Oct. 9, 2006
CLEVELAND, Ohio - For the first time since the conference began giving out three weekly player honors in 1999, members of the Ohio football team earned every MAC East Division Player of the Week award. Junior running back Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.), senior linebacker Tyler Russ (Stetsonville, Wis.) and freshman returner Chris Garrett (Bristow, Va.) were named the division's offensive, defensive and special teams performers of the week, respectively, for their efforts in the Bobcats' win against Western Michigan.
McRae rushed for a season-high 120 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries to spearhead the Bobcat rushing attack that picked up 257 yards and averaged 7.1 yards per carry. McRae had two runs of 33 yards, his longest of the season. It was the eighth 100-yard game of his career, moving him into a tie for sixth place on the Bobcat career list. He also moved up to ninth on the Ohio career rushing ledger with 2,074 yards. It is the third time in his career that McRae has been honored as the division's top offensive player.
Russ had a team-high 12 tackles, including an assist behind the line, and intercepted his second pass of the season in the win against the Broncos. It was his second straight double-digit tackle game and third of the season. Russ is Ohio's leading tackler through six games with 51 stops. His 8.5 tackles per game ranks 10th in the MAC. It is the first time in his four seasons that Russ has won a MAC weekly award.
Garrett won the special teams honor for the second time in his rookie season. Garrett racked up 97 yards on just two punt returns, including a school-record 88-yard return for his first collegiate touchdown. Garrett's 97 yards were the eighth most in school history. He also holds the 10th spot with his 90-yard effort against Rutgers. Garrett is the nation's top punt returner, averaging 25.9 yards per return. Through only six games, Garrett needs just five more yards to crack Ohio's single-season top 10. His 233 return yards this season are more than the Bobcats had in all of 2005.
This mark's the 11th time since the league added the special teams honor in 1999 that three players from the same school have won the awards in the same week. Prior to 1999, the MAC gave out awards just for offensive and defensive players. Ohio won both those awards in the same week four times with the last coming during the 1978 season (Kevin Babcock, offense; Jim Givens, defense).
Ohio will play its final non-conference game of the season on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Illinois. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. ET. The game will not be televised, but will be shown live on the internet via ESPN360. Internet service providers that currently offer the service include Frontier, US Cable, Verizon, BELD, Charter LA, Charter St. Louis, Grande, Mediacom, MidHudson, SMU, StarStream, MTC, Iowa Network Services, Conway and Liberty PR. For more information, visit www.espn360.com.
The Bobcats return home for their annual homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 21 against Buffalo. Kickoff at Peden Stadium is set for 2 p.m. For ticket information, call the Ohio Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-575-CATS.