Navy's Chris Kuhar-Pitters named National Defensive Player of the Week
Nov. 8, 2007
ATLANTA (November 7, 2007) - Navy finally beat Notre Dame 46-44 in triple overtime on Saturday, ending the Fighting Irish's NCAA-record winning streak against the Midshipmen at 43 games.
Navy defensive end Chris Kuhar-Pitters played a crucial role in sinking the Irish with two game-changing plays. The two teams traded touchdowns most of the day and had just traded missed field goals when Kuhar-Pitters came up with his first big play early in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame quarterback Evan Sharpley dropped back to pass and while being wrapped up by nose guard Nate Frazier, defensive end Michael Walsh knocked the ball loose. Kuhar-Pitters scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 16 yards into the end zone to give the Midshipmen a 28-21 lead.
Late in the fourth quarter with the score tied at 28, Tom Zbikowski of the Irish returned a punt 32 yards to the Navy 38. The Irish drove to the 24, but on fourth-and-eight Weis decided to go for it rather than attempt a go-ahead field goal. Kuhar-Pitters sacked Evan Sharpley with 45 seconds left forcing the game into three overtimes that resulted in a long-awaited Navy triumph.
For his stellar play, Navy's Chris Kuhar-Pitters is awarded the "MCS Nike Game Ball" for the National Defensive Player of the Week.
Each week during the 2007 college football season, the 17 Master Football Coaches will award an MCS Nike Game Ball to the respective schools of a National Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Week. The Master Coaches will also present a game ball to the offensive and defensive coordinator whose game plans made the biggest impact in their respective teams' victory.
In addition to Kuhar-Pitters, the Master Football Coaches will also award MCS Nike Game Balls to Arkansas running back Darren McFadden, UConn kicker returner Tyvon Branch, Kansas Offensive Coordinator Ed Warriner and Florida State Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews.
Offense Darren McFadden, RB Arkansas
Arkansas' Darren McFadden rejoined the Heisman Trophy race in a big way. McFadden ran for an SEC-record tying 321 yards Saturday night, helping Arkansas to a 48-36 win over South Carolina.
McFadden ran for a touchdown and also threw for one, while running mate Felix Jones rushed for 163 yards and three TDs for the Razorbacks. Arkansas led 21-3 after the first quarter, and although the Gamecocks rallied in the second half, they never could stop the Hogs' running game, especially McFadden. The junior running back tied the SEC record of 321 yards set by Vanderbilt's Frank Mordica in 1978. After South Carolina scored to make it 42-36 with 8:15 to play, McFadden answered 11 seconds later with an 80-yard touchdown run. McFadden joined Georgia's Herschel Walker as the only SEC players to run for 1,000 as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
Special Teams Tyvon Branch, KR Connecticut
UConn defeated Rutgers 38-19 Saturday giving the Huskies an 8-1 record for the first time in their 109-year history. Special teams play was crucial for the Huskies as they accounted for nine points, with a safety to start the scoring on a blocked punt and a 97-yard kickoff return by Tyvon Branch.
Early in the second quarter, after consuming almost seven minutes on its drive, Rutgers had to settle for a field goal cutting the lead to 18-6. UConn's Branch received the ensuing kickoff on the 3-yard line and sprinted down the left side for 97 yards for his second return for a touchdown this season. Branch's kickoff return kept the Huskies' momentum and gave them an insurmountable lead.
Offensive Coordinator Ed Warriner, Kansas
First year offensive coordinator Ed Warinner has really ignited the Kansas offense. Sophomore quarterback Todd Reesing threw a school-record six touchdown passes and had 354 yards through the air, while senior fullback Brandon McAnderson gained 125 yards on the ground and four touchdowns as Kansas beat Nebraska, 76-39 in Lawrence on Saturday. The Jayhawk win broke a 36-game losing streak against the once mighty Huskers.
Fifth-ranked Kansas set numerous offensive records en route to earning their ninth victory of the season to improve to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the Big 12. After a three-and-out on their opening drive, the Jayhawks scored on their next 11 possessions. KU's 76 points were the most scored against a conference opponent. The Jayhawks recorded 34 first downs, tied for the most in school history and ran 90 offensive plays, which was six away from matching a school record. As a team, KU gained 572 yards, including 218 on the ground.
Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews, Florida State
FSU Linebacker Geno Hayes returned Matt Ryan's third interception for a 38-yard touchdown with 1:10 to play on Saturday night to help Florida State beat Boston College 27-17, ending the Eagles' run at an unbeaten season and shaking up the BCS standings yet again. The Seminoles' defense, led by veteran defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews, made the big plays to thwart the Eagles every time they tried to make a comeback behind Ryan. Florida State forced four costly turnovers, of which three were interceptions.
Ryan was picked off once in the first quarter inside the Seminoles 10. He also threw an interception early in the third that allowed Florida State to move into position for a 40-yard field goal that made it 10-0. Late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles trailed 20-17, and Ryan moved the Eagles out to the 33 before Hayes stripped the ball from BC's Ryan Purvis on a pass and took it for a touchdown to seal the Seminoles upset victory.
About the Master Coaches Survey
The Master Coaches Survey, an advisory poll comprised of 17 former college football coaches, includes 11 College Football Hall of Fame Members and represents eight national championships and over 3,000 victories combined. Based on the MCS system, the voters review all of the relevant game tapes following each week of competition, discuss each teams' performance during a weekly conference call, then establish a ranking of the Top 25 teams. The Master Coaches Poll Top 25 can be found on the MCS website (www.mcspoll.com), including a breakdown of how the coaches voted.
As part of their selection process, the coaches not only attend games across the nation, but spend countless hours reviewing the DVDs of the previous weekend's match-ups. Through this extensive process, the expert panel of coaches also selects the top players and assistant coaches who will be awarded game balls each week. The Master Coaches Survey is proud to announce that Nike has become the official provider of the MCS Game Balls.