RICHMOND, Va. - A trio of freshmen from Towson University's nationally-ranked football team, tailback Terrance West, kick return specialist Derrick Joseph and cornerback Tye Smith, has been named as winners of Colonial Athletic Association weekly awards, it has been announced by CAA officials.
West was named as the CAA Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week while Joseph was honored as the CAA Special Teams Performer of the Week. Smith was the recipient of the CAA Rookie of the Week award.
All three freshmen played a key role in the Tigers' 56-42 victory over No. 7 New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon at Johnny Unitas® Stadium. That victory enabled the Tigers to reach the brink of clinching the CAA championship. A win over Rhode Island on Saturday will assure the Tigers of at least a share of the CAA title.
"These accolades speak so strongly of the work ethic of these young men," says Coach Rob Ambrose, whose Tigers are the most improved team in NCAA FCS. "Tiger Nation is very proud of its team. What a great time to be a Tiger!"
West, who is the third-leading rusher in NCAA FCS, led the Tigers to the win over New Hampshire by running for 261 yards on 23 carries and scoring four touchdowns. His 261 yards were the second-highest total in NCAA FCS this season and the top total in the CAA since Omar Cuff of Delaware ran for 288 yards against Delaware State in 2007.
West, who leads NCAA FCS with 25 touchdowns, earned a CAA weekly award for the sixth time this season. He was honored as the CAA Rookie of the Week four times before earning the CAA Offensive Player of the Award the last two weeks. In nine games, he has 1,190 rushing yards on 164 carries. Averaging 132.2 yards per game, he leads the CAA. He also leads the CAA by averaging 7.3 yards per carry.
In the win over New Hampshire, he scored his first touchdown of the game on a 72-yard run on the Tigers' third offensive play. Early in the second quarter, West scored on a two-yard run to cap off a 73-yard drive and give the Tigers a 28-14 lead. With 5:23 remaining in the first half, he broke loose for a 69-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers ahead, 42-21. With 6:21 remaining in the third quarter, West capped off his big day by scoring on a two-yard run, increasing the Tigers' lead to 56-35.
A finalist for the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in NCAA FCS, he has broken the Towson single season record with 25 touchdowns. Former All-American Tony Vinson, '94 set the record in 1993 when he scored 23 touchdowns.
Joseph, who leads the CAA with a 27.8 average, helped the Tigers to their win over New Hampshire by returning five kickoffs for 167 yards. On the opening kickoff of the second half, he returned the kick 93 yards for a touchdown, extending the Tigers' lead to 49-28. It was only the sixth time in school history that someone returned a kickoff for a touchdown. It was also the first time that a Tiger returned a kickoff for a touchdown since Sept. 9, 1995 when Maurice Sydnor accomplished the feat against Butler.
Smith earned the CAA Rookie of the Week Award with an outstanding performance against the Wildcats. He made nine tackles, recovered a fumble, broke up a pass and intercepted the first two passes of his career.
Midway through the first quarter, he intercepted a pass at the UNH 45-yard line and returned it for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 21-7 lead with 6:54 remaining in the opening period. It was the first interception for a touchdown by a Tiger football player since Drew Mack had a 49-yard interception return at Richmond on Nov. 11, 2006.
In the third quarter, he recovered a fumble by quarterback Kevin Decker at the Towson 42-yard line, stopping a UNH drive.
With 2:27 remaining and the Wildcats trying to overcome their 56-42 deficit, Smith intercepted a Decker pass in the end zone to clinch the Tigers' first-ever win over the Wildcats.
Smith is eighth on the team with 42 tackles in nine games.
The Tigers, who are ranked eighth in the nation according to The Sports Network's weekly poll, will close out the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 19 at the University of Rhode Island at 12:30 p.m.