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Lions’ third consecutive loss produces season’s third NJAC award winner

November 1, 2009

Becoming the third player this season to seize honors at the expense of the TCNJ defense, the New Jersey Athletic Conference dubbed SUNY-Cortland wide receiver Justin Autera its Offensive Rookie of the Week.

Extending a recent trend, the freshman has now appeared on the conference top-player weekly release for his second time in three weeks.

He garnered this week’s accolades for his effort toward the Red Dragons’ decisive win over the Lions, during which he carried five times for 67 yards. Contributing most of his ground tallies via misdirected and reverse rushes, one good for 29 yards, he bolstered his average yards per carry to 13.4 on the afternoon. He also recorded a lone reception for no gain.

The conference’s top specialist for Week 7, the freshman delivered another outstanding performance toward SUNY-Cortland’s effort in the field position battle.

Autera returned one of his four punts 51 yards to the TCNJ 27-yard line, setting up the team’s coach-turned-captain Alex Smith‘s first of two touchdown passes, a three yard lob to Eric Hanjos in the second quarter. Another, worth a solid 31 yards, he brought back to the Lions’ 29, priming an opportunity for kicker Marc Corrado‘s 40-yard field goal to extend the Red Dragon lead to 16-0.

Elsewhere in the conference, Brockport quarterback Jake Graci also earned his season’s second conference shout-out, propelling his Golden Eagles to its 59-28 win over Morrisville State. He completed just over 55% of his throws (16-of-29), but averaged 9.06 yards per attempt in the victory, snapping the program’s five-game losing skid.

The senior accounted for four touchdowns through the air–from 20, 3, 18, and 5 yards out, in time order. At week’s end Graci leads all conference passers, averaging 245 yards per game.

A compelling force in his Cougars’ comeback win this weekend, Kean safety Jamahl Williams earned honors as the NJAC’s Defensive Player of the Week.

The sophomore recorded 10 tackles (5 solo) toward the programs’ 23-20 win over Rowan–a double-overtime thriller–to maintain its seat atop the league standings (Kean 1st in NJAC). In addition to his 92-yard score by way of a kickoff return, Williams added another pick to his conference-best five interceptions.

Relishing one of the position’s rare opportunities for glory, Kean’s utility kicker Billy Daniels was named the NJAC’s top special teams player for Week 8.

During the contest–one in which every last point held the utmost importance–he converted three field goals and was perfect on his two extra-point attempts. Successful on tries from 22 and 37 earlier, Daniels’ 26-yard attempt in the its second overtime proved the game’s winning points.

Busy throughout afternoon, coaches sent the sophomore and his punting unit out on the field eight times in the game. Daniels averaged 39.1 yards per punt–one of which soared 80 yards before it was downed at the Profs’ 10-yard line.

Daniels’ currently leads the conference in converted field goals, now with 10 on the year.

A familiar face on these weekly NJAC releases, linebacker Eddie Weiser added to his season’s expansive trophy chest for his effort toward Buffalo State‘s latest installment of its conference rivalry against William Paterson University this weekend.

Unfortunately for the Weiser–this week not being an exception–all but one of performances recognized by the league’s selection committee this came during Begnals’ losses.

Earning his fourth Defensive Rookie of the Week award, the freshman recorded eight stops before reading a scoreboard that indicated an extension of his team’s lengthy losing streak–now reaching five games. The program’s winless October began one week removed from its only win this year, on  September 26 win over Western Connecticut State.

The youngster assisted on a tackle behind the line-of-scrimmage, paling in comparison to the 47-yard return following his interception.

Already leading his team in his first collegiate season, Weiser currently ranks sixth in the conference in average tackles per game (avg. 7.6 tackles/gm.).

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