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Long Distance: Zinchini earns OVC co-Special Teams Player of the Week


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech punter Chad Zinchini has been voted the Ohio Valley Conference co-Special Teams Player of the Week for his booming kicks Saturday in the Golden Eagle game at Wisconsin.

A 6-3, 220-pound senior from Hendersonville, Tenn., Zinchini continuously drew “oohs” and “ahhs” from the partisan Wisconsin fans with his booming punts against the Badgers, including a career-best 70-yard kick that he angled out of bounds inside the one-yard-line.

He punted nine times and averaged 50.0 yards per kick, with two downed inside the 20-yard-line and five kicks of 50-yards or more. He tied his career-long with a 64-yard kick in the second quarter, the whacked his third-quarter bomb that pinned the Badgers at their goal line. He is averaging 49.5 yards on 10 punts to lead the OVC, and ranks second in FCS.

Zinchini shared the Special Teams Player of the Week honor with Martine Stevenson, a return specialist from Tennessee State. Offensive Player of the Week honors were shared by Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and four running backs from Jacksonville State. The Defensive award went to EIU linebacker Robert Haynes, and the Newcomer honor went to Jacksonville State quarterback Eli Jenkins.

Zinchini and the Golden Eagles will head to Virginia this weekend to face the Hampton Pirates at 5 p.m. Saturday.

CO-OFFENSIVE
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB • Sr., 6-3, 222 • Arlington Heights, Ill. • Eastern Illinois
Garoppolo completed 34-of-56 passes for 440 yards and four touchdowns as No. 14 Eastern Illinois topped rival Southern Illinois 40-37 in double overtime on Saturday. With the victory the team improved to 2-0 on the road to start the season for the first time in program history. The 440 passing yards are the second-most in a game at the FCS level this year and the fifth-best in EIU single-game history, while his 442 yards of total offense was the fourth-most in EIU history. During the game the Walter Payton Award candidate moved into second place on the OVC career touchdown list (72); he now only trails former EIU All-American Tony Romo (85). Garoppolo currently ranks second nationally in passing yards/game (400.5) and third in total offense (411.5 yards/game).
 
CO-OFFENSIVE
Jacksonville State Rushing Attack
      DaMarcus James, RB • Jr., 5-10, 220 • Demopolis, Ala.
      Eli Jenkins, QB • R-Fr., 6-3, 200 • Birmingham, Ala.
      Miles Jones, RB • So., 5-10, 205 • Acworth, Ga.
      Troymaine Pope, RB • So., 5-10, 207 • Anniston, Ala.
The four Jacksonville State offensive players each rushed for over 100 yards, tying the NCAA Division I record (FBS/FCS); it is believed to be the first time in FCS history this has happened in a game. The quartet combined for 539 rushing yards and five touchdowns as the Gamecocks thrashed Jacksonville University 48-13 in its home opener. Pope led the way with 160 yards on 16 carries (10.0 ypc) and three touchdowns, while Jones added 138 yards on 20 carries (6.9 ypc). The quarterback Jenkins carried the ball 15 times for 128 yards (8.5 ypc) and a touchdown while James rushed 12 times for 105 yards (8.8 ypc) and a score. The quartet helped establish Jax State team rushing records for rushing yards (523) and carries (70) in a game.
 
Others Nominated: Duane Brady, Murray State; Scott Lathrop, Southeast Missouri; Tim Broughton, Tennessee State; Jeremy Butler, UT Martin.
 
DEFENSIVE
Robert Haynes, LB • Jr., 6-0, 234 • Punta Gorda, Fla. • Eastern Illinois
Haynes had a game-high 15 tackles as No. 14 Eastern Illinois topped rival Southern Illinois 40-37 on the road in double overtime on Saturday night. Nine of his tackles were solo stops and the junior was also credited with 3.0 tackles-for-loss. Haynes now leads the OVC in tackles/game (12.0), a mark that is 12th nationally.
 
Others Nominated: Pierre Warren, Jacksonville State; Chavez Sims, Murray State; Matt Starks, Southeast Missouri; David Van Dyke, Tennessee State; Tony Bell, UT Martin.
 
CO-SPECIALIST
Martine Stevenson, KR • Jr., 5-10, 170 • Detroit, Mich. • Tennessee State
After Florida A&M scored its lone touchdown of the day to trim the Tennessee State lead to 14-7, Stevenson returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers rolled to a 27-7 road victory. It marked the first kickoff return for a score for TSU since October 2011 (Weldon Garlington). Stevenson's 51.3 yards/kickoff return average for the season currently ranks first nationally.
 
CO-SPECIALIST
Chad Zinchini, P • Sr., 6-3, 220 • Hendersonville, Tenn. • Tennessee Tech
Zinchini averaged 50.0 yards/punt as Tennessee Tech was blanked by nationally-ranked FBS opponent Wisconsin. The senior punted nine times and had a career-long punt of 70 yards on the afternoon. Zinchini also had two punts downed inside the 20-yard line. He is now averaging 49.5 yards/punt on the season, a mark that ranks second in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
 
Others Nominated: Cameron Berra, Eastern Illinois; Griffin Thomas, Jacksonville State; James Satterfield, UT Martin.
 
NEWCOMER
Eli Jenkins, QB • R-Fr., 6-3, 200 • Birmingham, Ala. • Jacksonville State
In just his second career game Jenkins carried the ball 15 times for 128 yards (8.5 ypc) and a touchdown in Jacksonville State's 48-13 victory over Jacksonville University. The redshirt freshman also completed 2-of-6 passes for 12 yards in helping the Gamecocks improve to 2-0 on the season. Jenkins was one of four JSU players to rush for 100 or more yards in the game, tying the Division I (FBS/FCS) record.
 
Others Nominated: Tim Phillips, Austin Peay; Shepard Little, Eastern Illinois; Chavez Sims, Murray State.