UWA Tigers sweep weekly awards
West Alabama running back Matt Willis, defensive back Otha Foster and placekicker Ryne Smith are the Gulf South Conference Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week, giving the Tigers a sweep of the weekly football awards for the period ending Sept. 23.
Willis earns his fourth career award, second this season, after leading UWA’s rushing attack in the Tigers’ 39-28 victory at Valdosta State. The senior ran for a game-high 178 yards on 27 carries for a 6.6 per carry average, while also adding one reception for 18 yards. His rushing total and attempts were the highest by any player in the GSC this season. The Collins, Miss., native enters next week’s home contest against West Georgia needing just three yards to become UWA’s all-time leading rusher.
Foster earned his first player of the week award behind a record-tying effort in the win at Valdosta State. The senior strong safety had a direct hand in all but one of the West Alabama’s interceptions, picking off three VSU passes and tying the school record for interceptions in a game. The Angie, La., native became just the ninth player in GSC history to intercept three passes in a game, the first since 2009. Foster returned his picks for 40 total yards and also posted three total tackles, two solos.
Smith notches his first-ever GSC player of the week selection after etching his name in the NCAA and GSC record books in Saturday’s win at Valdosta State. The senior for Madison, Miss., connected on all four of this field goal attempts, stretching his consecutive field goals made mark to a NCAA record 19 dating back to Oct. 1, 2011. Smith booted field goals of 41, 38, 27 and 41 yards and also made good on all three point-after-attempts in the 39-28 win. Smith’s consecutive performance also smashed the GSC record of 15 set by Southern Arkansas’ Jason Williams in 1998.