Dowling, Williams among ACC players of the week
Duke senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis added his name to several school and conference record books and collected the Walter Camp Foundation National Player of the Week honor to headline a list of Atlantic Coast Conference players of the week announced Monday. Five of the six honorees represent teams that scored 40 or more points in a win over the weekend. Overall, seven conference schools (Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest) scored 40-plus points in a win in the same weekend for the first time in the league’s 57-year history.
Offensively, Lewis is joined by Georgia Tech senior guard Cord Howard as the Offensive Lineman of the Week and Virginia Tech freshman running back Ryan Williams, who captured Rookie of the Week honors for the third time in the last four weeks, and fourth time overall. ACC defenses were highlighted by Wake Forest senior defensive tackle John Russell and Virginia junior cornerback Ras-I Dowling, as the Defensive Lineman and Defensive Back of the Week, respectively. Maryland sophomore wide receiver/return specialist Torrey Smith continued to leave his mark on ACC record books in taking Specialist of the Week honors.
OFFENSIVE BACK – Thaddeus Lewis, Duke, QB, Sr., 6-1, 215, Opa-Locka, Fla. (Hialeah Miami Lakes)
Duke senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, in addition to earning Walter Camp Foundation National Player of the Week honors, etched his name into several record books in helping the Blue Devils to a 49-28 victory over NC State. Lewis completed a school single-game record 40 passes in 50 attempts for 459 yards and five touchdowns against a Wolfpack defense that came into the game leading the league allowing just 239.2 yards of total offense per game. Lewis’ 459 passing yards is the fourth-highest single-game total in school history and 18th-best passing performance in league annals, while his five touchdown passes tied the second-best mark in Blue Devil history. Lewis also scored with his feet on a two-yard run in the first quarter, giving him responsibility for six touchdowns in the game, matching an ACC single-game record. Additionally, Lewis became Duke’s all-time leader in touchdown passes with 59 and achieved 8,000 passing yards for his career, becoming just the 16th player in the ACC to accomplish the feat.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Cord Howard, Georgia Tech, G, Sr., 6-5, 308, Phenix City, Ala. (Central)
Georgia Tech senior guard Cord Howard was credited with 13 knockdowns and was the top performer on an offensive line that paved the way for Georgia Tech to amass 532 yards of total offense, including 401 on the ground, the fourth-highest and second-highest totals in the ACC this season, respectively, in a 49-44 win against Florida State. Despite a 78-minute delay due to lightning, the Yellow Jacket offense operated like a well-oiled machine throughout the evening, as the punt team was not asked to take the field in the game.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – John Russell, Wake Forest, DT, Sr., 6-4, 280, Jacksonville, Fla. (The Bolles School)
Wake Forest senior defensive tackle John Russell matched his career-high with six tackles and recorded two sacks for losses totaling 15 yards in a 42-32 win over visiting Maryland. Russell also helped anchor a defensive front that limited Maryland to just 62 rushing yards—a season-low for Demon Deacon opponents. In addition, Russell had a nine-yard sack late in the second quarter during a Maryland drive that crossed midfield. His second sack came on a fourth down-and-five when he dropped Maryland quarterback Chris Turner for a six-yard loss.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Ras-I Dowling, Virginia, CB, Jr., 6-2, 200, Chesapeake, Va. (Deep Creek)
Virginia junior cornerback Ras-I Dowling highlighted a Cavalier defense that did not allow a point through the first 51 minutes of a 47-7 win against visiting Indiana. In addition to a forced fumble on the Hoosiers’ first possession and a second-quarter interception, both of which led to Cavalier touchdowns, Dowling recorded a team-high nine tackles, including seven solo stops, and the first sack of his career. Dowling also anchored a defensive secondary that limited the Indiana offense to just 190 passing yards in 36 attempts, and did not allow the Hoosiers to convert a third-down until the third quarter.
SPECIALIST – Torrey Smith, Maryland, WR, So., 6-1, 200, Colonial Beach, Va. (Stafford)
Maryland sophomore wide receiver and kick returner Torrey Smith totaled a career-high 194 yards in six kickoff returns (32.3 yards per return), including an 85-yarder on his first return, in a 42-32 loss to Wake Forest. Only in his second season, Smith entered the game against the Demon Deacons ranked 16th in league history with 1,732 career kickoff return yards. By the end of the game, Smith had climbed eight spots to sit in eighth place with 1,926 yards. Offensively, Smith hauled in a career-high 10 passes—tied for the second most in the conference this season—for 70 yards and a touchdown reception to finish the game with 267 all-purpose yards. Smith now owns the top two, and four of the top five, all-purpose performances in the league in 2009, and leads the nation with 236.7 all-purpose yards per game.
ROOKIE – Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech, RB, Fr. 5-9, 205, Manassas, Va. (Stonewall Jackson)
Virginia Tech freshman running back Ryan Williams went over the 100-yard rushing mark for the fourth time this season to set a Hokie freshman mark with four 100-yard rushing performances. Williams rushed for 158 yards in 18 attempts (8.2 yards per rush) and a touchdown in a 48-14 win against Boston College in a rematch of the last two ACC Championship games. Williams totaled 138 rushing yards in the first half, while sitting out most of the second half. He also caught a 23-yard pass to finish the day with 182 total yards of offense. Williams owns three of the top-10 rushing performances in the league to date, and leads the ACC and is sixth nationally with 122.3 rushing yards per game.