Updated: Monday, 22 Oct 2012, 5:49 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 22 Oct 2012, 5:49 PM EDT
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - University of Saint Francis senior Austin Coleman has been selected NAIA Special Teams Player of the Week and Mid-States Football Association Special Teams Player of the Week after his NAIA record-tying seventh career kickoff return for a touchdown on Saturday (Oct. 20) in a 28-19 win at then No. 5 William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
“It’s a credit to our blocking on the kickoff return team,” Coleman said. “I’ve just got to set up a block or two and that if I do, I’ll find a seam and can break it. It was a challenge for me after they ran back the first kickoff in the second half for a TD and pulled within a point.”
Coleman (Fort Wayne, IN/Harding H.S.) is the third player in NAIA history to post seven career kickoff return touchdowns, the first to do it since 1997-2000. He joins Brandon Murphy (McKendree (IL) 1997-2000) and Dave Ludy (Winona State (MN) 1991-93).
The 5-foot-8, 180-pound wide receiver tied an NAIA, MSFA and USF record for longest kickoff return with his 100-yard score to restore a more comfortable lead for USF after WPU’s Ed Cazenave had drawn the Statesmen within a point at 14-13 by returning the opening second half kickoff 98 yards for a TD.
“When in doubt, get the ball to AC,” USF Head Coach Kevin Donley said with a smile. “The momentum, they returned the opening kickoff of the second half, the only touchdown of the day, and they turn around, they’re bold, and kick the ball deep to Austin . . . he’s magic.”
The fleet-footed senior finished with a USF single-game record 201 yards on five kickoff returns and tied the longest return record set by Cory Jacquay at Geneva in 2004. His 201 yards in returns vaulted him to No. 1 in NAIA with 611 yards this season. Coleman’s previous longest return was a 98-yard score against then No. 1 St. Xavier University on Oct. 1, 2011. He has seven KO return TDs in his last 20 games, six in his last 17 games.
This is the second time in Coleman’s collegiate career that he has been named NAIA Special Teams Player of the Week and this is his fifth MSFA Special Teams Award, the seventh time in 15 seasons a USF special teams member has been honored.
That kickoff return also pushed Coleman (Fort Wayne, IN / Harding H.S.) up to 1,568 KO return yards for his career, No. 3 on the list behind Cory Jacquay (1,989) and Daniel Carter (1,949).
This is the 75th MSFA Player of the Week honor for a member of the USF football team in 15 seasons.
USF moved up to No. 7 from No. 9 in the NAIA Football Coaches’ Top 25 released today and the Cougars Siena Heights (MI) this Saturday at noon.
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