Your final OVC offensive players of the week.
Jake Ryan, QB • Sr., 6-2, 205 • Knoxville, Tenn. • Austin Peay
Ryan capped his Austin Peay career by completing 27-of-38 passes for 310 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in the Governors 38-31 victory over Tennessee Tech. The win was the first over a Division I opponent this season for the team and snapped a 12-game OVC losing streak dating back to the beginning of last season. Three of his four touchdown passes went to senior Devin Stark, including a 23-yard strike in the third quarter that extended the Govs lead to 38-7 (after the team had led 31-0 at halftime). The 38 points were the most ever scored by Austin Peay in 46 all-time meetings with Tennessee Tech. In the process Ryan became just the second Austin Peay quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards in his career and he also moved into second place on the APSU career completions list (497). Over his final eight games of the season Ryan tossed 16 touchdowns against only three interceptions.
Quentin Sims, WR • Sr., 6-3, 202 • Cincinnati, Ohio • UT Martin
Sims set the OVC single-season receiving touchdown record (16) in UT Martin’s season finale victory over No. 23 Tennessee State. The senior caught eight passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns as the Skyhawks won 35-26 to finish the season 8-3 overall (6-2 OVC). Sims caught a 32-yard touchdown pass with 10:58 to play in the first quarter and added a season-long 50-yard touchdown three minutes later to put UTM up 14-0. His final touchdown of the day, a 33-yarder, came with 1:10 to play and put the game out of reach. The 16 touchdown catches in a season broke the previous record of 15 held by each Southeast Missouri’s Willie Ponder (2002) and Samford’s Efrem Hill (2003). Sims caught at least one touchdown pass in every Skyhawk game in 2012 and finished the year with 86 catches (sixth-most in OVC history) for 1,092 yards (10th-most in OVC history).
Others Nominated: Erik Lora, Eastern Illinois; Kevyn Cooper, Jacksonville State; Levi Terrell, Southeast Missouri; Michael German, Tennessee State; Darian Stone, Tennessee Tech.
Artavious Dowdell, DE • Sr., 6-2, 230 • Belle Glade, Fla. • Eastern Illinois
Dowdell recorded seven tackles (six solo), 4.0 tackles-for-loss, 2.0 sacks and forced two fumbles in Eastern Illinois’ 48-30 loss at No. 10 Central Arkansas on Saturday night. Both of the forced fumbles came in UCA territory and both were converted into EIU touchdowns. The senior ranks 25th nationally in sacks/game (0.68) and 27th in tackles-for-loss/game (1.23).
Brandon Wicks, LB • Jr., 5-11, 195 • Murray, Ky. • Murray State
Wicks tallied a career-high 16 tackles, including 12 solo stops, in Murray State’s 42-35 victory over Southeast Missouri on Saturday. The junior also added 1.5 tackles-for-loss and 0.5 sacks. He was part of a defensive unit that limited the Redhawks to 91 yards passing on the day.
Others Nominated: Ernest Smith, Austin Peay; Ben Endress, Jacksonville State; Nick Thrasher, Tennessee State; Ben Johnson, UT Martin.
Walter Powell, RS • Jr., 6-2, 180 • St. Louis, Mo. • Murray State
Powell set a NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) record with a 100-yard punt return in Murray State’s 42-35 victory over Southeast Missouri on Saturday. The return came with 9:09 to play in the second quarter and put the Racers up 14-3. It marked the first-ever 100-yard punt return since the FCS was formed in 1978; the previous long punt returns were 98 yards by each Barney Bussey of South Carolina State (1981) and Willie Ware of Mississippi Valley State (1985). It tied the OVC all-time record, also held by Murray State’s Phil Foster (set in 1959, prior to the formation of the FCS). It was Powell’s second punt return for a touchdown on the season. Powell finished the day with 302 all-purpose yards, gaining 134 yards on three kick returns (including an 83-yarder), 117 yards on two punt returns and catching four passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. Powell currently ranks second nationally in all-purpose yards (193.0/game), fifth in punt returns (15.84 yards/return) and 19th in kickoff returns (26.26 yards/return).
Others Nominated: Scott Weatherford, Eastern Illinois; Hamish MacInnes, Jacksonville State; Jamin Godfrey, Tennessee State; Chad Zinchini, Tennessee Tech; Jason McNair, UT Martin.
Alex Helms, LB • R-Jr., 6-2, 228 • Naperville, Ill. • Eastern Illinois
Helms, the transfer from Concordia University, had a season-high 16 tackles in Eastern Illinois’ regular season finale at No. 10 Central Arkansas on Saturday. Starting for an injured Robert Hayes at middle linebacker, the redshirt junior made 14 solo stops and recovered a fumble in the first half that led to a Panthers touchdown. Helms had entered the game with just 18 total tackles in the previous 10 games of the season. The 16 total tackles are tied for sixth-most by an OVC player in a game this season.
Others Nominated: Adam Noble, Austin Peay; Hamish MacInnes, Jacksonville State; Jaamal Berry, Murray State; Scott Lathrop, Southeast Missouri; A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State; Ladarius Vanlier, Tennessee Tech; Jordan Landry, UT Martin.