Nelson, Friel, Stephenson among four players honored as Independent Players of the Week

Kaneakua Friel had a career day in helping BYU defeat Washington State 30-6. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

FOOTBALL BOWL SUBDIVISION INDEPENDENT PLAYERS OF THE WEEK NAMED

BYU quarterback Riley Nelson, BYU tight end Kaneakua Friel, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and BYU punter/kicker Riley Stephenson have been named FBS Independent Players of the Week, for games played through September 1st.  Nelson and Friel are honored on Offense, Te’o is recognized on Defense, while Stephenson gets the nod on Special Teams.  Nelson is a career five-time weekly honoree, while Te’o receives the award for a fourth time; Friel and Stephenson are first-time recipients.

The FBS Independent Players of the Week are selected by members of a nationwide media panel, which includes equal representation from each of the independent institutions’ coverage markets.

CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

BYU QB Riley Nelson

A senior from Logan, Utah, Nelson completed 25 of 36 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, in leading BYU to a season-opening 30-6 home win over Washington State.  BYU’s third-leading all-time rusher among quarterbacks, Nelson added 18 yards on the ground as the Cougars won their fifth consecutive game, and their season debut for a sixth consecutive season.  

BYU TE Kaneakua Friel

A junior from Kaneohe, Hawaii, Friel established career highs with six receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns in BYU’s 30-6 victory over Washington State at LaVell Edwards Stadium.  In only his second start, Friel became the first BYU tight end since Dennis Pitta in 2009 to record 100-plus receiving yards and multiple TDs in a single game.   

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o

A senior from Laie, Hawaii, Te’o notched a pair of career firsts as he helped Notre Dame stifle Navy 50-10, in a game played at Dublin, Ireland.  Three of Te’o’s six tackles were of the solo variety, while his second-quarter fumble recovery and third-quarter interception were both the first of his decorated Fighting Irish career. 

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK

BYU P/K Riley Stephenson

A senior from St. George, Utah, Stephenson stepped in for injured placekicker Justin Sorensen and performed double-duty in BYU’s 30-6 home field win over Washington State.  Called on to kick field goals and PATs for the first time in his BYU career, Stephenson made three of four three-pointers (connecting from 21, 28 and 31 yards) and all three of his point-after attempts.  Stephenson also kicked off six times, and averaged 49.0 yards on two punts, the second of which traveled 53 yards.