GREENVILLE, S.C. — Furman free safety Hugh Ryan and placekicker Ian Williams have been named Southern Conference Players of the Week, the league has announced.
Ryan collected defensive player of the week honors, and Williams earned special teams player of the week laurels for their performances in the Paladins’ 27-14 Southern Conference road victory over FCS 18th-ranked East Tennessee State on Saturday. The win over the defending league champion Buccaneers halted ETSU’s eight-game home winning streak and marked Furman’s fourth triumph in the last five clashes in Johnson City.
Ryan paced a strong Furman defensive effort with a team leading eight tackles, which he complemented with an interception, a forced fumble, and a pass deflection. The redshirt junior’s pickoff on the game’s first series set up a field goal, as did his forced fumble in the second quarter. The Irmo, S.C., product keyed a Paladin defense that limited ETSU to just 80 yards rushing (2.8 ypc) and 104 yards in total offense in the second half.
Specifically, Buccaneer All-SoCon quarterback Tyler Riddell connected on just 50 percent of his pass attempts (22×44), was picked off twice, sacked three times, pressured on eight plays, and had seven passes deflected. ETSU All-SoCon running back Jacob Saylors, the league’s preseason player of the year, managed just 54 yards on 19 carries (2.8 ypc) and fumbled the football following a hit by Ryan.
Williams converted field goal attempts from 44 and 43 yards in the victory. The redshirt sophomore transfer from N.C. State and Charlotte, N.C. native also deposited five of his six kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks. He has posted a SoCon leading 15 touchbacks in 18 kickoffs this season.
Furman (2-1, 1-0 SoCon) plays at Charleston Southern this Saturday. Kickoff is set for noon.