FRISCO, Texas – Central Arkansas’ Breylin Smith, Northwestern State’s Ja’Quay Pough and McNeese’s Bailey Raborn earned Southland Football Player of the Week honors, the league announced Monday.
For the first time in his career, Smith is the Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for a career-high 405 yards in the Bears’ 29-25 comeback victory over No. 21/25 Sam Houston State. UCA (6-2, 4-1 SLC) scored all 29 points in the second half, erasing a 16-0 halftime deficit, to take sole possession of first place in the league standings. The Bears look to continue their three-game win streak on the road against Lamar at 3 p.m. CT Saturday.
Pough picks up Defensive Player of the Week honors on the heels of a 21-tackle performance in a 44-41 upset of No. 25 UIW, becoming the first Demon in five years to top the 20-tackle mark. Among his career-high tally, he recorded 1.5 tackles for loss, including a sack. The Demons (1-7, 1-4 SLC) aim to build on their first win heading to McNeese at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Raborn cashes in on his second Special Teams Player of the Week Award of the season after accounting for nine of the Cowboys’ points in a 33-10 win over Stephen F. Austin on Saturday. He converted both of his field-goal attempts and was 3-of-4 on extra-point tries, and the junior averaged 45.8 yards on six punts. McNeese (5-4, 3-3 SLC) goes for a third-straight win in its home finale against Northwestern State at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Offensive Player of the Week: Breylin Smith, Central Arkansas – R-So. – Quarterback – Conway, Ark.
Smith wasn’t fazed by going up against one of the nation’s top defenses, throwing for a career-high 405 yards and tying a career high with four touchdown passes. After a slow start in the first half, he went 10-for-18 for 253 yards and all four scores in the second half to lead the Bears to another comeback victory.
The signal caller connected with Joe Hampton on touchdown strikes of 40 and 53 yards in the third quarter to make it a one-score game at 22-14. His third touchdown pass went for 28 yards to Carlos Blackman to knot it at 22-all, and the final score – a 15-yarder to Tyler Hudson – gave the Bears the lead with just under four minutes to go.
Honorable Mention: Sama’J Davis, Abilene Christian; Chason Virgil, Southeastern La; Donovan Williams, Sam Houston St.
Defensive Player of the Week: Ja’Quay Pough, Northwestern State – Jr. – Linebacker – Sherman, Texas
Pough doubled his total tackles figure on the year in one outing, racking up a career-best 21 stops, including 11 solo tackles in the upset of No. 25 UIW. On the first overtime series, the Cardinals had a first-and-goal from the NSU three-yard line, but Pough assisted on a tackle for loss to help the Demons hold UIW to just a field goal and set up the winning touchdown. His 21 tackles are the most by a Southland player this season and the most for a NSU student-athlete since Marion Chapman recorded 20 on Oct. 18, 2014.