Sept. 9, 2013
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - A dramatic comeback for No. 19/23 Lehigh and an upset win for Fordham led to three of the four Patriot League football weekly awards announced on Monday.
Lehigh senior Lee Kurfis became the first wide receiver since 2010 to be named Offensive Player of the Week as he recorded seven catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Mountain Hawks from a 20-point deficit for a 51-44 double overtime win against Central Connecticut. Freshman kicker Ryan Pandy made 6-of-7 extra points, hit his only field goal and recorded five touchbacks on kickoffs to be named Patriot League Rookie of the Week.
Fordham recorded a 27-24 win at home against No. 8 Villanova on Saturday, and Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week Victor DiFusco was a big reason why with seven tackles, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one recovered fumble in the contest.
The Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week award went to Lafayette sophomore Matt Smalley, who had a school-record 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game and totaled three returns for 141 yards overall in a 26-24 loss to Sacred Heart.
Patriot League Football Weekly Awards (Sept. 7)
Offensive Player of the Week
LEE KURFIS, LEHIGH Sr., WR, 6-2, 190; West Chester, Pa./Bayard Rustin
Kurfis notched seven receptions for 222 yards and two touchdowns to lead a dramatic Lehigh comeback for a 51-44 double overtime win against Central Connecticut on Saturday. He came up huge in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Mountain Hawks rallied from a 37-17 deficit with just over 10 minutes to play. Kurfis caught a 62-yard touchdown that cut Lehigh's margin to 37-31, and then notched a career-long 77-yard reception that set up the game-tying touchdown later in the fourth quarter. He also hauled in a 25-yard touchdown reception on Lehigh's opening play in the first overtime to tie the score at 44-44 and send the contest to a second OT. Kurfis had four receptions for 202 yards and the two scores in the second half and overtime. The 222 receiving yards set a Goodman Stadium record and were the fifth-best single-game total in school history. The yardage total was the highest for a Patriot League player since 2009 and the 12th-best in League annals. Kurfis was also named the Wide Receiver of the Week by College Football Performance Awards, and is selected as Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week for the first time. Kurfis is the first wide receiver to earn the Offensive Player of the Week honor since his former teammate, Ryan Spadola, in 2010.
Defensive Player of the Week
VICTOR DiFUSCO, FORDHAM Jr., LB, 6-1, 230; Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac
DiFusco played a key role in Fordham's 27-24 upset of No. 8/11 Villanova on Saturday by recording seven tackles, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one recovered fumble in the contest. The tackle total was a career high that included six solo stops. DiFusco played a role in two of the five turnovers, all fumbles, that Fordham forced in the game. The Rams beat a top 10 FCS team at home for the first time, and were the first Patriot League team to beat a non-League ranked opponent since 2011. DiFusco is named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week for the first time.
Special Teams Player of the Week
MATT SMALLEY, LAFAYETTE So., DB/KR, 5-10, 187; Philadelphia, Pa./Father Judge
Smalley returned the opening kickoff for a school-record 98-yard touchdown in Lafayette's 26-24 loss to Sacred Heart on Saturday. The opening return came in his first game as a kick returner as Smalley went on to average 47.0 yards on three returns for the evening. He also had a 28-yard return that set up the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Smalley made six tackles and broke up a pass on defense as the starting cornerback for the Leopards. He is named Special Teams Player of the Week for the first time.
Rookie of the Week
RYAN PANDY, LEHIGH Fr., K, 5-11, 185; Clearwater, Fla./Countryside
Pandy made 6-of-7 extra points, hit his only field goal attempt and recorded five touchbacks on kickoffs in Lehigh's 51-44 double overtime win against Central Connecticut on Saturday. He shook off a missed extra point that would have put Lehigh ahead late in the fourth quarter and made both of his attempts in overtime. His five touchbacks helped Lehigh control field position in the game. Pandy is named Patriot League Rookie of the Week for the first time.
MIKE NEBRICH, FORDHAM Jr., QB, 6-1, 205; Burke, Va./Lake Braddock Secondary
Nebrich rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns and completed 26-of-35 passes for 190 yards in Fordham's 27-24 win over Villanova.
ISAIAH KEMPF, GEORGETOWN Sr., QB, 6-3, 208; Glendale, Calif./Bridgton Academy
Kempf completed 16-of-23 passes for 185 yards and two scores and ran for 37 yards and another touchdown to lead Georgetown to a 42-6 victory against Davidson.
EVAN BYERS, BUCKNELL Jr., LB, 6-0, 225; Roaring Brook, Pa./Wyoming Seminary
Byers totaled 12 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in Bucknell's 27-14 win over Marist.
NOAH ROBB, LEHIGH So., LB, 6-3, 210; Orefield, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic
Robb notched 10 tackles, a tackle for loss and an interception in Lehigh's comeback victory over CCSU.