C-USA Players Of The Week: Cato & Milstead
By Veair Green
The Haves and the Have Nots is a popular show on cable television. That title can also describe the talent divide between offenses and defenses in Conference USA. Other than a few defensive studs like D'Joun Smith, Marcus Trice, Shawn Jackson and a few others, offense dominates the day.
Shane Carden, QB, ECU: 21/31, 347 passing yards, 5 TDs vs. UAB (second straight week with five touchdown passes)
Rakeem Cato,QB, Marshall: 33/58, 456 passing yards, 5 TDs vs. Tulsa
Vintavious Cooper, RB, ECU: 15 carries, 126 rushing yards, 3 TDs vs. UAB
Charles Ross, RB, Rice: 27 carries, 215 rushing yards, 5 TDs vs. La. Tech (school record for TD runs in single game)
Tommy Shuler, WR, Marshall: 9 catches, 105 receiving yards, 2 TDs vs. Tulsa
Trey Watts, RB, Tulsa: 31 carries, 169 rushing yards, 2 TDs vs. Marshall
Reese Wiggins, WR, ECU: 5 catches, 142 receiving yards, 3 TDs vs. UAB
Shawn Jackson, LB, Tulsa: 14 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 INT vs. Marshall
Christian Milstead, DB, FAU: 2 INTs, 1 TD vs. Southern Mississippi (61-yard interception return for touchdown)
Kyle Tudor, LB, ECU: 6 tackles,1 sack, 1 INT, 1 TD vs. UAB
Offensive Player Of The Week
This was the toughest choice I have had to make this year on who gets this award. Do I go with Mr. Reliable, Shane Carden, and his five touchdown tosses? Or the rambling running reportoiere of Ross?
Both of these guys are deserving, but the winner of this week's Football.com Offensive Player of the Week award is Rakeem Cato. The Marshall signal caller was in a battle, got knocked down many times versus Tulsa, but always got up and delivered. After the Golden Hurricane scored 21 unanswered points in the second half, Cato stepped up.
The junior quarterback led his team to 14 points in the fourth quarter to bring home the win for an emotional team and coaching staff. The kickoff was pushed back one minute to silently honor the victims of deadly plane crash that killed 75 members of the Marshall family on Nov. 14, 1970, at 6:36 p.m. CST. This high-powered offense goes as far as Cato will take it, and right now a conference title is in sight.
Defensive Player Of The Week
As much as I want to give Jackson this award, I couldn't help but notice how great a game Milstead played. He is this week's Football.com's Defensive Player of the Week. Southern Miss must have gotten word of our "D'Joun Smith for Jim Thorpe Award" campaign, because they rarely threw to his side. Milstead was up to the task and even recorded a pick six of his own. As long as Smith keeps balling and shutting down his side of the field, Milstead will get plenty of work.