The Southwestern Athletic Conference recognized their players of the week on Monday and two Hornets were recognized, even after a 30-23 loss at Jackson State on Saturday.
Among those honored were tailback Isaiah Crowell and defensive tackle Derrick Billups. Crowell, along with Jackson State receiver Zach Pendleton, were WAC co-offensive players of the week, while Billups was the defensive player of the week. Other honors went to Jackson State punter Darcy Williamson as the special teams player of the week and Mississippi Valley State’s Davon Jones as the newcomer of the week.
It’s not often players are honored in losing efforts but both Crowell and Billups turned in pretty special performances.
Crowell tied an Alabama State career high with 18 carries and turned in the best performance of his collegiate career with a 179-yard performance that included an 84-yard touchdown run in the first half. In the process, he went over the 1,000-yard mark at Alabama State.
Pendleton finished with six receptions for a game-high 177 yards and two touchdowns, earning offensive most player honors in the W.C. Gorden Classic.
Billups was just as impressive on the defensive side of the ball, recording an incredible team-high 12 tackles, virtually unheard of for a defensive lineman. In addition to establishing an obvious career high in the process, he also recorded a sack, forced two fumbles, a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup.
Williamson, the Jackson State punter, outdueled All-American Bobby Wenzig from Alabama State in Saturday’s game. The Australian native had a 41.9-yard average on eight punts despite a shanked punt in the second quarter, turning in his best performance in the fourth quarter with a career-long punt of 81 yards that pinned Alabama State back on the 2-yard line. While his first seven were noteworthy, the eighth one earned him the honor and won the game for the Tigers. Two plays later, an Alabama State safety sealed the victory.
Jones, a junior-college transfer, had a pair of interceptions and six tackles from his defensive back position.
One other noteworthy contribution for the Hornets came from Myles Everett, inserted this week as one of two return specialists on the kickoff team. Everett consistently made exciting returns on Saturday, putting some spark in the Hornets’ return game. His 86-yard return for a touchdown in the second half brought the Hornets back into the contest, setting up a fourth-quarter rally attempt that fell short.