw the ball to win at Colorado State. So he didn’t. Toledo ran the ball 46 times and Bryant Koback got 19 carries and averaged 12 yards per carry. Most of the time when a 12-yard average shows up in the box score, a guy has 2 carries for 24 yards and a long of 20. Koback ran for 228 yards.
Throw in touchdown runs of 37 yards, 75 yards, and 47 yards on three consecutive drives to start the second half. Koback was on fire. On those three long touchdown runs, he was only touched on one. Touched is the technical definition there. A safety took a terrible angle and barely got his arm on the way to the endzone. Koback leads the MAC in yards per game.
Wide Reciever of the Week
Giovanni Ricci – Western Michigan
Giovanni Ricci is Jon Wassink’s security blanket like any good tight end should be. Ricci finished Saturday with 8 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown against Syracuse. He led the Bronco receivers in catches and yards.
He was counted on big moments and came through. Half of his catches came on 3rd or 4th down and was targeted on 7 total. A couple of those plays were really long conversions and important at that moment. Ricci should be fun to watch as the calendar turns to MAC play.
Tackle For Loss Leader
Saeed Holt – Toledo
Saeed Holt is listed as a safety and had a sack and three total tackles for a loss. He was in on 12 total tackles that night. Those are linebacker numbers. He’s fourth in the conference in tackles for loss per game. This big game obviously helped. The Rockets really had some superstars show out in Colorado.
Volume Tackler of the Week
Jacob White – Ball State
Jacob White was everywhere making a solo tackle. He had more solo tackles than anyone in the game had total tackles. White totaled 18 tackles and 14 solo tackles. One tackle was for a one-yard loss. The redshirt senior leads the MAC in total tackles and tackles per game.
Pass Defender of the Week
Jamal Parker – Kent State
The only player to have two interceptions this week was Jamal Parker. Kent State won the Battle for the Anniversary Award, what a name for a rivalry game, and won the turnover battle on the back of Parker’s pics. Kent State steamrolled Bowling Green. The interceptions came early in the game and killed the will of the fighting Loeffler’s.
Returner of the Week
Matthew Sexton – Eastern Michigan
I was hoping this would make the article somehow. Eastern Michigan, a week after beating Illinois, found themselves down one point to Central Connecticut. The forced a punt with 18 seconds left. Maybe enough time for a good punt return and a hail mary. Matthew Sexton had a better idea.
He came off the left side untouched and blocked the punt into the ground. He caught it on the bounce and ran it the 30-ish yards to the endzone. Game. Winner. Eastern is 3-1 with that win and starts conference play with Central Michigan after a bye.