Do people really deserve awards this week? Well, of course they do. In fact, there were a slew of great individual defensive performances, even in losing efforts. As for the offense ... well, not so much. But we feel generous enough to hand out some Hustle Belt Belts for Week 2.
OFFENSE. Even though it was against Nicholls State, five touchdowns against them is probably like three touchdowns against anyone else. Alex Carder threw five such touchdowns along with 298 yards on 24-of-33 passing. There was also an interception.
Other potential belt-wearers:
• Thomas Merriweather, Miami running back, torched EMU for 105 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns
• Alex Allen, Akron running back, also had three rushing touchdowns in the abomination against Gardner-Webb
• Chandler Harnish, NIU QB, passed for 146 and ran for 178 against North Dakota, accounting for two TDs
• Kamar Jorden, BGSU WR, caught 14 balls for 168 yards (and had two long TDs negated by penalties)
• Cody Wilson, CMU receiver, had 188 yards from scrimmage (153 receiving, 25 rushing) on 13 touches
DEFENSE. Let's think back to Thursday. Remember that game? You might remember defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson blowing up some plays for Temple, totaling three tackles for loss (totaling 24 yards), a forced fumble, and a pass breakup. Two of those TFLs were sacks on Ryan Radcliff, one each at the end of both halves.
• Austin Brown for Miami had 2½ tackles for loss and a forced fumble against EMU
• Sean Baker had two interceptions for Ball State against Liberty, but we all know how that ended
• Gary Pride had 10 tackles (two for loss) and a forced fumble for Akron against G-W
• Cobrani Mixon was everpresent for Kent State, recording 15 tackles (1½ for loss) vs. Boston College
• Noah Keller had 11 tackles (one for loss) for OHIO and also forced a Toledo fumble
• Matt Berning for Central Michigan had 11 tackles (three for loss) and a forced fumble against Temple
• Dan Molls had two big INTs for Toledo against OHIO, along with 11 tackles (2½ for loss).
SPECIAL TEAMS. While watching the Eastern-Miami game, I was perplexed at how Jay Karutz was able to pin Miami twice (TWICE!) at the 1-yard line on punts and once more inside the 20-yard line. That gave him a 49.5 net punting average on four attempts.
The aforementioned Sean Baker and Noah Keller also blocked field goal attempts, putting them in the running. But they had 0 combined punting yards. And we're all about punting.