November 1, 2009

Mitchell, Benford stand out as OVC Award winners

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech redshirt freshman Caleb Mitchell was named Sunday as the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week and also grabbed the Newcomer of the Week award, while sophomore wide receiver Tim Benford is the co-Offensive Player of the Week.

The pair was selected for the league's weekly honors for the huge roles each played in Tech's 20-13 Homecoming victory over Tennessee State Saturday afternoon in Tucker Stadium.

Mitchell, a 6-1 redshirt freshman from Russellville, Ala., was all over the field in the Golden Eagle victory, including forcing two turnovers in the first quarter which led to his team grabbing an early 13-0 lead. Mitchell finished the game with 13 tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, 2.0 sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two pass break-ups.

On the game’s first possession, he sacked TSU’s quarterback and knocked the ball loose, setting up the Golden Eagles at the Tiger 24-yard line. Later in that quarter he picked off a pass and returned it 15 yards to the TSU 28-yard line, setting up the second Tech score of the quarter.

Benford accounted for 122 of Tennessee Tech’s 265 yards of total offense. He grabbed five catches for 122 yards, inculding the game-winner, a 28-yard touchdown in double coverage in the corner of the end zone with 3:08 to play in the game. It marked the third 100-yard receiving game of his career. Benford has now caught at least one pass in all 19 career games and moved up to ninth in TTU history for career receptions.

Benford shared the award with Jacksonville State quarterback Ryan Perrilloux. The Special Teams Player of the Week honor was shared by teammates from Eastern Illinois, placekicker Austin Signor and punter Kevin Cook.

Mitchell, Benford and the Golden Eagles captured the Sgt. York Trophy with the win over TSU, and improved to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the OVC. Tech will play at the University of Georgia next Saturday.