By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
Aidan O’Connell of Purdue and Steven Jones Jr of Appalachian State were winners of this weeks Walter Camp National Players of the Week.
O’Connell had a monster day throwing for 536 yards while completing 40-of-54 passes for three touchdowns as Purdue defeated third-ranked Michigan State, 40-29. O’Connell’s 536 yards were the third-highest single-game total in Purdue history.
The former walk-on had the second most completions in a game in Purdue History. He also set a record for the most passing yards in a BIG10 game surpassing Drew Brees 522.
“Its not about the stats,” said O’Connell. “There were a lot of screens and there was one trick play where Jackson ran all over the field. I give Glory to god I am so blessed, I shouldn’t even be in this position.”
The outing also earned him BIG-10 Offensive Player of The Week. With the win, the Boilermakers improved to 6-3, 4-2 in the Big Ten.
The fifth year senior from Stevenson High in Lake Grove, Illinois is the sixth Purdue player to earn Walter Camp National Player of the Year honors since 2004, and the first since former running back D.J. Knox (Oct. 20, 2018).
On the Defensive side its Steven Jones Jr. “Mr. Athletic” Jones, tied a school record with three interceptions, and ran back two of them for touchdowns (47 and 34 yards) as Appalachian State improved to 7-2 (4-1 in Sun Belt Conference) with a 48-14 victory over Arkansas State.
It marks the second week in a row that the senior defensive back from Rockingham, North Carolina has returned a pick for a score. He has returned three interceptions for scores in two weeks. He and Iowa ‘s are the only player with two interceptions for touchdowns in the same game.
“I just want to make a play,” said Jones. “Make a play execute and do my job.”
Jones, Jr. is the first Appalachian State player to earn Walter Camp National FBS Player of Week honors.
This is the 18th year that the Walter Camp Football Foundation will honor one offensive and one defensive player as its national Football Bowl Subdivision player of the week during the regular season. Recipients are selected by a panel of national media members and administered by the Foundation.
Walter Camp in known as “The Father of American football,” first selected an All-America team in 1889. Camp – a former Yale University athlete and football coach – is also credited with developing play from scrimmage, set plays, the numerical assessment of goals and tries and the restriction of play to eleven men per side. The Walter Camp Football Foundation (www.waltercamp.org, @WalterCampFF) – a New Haven-based all-volunteer group – was founded in 1967 to perpetuate the ideals of Camp and to continue the tradition of selecting annually an All-America team.