THURSDAY, OCTOBER 02, 2003
Football's Ryan Long Earns National Weekly Honors
Oct. 2, 2003
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the second time in four weeks, Jacksonville University freshman punter Ryan Long (Jacksonville/Orange Park) has been named NCAA Division I-AA National Mid-Major Special Teams Player of the Week by Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette for his play in the Dolphins' 34-27 win over Valparaiso on Saturday. No. 9 JU (3-1) won its third straight game and its first over a PFL North opponent. Long was also tabbed Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time on Monday.
Long averaged a league-best 44.8 yards on four punts against the Crusaders, including a 52-yarder, while also booting his first two career field goal attempts and two extra-points. He nailed first-half field goals of 25 and 20 yards in his first kicking action of the season, filling in for Ross Shmunes who missed the game because of the Jewish holidays. For the fourth-straight week, Long leads the PFL and ranks 14th in Division I-AA in punting with a 42.6 average, and has booted two of the top four punts in school history (63, 67 yards).
He also earned PFL and national Player of the Week honors on Sept. 16 after averaging 45.6 yards per punt against Wingate on seven punts, while nailing two kicks inside the 20-yard line. In his first career start, the true freshman averaged 40.5 yards on 10 punts against Lenoir-Rhyne, which was just one punt shy of the school record.
The Dolphins return to action Saturday as they travel to Des Moines, Iowa, to take on Drake in a PFL North Division crossover game. Kickoff is set for 2 pm. EST.