ACC football players of the week
North Carolina junior cornerback Kendric Burney broke an Atlantic Coast Conference single-game record with 170 interception return yards and was named Defensive Back of the Week to highlight this week’s group of ACC Football Players of the Week. Burney was also named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week.
Also on this week’s list is Clemson senior running back C.J. Spiller, who earned his second straight Offensive Back of the Week honor and fourth overall weekly accolade this season.
Georgia Tech senior guard Cord Howard, who is making his second appearance as Offensive Lineman of the Week, and junior defensive tackle Ben Anderson were honored for performances in the Yellow Jackets’ Coastal Division-clinching win against Duke.
In addition to Burney for North Carolina, sophomore placekicker Casey Barth was honored as Specialist of the Week. Florida State freshman quarterback EJ Manuel was picked for Rookie of the Week honors after guiding the Seminoles to a win over Wake Forest while filling in for injured signal-caller Christian Ponder.
OFFENSIVE BACK – C.J. Spiller, Clemson, RB, Sr., 5-11, 195, Lake Butler, Fla. (Union County)
Clemson senior running back C.J. Spiller had a hand in a Tiger touchdown in three different fashions in a 43-23 win at NC State. Spiller threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to teammate Xavier Dye in the second quarter that gave Clemson a 16-point lead. He then scored on a 16-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Kyle Parker in the fourth quarter to become the first player in school history to rush for a touchdown, catch a touchdown pass, and throw a touchdown pass in the same game against a Football Bowl Subdivision team. Spiller piled on 158 all-purpose yards in the game, with 97 rushing yards, 48 receiving yards, and 13 kickoff return yards.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Cord Howard, Georgia Tech, G, Sr., 6-5, 308, Phenix City, Ala. (Central)
Georgia Tech senior guard Cord Howard garnered his second Offensive Lineman of the Week selection of 2009 in helping the seventh-ranked Yellow Jackets to a Coastal Division-clinching win at Duke. Howard helped anchor an offensive line that cleared space for 519 total yards of offense, including 306 rushing yards in Georgia Tech’s 49-10 win over the Blue Devils. Howard and the Yellow Jacket offensive line have paved the way for 300 or more rushing yards nine times this season, including the last six games in a row—all wins.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Ben Anderson, Georgia Tech, DT, Jr., 6-2, 274, Aiken, S.C. (South Aiken)
Georgia Tech junior defensive tackle Ben Anderson recorded five tackles, three for loss, and two sacks—all career-highs—against Duke. Despite allowing 10 first-quarter points to the Blue Devils, Anderson helped the Yellow Jacket defense blank Duke for the final three stanzas. Additionally, Georgia Tech limited Duke’s high-powered passing attack to just 256 yards and gave up only 25 rushing yards, while the defensive line pressured the Blue Devil offense for four sacks in the game.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Kendric Burney, North Carolina, CB, Jr., 5-9, 190, Jacksonville, N.C. (Southwest Onslow)
Junior cornerback Kendric Burney intercepted three passes and broke a 29-year old ACC single-game record with 170 interception return yards, including a 77-yard touchdown, in North Carolina’s 33-24 win over No. 12 Miami. Burney’s 170 yards also broke the school-record for interception return yards in a season and upped his career mark to 317, also a new school record. The junior returned his second interception of the game for a 77-yard touchdown, his second career interception return for a score. The 77-yard return is the seventh-longest in school history, while the touchdown tied him with six former Tar Heels who had two career interceptions returned for touchdowns, another school record. Burney returned his third interception of the day 46 yards before losing a fumble to teammate Melvin Williams, who ran the remaining 44 yards for the touchdown.
SPECIALIST – Casey Barth, North Carolina, PK, So., 5-11, 180, Wilmington, N.C. (Hoggard)
North Carolina junior placekicker Casey Barth extended his streak of made field goals to 13 with boots of 22, 42, 32, and 33 yards against Miami. His 42-yarder in the second quarter matched a career-long and extended the Tar Heels’ lead to six points. Barth has connected on eight field goal attempts in the last two weeks.
ROOKIE – EJ Manuel, Florida State, QB, Fr., 6-4, 225, Virginia Beach, Va. (Bayside)
In his first career start, Florida State freshman quarterback EJ Manuel completed 15-of-20 passes for 220 yards in the Seminoles’ 41-28 win at Wake Forest. Manuel directed Florida State to three touchdowns and a field goal in its first four possessions, including a one-yard touchdown run of his own. In addition to his 220 passing yards, Manuel rushed for 45 yards on 10 carries, and threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to teammate Jarmon Fortson in the fourth quarter that put the Seminoles ahead by 19 points.