news uva defensive end chico bennett jr honored among acc football players of the week

UVA defensive end Chico Bennett Jr. honored among ACC Football Players of the Week

uva chico bennett jr.
UVA defensive end Chico Bennett Jr. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

The ACC Football Players of the Week have been recognized following their standout performances in last weekend’s games.

The selections are determined by a vote of a select media panel.

The following are this week’s honorees:

QB– DJ Uiagalelei, Clemson, QB, Inland Empire, Calif.

Completed 26-of-41 passes for a season-high 371 passing yards with a career-high five passing touchdowns in Saturday’s 51-45 double-overtime win at No. 21 Wake Forest • Added 52 rushing yards on 14 carries • Became the first Clemson quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in a game since Trevor Lawrence at Georgia Tech in 2020 • Engineered his fourth career fourth-quarter comeback win, tying Deshaun Watson for the second-most by a Clemson quarterback since 2000 • Became the first Clemson player with at least 370 passing yards, at least five touchdowns and no interceptions since Watson at NC State in 2015.

RUNNING BACK – Israel Abanikanda, Pitt, RB, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Named ACC Running Back of the Week for the second time this season • Posted his third consecutive 100-yard rushing effort with another prolific outing in the Panthers’ 45-24 win over Rhode Island • Rushed for a career-high 177 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries—an impressive 9.3-yard average • Touchdown runs covered 67, 12, 24 and 13 yards • First Pitt player to compile three consecutive 100-yard games since All-ACC performer Darrin Hall in 2017 and first Panther to rush for four TDs in a game since Hall against North Carolina on Nov. 9, 2017.

RECEIVER – Jahmal Banks, Wake Forest, WR, Washington, D.C.

Banks was quarterback Sam Hartman’s big-play target on Saturday versus No. 5 Clemson • Hauled in six passes for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 51-45 double-overtime loss • Became the first Wake Forest wide receiver to catch at least two touchdown passes in back-to-back games since at least 1996 and is believed to be the only Demon Deacon to accomplish that feat.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Grant Gibson, NC State, C, Charlotte, N.C.

Graded out at an eye-opening 97 percent for his work in the 12th-ranked Wolfpack’s 41-10 win over UConn • Helped clear the way for 492 yards of total offense while playing 61 snaps • Tallied three pancake blocks.

CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Jordan McFadden, Clemson, OT, Spartanburg, S.C.

Graded out at 91 percent with three knockdowns while playing all 86 offensive snaps in the Tigers’ 51-45 double-overtime win over Wake Forest • Helped power Clemson to back-to-back 500-yard games for the first time since 2020 • Key pass protector who helped Clemson throw five touchdown passes for the first time since 2020 • Part of a unit that converted 16-of-23 third downs, a school single-game record surpassing its 15 against Western Carolina in 1983.

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Chico Bennett, Virginia, DL, Washington, D.C.

Proved a constant presence in the Syracuse backfield, finishing with four tackles including two sacks in Friday night’s 22-20 road loss • Also recovered a fumble • Led the way as UVA held the Orange rushing attack to 75 yards • After allowing a touchdown on the game’s opening drive (following a 57-yard kickoff return), the UVA defense only permitted four field goals on Syracuse’s next four trips into the red zone.

LINEBACKER – Mikel Jones, Syracuse, LB, Miami, Fla.

Named ACC Linebacker of the Week for the second consecutive week • Led the Orange with nine tackles – no other player had more than five – in Syracuse’s 22-20 win over Virginia • Jones and the Orange defense held the Cavaliers to 287 yards of total offense in the win as the Syracuse moved to 4-0 for the season. 

DEFENSIVE BACK – Garrett Williams, Syracuse, CB, Harrisburg, N.C.

Registered two takeaways in the Orange’s 22-20 win over Virginia • Forced and recovered a fumble in the second quarter before intercepting UVA QB Brennan Armstrong in the third quarter • Also had a crucial pass breakup on a short fourth-down attempt in plus-territory for UVA • Added three tackles, including a pair of solo stops and anchored a Syracuse secondary that held the Cavaliers to 138 yards through the air.

SPECIALIST – Andre Szymt, Syracuse, PK, Vernon Hills, Ill.

Tied a Syracuse record and set a new career high with five made field goals in Syracuse’s 22-20 win over Virginia • Was a perfect 5-for-5 while connecting from 26, 28, 31, 32 and 40 yards • His 31-yard field goal with 1:14 left gave the Orange its go-ahead score • He also made his lone extra point, scoring 16 of Syracuse’s 22 total points in the game • Perfect kicking game came on an evening the Orange were forced to use two different holders.

ROOKIE – Drake Maye, North Carolina, QB, Huntersville, N.C.

Named ACC Rookie of the Week for the second time following his performance in the Tar Heels’ 45-32 loss to Notre Dame • Had 337 total yards and threw five touchdown passes, raising his season total to 16 in four games • Finished 17-of-32 passing for 301 yards and rushed for 36 yards.


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