Oct. 30, 2006
CLEVELAND, Ohio - For the second time this season, the Ohio football team has earned all three MAC East Division Player of the Week awards. Junior running back Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.), freshman defensive end Ernie Hodge (Dublin, Va.) and senior kicker Matt Lasher (Copley, Ohio) were named MAC East Division Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Week, respectively.
The offensive honor is McRae's second of the season. In the Bobcat's win against Kent State, McRae ran for 103 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. It was his fourth straight 100-yard game and moved him into seventh place on Ohio's career rushing yardage list (2,394). McRae's final carry of the day went for 18 yards to convert a third-and-17 that allowed Ohio to run out the clock in the fourth quarter. McRae has scored seven rushing touchdowns during the Bobcats' four-game winning streak. He was also the Bobcats' leading receiver against the Golden Flashes with two catches for 23 yards.
Hodge received recognition from the MAC for the first time in his short career. Against Kent State, the rookie had a career-high eight tackles, including 4.0 for a loss which tied for the fourth on the Ohio single-game list. Hodge also registered a career-best 1.5 sacks. Hodge is only the second freshman to win a MAC defensive honor in either division this season. Toledo's Barry Church earned the West Division award on Sept. 16.
The special teams award is the third in a row for Lasher and his fourth overall this season. Kicking in swirling wind conditions, the senior still hit both of his extra-point attempts and was successful on 30-yard field goal that set the Bobcats' final margin of victory. Lasher punted six times for a 33.8-yard average, including a 55-yard kick. He also averaged 61.0 yards on four kickoffs, including a touchback. Lasher is one of only two players to win one of the MAC's weekly awards three straight times this season. Western Michigan linebacker Ameer Ismail has been the West Division Defensive Player of the Week in each of the past three weeks. The only other players to win a weekly award four times this season are Ismail and Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe.
The Bobcats also swept the East Division Awards following their win against Western Michigan on Oct. 7. McRae, senior linebacker Tyler Russ (Stetsonville, Wis.) and freshman Chris Garrett (Bristow, Va.) were the recipients following Ohio's first of four straight victories. Ohio has won the special teams honor four consecutive weeks and six times in nine weeks.
Ohio's victory at Kent State last week improved the Bobcats to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in MAC play. The Bobcats and Flashes are tied for first in the East Division, but the Bobcats now control their own fate with the head-to-head tiebreaker in their favor. Ohio's six wins are the most since the 2000 squad went 7-4.
The Bobcats play at Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Nov. 4 before returning home to face Akron on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in their final home game of the season. For ticket information, call the Ohio Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-575-CATS.