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Grambling QB Williams earns FCS national spotlight

Philadelphia, PA ( - It's been a roller coaster of a season for Grambling State football with the multiple coaching changes and players refusing to make the trip to Jackson State a few weeks ago. But after Saturday's win over Mississippi Valley State, there was reason to celebrate.

Led by quarterback Johnathan Williams, the Tigers are in the win column for the first time. And it wasn't an ordinary day for Williams, who accounted for seven touchdowns and 74 percent of the team's offense.

Williams, UT Martin's Tony Bell, Furman's Ray Early, North Dakota's Ryan Bartels and Youngstown State's Martin Ruiz have been named The Sports Network FCS National Players of the Week for all Week 10 games ending No. 2.


Johnathan Williams, Grambling State, QB, Jr., 5-11, 185, Tampa, Fla.

Williams led the Grambling State attack that ended (finally) the Tigers' 15- game losing streak. The junior quarterback accounted for 319 of the Tigers' 407 total offensive yards by completing 18-of-31 passing for 265 yards and five touchdowns. Williams also led his team in rushing with 54 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. His seven total touchdowns helped hold off Mississippi Valley State, 47-40. The Tampa, Fla., native led the Tigers to their first win of the season in Dennis "Dirt" Winston's second game as head coach.


Tony Bell, UT Martin, LB, Jr., 6-1, 200, Memphis, Tenn.

It's the second time this season Bell has won national defensive player of the week honors. The much-deserved award goes to Bell after he had a week unlike any other defensive player in college football. Bell recorded 16 total tackles in Saturday's win over Murray State (seven solo tackles) and notched an NCAA- high 4.5 sacks against the Racers. No player on the FCS or FBS level has had as many single-game sacks this season, while the total is tied for the most on any level, including Division II and Division III. He also tied for the most in a single game by any Ohio Valley Conference player in the last decade. Bell has 8.5 sack this season. The 16 total tackles ties the OVC single-game high this season.


Ray Early, Furman, PK/P, Sr., 6-0, 200, Darlington, S.C.

Early was a presence wherever the Furman special teams unit was needed in Saturday's 16-14 win over Georgia Southern. His 18-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter proved to be the deciding score for the Paladins, who held on for the win. The senior also punted the ball four times with a game-high of 59 yards. Early averaged 51 yards per punt in the game, with one being downed inside the Georgia Southern 20-yard line. Two of his punts went for over 50 yards. As a kickoff specialist, all four of Early's kicks went for touchbacks.


Ryan Bartels, North Dakota, QB, R-Fr., 6-3, 218, Sycamore, Ill.

Bartels didn't start the game against Northern Arizona Saturday, but he saw the majority of action under center for North Dakota after regular starter Joe Molberg was pulled from the game. Bartels took advantage of this opportunity, setting UND freshman records in completions (39) and passing yards (367) against the Lumberjacks. Bartels added four touchdown passes, all of which went to sophomore receiver Kenny Golladay. Although North Dakota lost to the Lumberjacks, Bartels helped UND score as many touchdowns Saturday as the team had scored in its previous three games.

Martin Ruiz, Youngstown State, RB, Fr., 5-11, 195, Tampa, Fla.

The freshman sensation for the Penguins continued his hot streak with 235 all- purpose yards in a come-from-behind win over South Dakota. Ruiz rushed 22 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns to help his Penguins remain unbeaten in Missouri Valley Conference play. Ruiz also serves as a kickoff return specialist, and on four returns, he had 85 yards against the Coyotes. He rounded out his day with two receptions for 19 yards. His touchdown with 14 seconds remaining gave YSU the win. During the contest, Ruiz set a Youngstown State freshman record for rushing yards in a season. The Tampa native has 906 yards on 140 carries through nine games.

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