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Tech freshman Ladarius Vanlier OVC Special Teams Player of the Week


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech freshman Ladarius Vanlier has been voted the Ohio Valley Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after a record-setting effort in the Golden Eagles loss at Murray State Saturday night.

Vanlier, a true freshman from Nashville, had 291 all-purpose yards, the fourth-most in school history. He returned an OVC-record 11 kickoffs (just one off the NCAA record) for 237 total yards (13 yards shy of the OVC record) including a 94-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It marked the sixth-longest return in school history and the ninth-longest kickoff return in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) so far this season.

Vanlier also returned one punt 30 yards and caught four passes for a total of 24 yards. The 291 all-purpose yards were the second-most in the OVC (and seventh-most in the FCS) this season, behind only a 303-yard performance by his teammate Da’Rick Rogers last week.

In addition to Vanlier's award, EIU quarterback Jimmy Garappolo was named the OVC Offensive Player of the Week, Pete Houlihan of EIU took the Defensive Player of the Week honor, and Murray State's Jaamal Berry captured the Newcomer of the Week award.

Following three consecutive weeks on the road, the Golden Eagles finally return home to Tucker Stadium next Saturday when they host Jacksonville State at 7 p.m. Tech is 2-0 at home this year. For ticket information, please contact the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or call (931) 372-3940.



OFFENSIVE
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB • Jr., 6-2, 206 • Arlington Heights, Ill. • Eastern Illinois

Garoppolo completed 18-of-31 passes for a career-high 453 yards and five touchdowns (all over 50 yards in length) and rushed for 48 yards and another score in Eastern Illinois’ 65-15 victory over Austin Peay on Saturday. It marked his fourth 300-plus yard passing game of the season; the 453 yards were the fourth-most in school history and are the eighth-most yards by a quarterback in a single game in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) this season. Garoppolo had touchdown passes of 66, 66, 50, 63 and 56 yards as it marked the third time this season he has thrown five touchdowns in a game. His 52 career passing touchdowns now ranks third in school history behind only Tony Romo and Sean Payton. The junior currently ranks second nationally in each points responsible for (23.60/game), total offense (369.40 yards/game) and total passing yards (1,827) while also ranking third nationally in passing yards/game (365.4) and fifth in completions (28.20/game). It marks the second time this season Garoppolo has been named OVC Offensive Player of the Week.

Others Nominated:
Tyrone Goard, Eastern Kentucky; DaMarcus James, Jacksonville State; Walter Powell, Murray State; Telvin Hooks, Tennessee State; Derek Carr, UT Martin.
 
DEFENSIVE
Pete Houlihan, CB • Jr., 5-11, 177 • New Lenox, Ill. • Eastern Illinois
Houlihan recorded a team-high 10 tackles (7 solo) as the Panthers defense shutdown Austin Peay 65-15 on Saturday afternoon. In addition to his 10 stops, the junior had 1.5 tackles-for-loss and half a sack while also forcing a fumble, netting a pass breakup and registering a quarterback hurry. Houlihan currently ranks seventh nationally in forced fumbles/game (0.50).
 
Others Nominated: Robert Knowles, Eastern Kentucky; Caleb Lawrence, Jacksonville State; David Van Dyke, Tennessee State; Ben Johnson, UT Martin
 
SPECIALIST
Ladarius Vanlier, RS/RB • Fr., 5-7, 165 • Nashville, Tenn. • Tennessee Tech
Vanlier had 291 all-purpose yards, the fourth-most in school history, in Tennessee Tech’s road loss at Murray State on Saturday. The freshman returned an OVC-record 11 kickoffs (just one off the NCAA record) for 237 total yards (13 yards shy of the OVC record) including a 94-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It marked the sixth-longest return in school history and the ninth-longest kickoff return in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) so far this season. Vanlier also returned one punt 30 yards and caught four passes for a total of 24 yards. The 291 all-purpose yards were the second-most in the OVC (and seventh-most in the FCS) this season, behind only a 303-yard performance by his teammate Da’Rick Rogers last week.

Others Nominated:
Cameron Berra, Eastern Illinois; Griffin Thomas, Jacksonville State; Walter Powell, Murray State; Jamin Godfrey, Tennessee State.
 
NEWCOMER
Jaamal Berry, RB • Jr., 5-10, 200 • Miami, Fla. • Murray State
Berry, the transfer from Ohio State, carried the ball 13 times for 142 yards (10.9 yards/carry) and a touchdown in Murray State’s 70-35 victory over defending OVC champion Tennessee Tech on Saturday. The junior did most of his damage in the first half when he carried the ball six times for 95 yards including scoring on a 25-yard run early in the second quarter to put his team on top 42-7. Berry also caught three passes for six yards in the game. He is the first Racer to rush for 100 or more yards in a game this season; the 142 yards was the eighth-most by an OVC player in a game this season. It marks the second time this season Berry has been named OVC Newcomer of the Week.

Others Nominated:
Keiondre Gober, Eastern Illinois; Hamish MacInnes, Jacksonville State; Telvin Hooks, Tennessee State; Ladarius Vanlier, Tennessee Tech.