Week 3 is in the books, so it's time to hand out our MAC Grinders of the Week awards. Each week we pick the three players we feel meant the most to their team's efforts. These are our Week 3 Grinders of the Week.
Jarvion Franklin, WMU running back
In just his second game of his young career, Franklin has earned our Grinder of the Week honors for a second time.His 163-yard, three-touchdown performance in Week 1 was good, but he topped himself in the Broncos 45-33 win over Idaho. The big back set the tone for a WMU offense that had its best outing in years. He was elusive, punishing, and literally carried the offense on his back.
His 211 yards and three scores are impressive, but it's how he opened things up for the Broncos' passing attack that showed his real value. Zach Tarrell didn't have to throw often (15 times), but when he did, he was able to hit his open man and it paid off in the form of three passing touchdowns. Franklin opened things up enough to make that happen.
Joe Colton, UMass safety
UMass lost, yes, but the Minutemen were leading for all but one minute of Saturday's game against Vanderbilt. A big reason for that was the pressure the Minutemen's defense put on Vanderbilt. Colton was the main cog in that. His 12 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and one sack put the squeeze on Vandy's struggling passing attack.
It's not usually a good sign when a defensive back is one of your top tacklers, but Colton's ability to play in the box, and get in the backfield show this isn't just a case of some defensive back benefitting from a lofty passing game. He's actively making plays happen, and UMass needs more efforts like his if they want to get over that hump and win one of these close games.
Roger Lewis, BGSU wide receiver
Another freshman makes our Grinders of the Week this week, and for good reason. Lewis came to BGSU with his own baggage, but has quickly shown why he was once considered a top receiving prospect when he originally came out of highschool in 2012. Lewis looked spectacular in BGSU's up-tempo offense on Saturday, catching the ball 16 times (SIXTEEN) for 149 yards, and it's clear that he and quarterback James Knapke have great chemistry.
But it's really one play that earned him this honor: the game-winning touchdown catch. With two-seconds left in the game, trailing 42-39, Lewis hauled down the game-winning touchdown in the corner of the endzone, proving he's a prime time player.