Derrick Strozier raced to the endzone on a 99-yard interception return for a score with just one shoe.
Oct. 14, 2013
New Orleans - The Tulane football program accomplished another first on Monday by becoming just the second school in Conference USA history to sweep its weekly football player awards, as redshirt-freshman Devin Powell received the Offensive Player of the Week, senior nickleback Derrick Strozier (last week's Special Teams Player of the Week) was named the Defensive Player of the Week and senior kicker Cairo Santos completed the trifecta by gaining Special Teams Player of the Week. C-USA Football Players of the Week are voted on by a panel of the league's media.
Following a 36-33 triple-overtime victory over East Carolina that improved the team to 3-0 in C-USA play and 5-2 overall, Tulane joined Tulsa which won all three honors September 9. The ECU game was the longest game in school history.
A New Orleans native, who prepped at nearby O.P. Walker High School, Powell started his first game of the season and second of his career in place of injured starter Nick Montana. In his first start in more than a year, Powell completed 23-of-39 (.590) pass attempts for 224 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, which came off a tipped pass.
Powell was solid throughout the game, but came up big in overtime with a pair of touchdown passes to senior receiver Ryan Grant. In the first overtime period, ECU scored on its first play, but Powell came on for Tulane's possession and promptly threw a 25-yard scoring strike to Grant on the Wave's second play. In the second overtime period, he connected with Grant once again, this time for a six-yard touchdown.
A native of Orlando, Fla., Strozier came up with one of the biggest plays in Tulane's win last week. With the Green Wave clinging to a 9-6 advantage late in the third quarter, ECU had driven to the Tulane three-yard line with a chance to tie the game or take the lead. However, on first down, Strozier stepped in front of a Pirates receiver and intercepted a pass at the one-yard line and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown, while wearing just one shoe.
It was second-longest interception return for a touchdown in school history. Strozier also added eight tackles (five solo), including one stop for minus-three yards, and was credited with a pair of pass breakups. Strozier becomes the first player to win weekly awards at two different positions since Marquese Wheaton of Southern Miss won Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week in a three-week span in October 2011.
Santos, who hails from Brasilia, Brazil, tied a school single-game record with five made field goals, including the game-winner from 42 yards. For the game, Santos connected from 42 yards three times, 43 yards and 28 yards while his only miss was from 55 yards.
He is now 12-of-16 on the year and has back-to-back games with game-winning field goals after connecting on a 27-yard field goal against North Texas as time expired the previous week. Santos also sent five of his six kickoffs into the back of the end zone and allowed the Pirates just one kickoff return on the day.
This is the third C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week for Santos. He was also named one of the three Lou Groza Award National Stars of the Week and was tabbed the College Football Performance Awards' National Placekicker of the Week on Monday.