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Virginia Tech DE Antwaun Powell-Ryland honored among ACC Football Players of the Week

Chris Graham

acc Virginia Tech defensive end Antwaun Powell-Ryland was honored among the ACC Football Players of the Week for his performance during the Hokies’ 30-13 win over Wake Forest on Saturday.

Powell-Ryland tallied six tackles, including 4.5 tackles-for-loss and four sacks, in the win.

The four sacks was noteworthy: he’s just the fourth Tech player to ever record four sacks in a single game.

The last to do it was current defensive line coach J.C. Price who had four against Miami in 1995.

ACC Players of the Week: Week 7

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

Maye was named the ACC Quarterback of the Week for the second consecutive week, becoming the first quarterback this season to win the weekly honor twice. In the home win over Miami last week, Maye was 17-for-33 for 273 yards and a season-high four passing touchdowns while adding 10 yards on the ground. He has thrown for at least 200 yards in all six games this season and all 20 games as a starter. His season-high four touchdown throws marked his fifth career game with four or more passing touchdowns. Maye has thrown at least one touchdown pass in five of the six games this season and 17 of his 20 career starts.

RUNNING BACK – Omarion Hampton, North Carolina, RB, Clayton, N.C.

Like Maye, this is Hampton’s second conference weekly honor having been named co-Running Back of the Week on Sept. 11. He rushed for 197 yards and a touchdown on the ground and added two receptions for 20 yards and a touchdown through the air in North Carolina’s 41-31 victory over Miami. It was his second 100-yard game this season and the fourth of his career. He also scored his fifth rushing touchdown of the season, the most by a Tar Heel through the first six games since Javonte Williams in 2020.

RECEIVER – Devontez Walker, North Carolina, WR, Charlotte, N.C.

In just his second game of the season, Walker compiled six catches for 132 yards and three touchdowns in the Tar Heels’ 41-31 victory over Miami. With his three receiving TDs in a game, Walker became the first Tar Heel with three touchdown catches since Josh Downs against Wake Forest in 2022. Walker had a 20-yard run and 56-yard touchdown reception making him the first Tar Heel to have a 50-yard reception and a 20-yard rush in the same game since Johnny White against Clemson in 2011. White had a 51-yard reception and a 26-yard rush.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Jacob Monk, Duke, OL, Clayton, N.C.

Monk led a Duke offense that registered 301 total yards on just 42 snaps – good for an average of 7.2 yards per play against an N.C. State defense, which entered the week allowing just 5.3 yards per snap. He helped to open holes for a rushing attack that amassed 194 yards on 30 attempts, an average of 6.5 yards per rush, against a Wolfpack defense that entered the game ranked third overall in the ACC in rush defense, surrendering just 97.0 yards per game on the ground. He and the offensive line also protected first-time starting quarterback Henry Belin IV, who averaged 26.75 yards per completion with two touchdowns. Monk graded out at 93 percent and recorded seven knockdown blocks in the win.

CO-LINEBACKER – Cedric Gray, North Carolina, LB, Charlotte, N.C.

Gray tallied 10 total tackles, 1.0 tackle-for-loss, a fumble recovery, a pass breakup, and an interception in North Carolina’s 41-31 victory over Miami. Gray is the first Tar Heel to recover a fumble and make an interception in a game since Jaquarius Conley against Virginia Tech in 2021. The Carolina defense limited Miami to just 3-of-11 (27.3 percent) on third downs (27.3 percent) and moved to 6-0 on the season for the first time since 1997.

CO-LINEBACKER – Tre Freeman, Duke, LB, Durham, N.C.

Freeman registered a game-high and career-high 15 tackles with 1.5 tackles-for-loss and an interception in the Blue Devils’ 24-3 win over NC State. His interception and subsequent 24-yard return to the N.C. State 8-yard line, set up an 8-yard touchdown pass from Henry Belin IV to Jeremiah Hasley to extend Duke’s lead to 17-3 with 11:36 left in the 2nd quarter. Freeman led a Duke defense which limited N.C. State to just three total points, well below their season average of 26.2 points per game, and forced N.C. State to a 4-for-15 (26.7 percent) performance on third down after the Pack entered the week with a 42.7 percent conversion rate on the season.

DEFENSIVE BACK – M.J. Devonshire, Pitt, CB, Aliquippa, Pa.

Devonshire dramatically shifted momentum in Pitt’s 38-21 upset of No. 14 Louisville with an electrifying 86-yard interception return for a touchdown. With Pitt protecting a 24-21 lead late in the third quarter, Devonshire halted a Louisville drive with a pick at the Pitt 14-yard line and then raced to the end zone to push the Panthers’ advantage to double digits. It was the third “pick six” of his career and marked the longest interception touchdown return by a Pitt player since Sept. 13, 1997 (Chiffon Allen, 97-yard return TD at Houston). His 86-yard interception return is the longest in the ACC this year and ranks fifth nationally. In addition to his interception, he broke up five passes and totaled six tackles.

SPECIALIST – Keon Coleman, Florida State, WR/PR, Opelousas, La.

Coleman returned a total of six punts for 107 yards, including a career-long 72-yard return in the Seminoles 41-3 win over Syracuse. He also caught nine passes for 140 yards and a score at wide receiver on offense. With his performance, he became just the second player in FSU history with both 100 receiving yards and 100 punt return yards in the same game, joining Peter Warrick. His 107 punt return yards are the fourth-most punt return yards in a game nationally this year, while he also recorded the longest punt return and most punt return yards in the ACC this year. His 247 all-purpose yards rank 14th in FSU history. Coleman has now received two weekly conference honors, as he was named the Offensive Receiver of the Week on Sept. 5.

ROOKIE – Sam Okunlola, Pitt, DE, Brockton, Mass.

Okunlola made a vital play in the second quarter when he thwarted a Louisville drive with a 14-yard sack of Jack Plummer, forcing a fumble that he recovered at the Pitt 29-yard line. The Panthers converted the turnover into a 71-yard touchdown drive, tying the game at 14 with 1:23 left before halftime. He finished the game with four tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery, as the Panthers defeated No. 14 Louisville 38-21.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].