Aurora's Zimbelman, Benedictine's Mateus Named to D3football.com Team of the Week

Aurora quarterback Gavin Zimbelman (left) and Benedictine placekicker Tanner Mateus (right) have been named to the initial D3football.com Team of the Week for the 2019 season.
Aurora quarterback Gavin Zimbelman (left) and Benedictine placekicker Tanner Mateus (right) have been named to the initial D3football.com Team of the Week for the 2019 season.

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (naccsports.org) --- Aurora University quarterback Gavin Zimbelman and Benedictine University placekicker Tanner Mateus have been named to the initial D3football.com Team of the Week presented by Scoutware for the 2019 season after helping lead their teams to significant season-opening victories.

QB Gavin Zimbelman, Jr., Aurora

Zimbelman, a junior from Manteno, Illinois, completed 33 of 52 passes for 497 yards and seven touchdowns in Aurora's 50-40 victory over No. 25 St. Norbert College. He set AU single-game records for touchdowns, passing yards, attempts, and completions and broke the NACC single-game record for touchdown passes. Zimbelman completed passes to nine different receivers including a 92-yard touchdown strike to Jacolby Maxwell late in the first quarter that set a new Aurora record for longest pass play from scrimmage. 

K Tanner Mateus, Fr., Benedictine

Mateus, a freshman from Belvidere, Illinois, converted his first two collegiate field goal attempts in a 26-25 win over Franklin College. He nailed a 32-yarder on an untimed down at the end of the first half, then later connected on a 33-yarder late in the third to put the Eagles up 19-17.

 

Presented by Scoutware

Games of Sept. 5-7, 2019

Offense

QB Gavin Zimbelman, Jr., Aurora

Zimbelman led Aurora to a 50-40 victory over No. 25 St. Norbert. Zimbelman set school records for touchdowns, yards, completions, attempts and long pass play from scrimmage in the contest. He finished the day 33-of-52 for 497 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions in Don Beebe's first game as head coach. He connected on a 92-yard touchdown pass among his completions to nine AU receivers.

OL Colton Bauknecht, Sharmore Clarke, Jarod Thornton, Ricky Strba, Jake Fiedler, North Central (Ill.)

The Cardinals' front line cleared the way for a season opener free of turnovers and punts. North Central gained 508 total yards and owned a 35:47-24:13 advantage in time of possession. The Cardinals reached the end zone on their first three offensive drives.

RB Da'Avian Ellington, Jr., Susquehanna

Da'Avian Ellington put up 179 yards on the ground, including a pair of 60-plus-yard runs. Both of those runs resulted in touchdowns. The 13 carries, 179 yards and touchdowns were all career-highs for Ellington.

WR Mack Journell, Sr., Carleton

Mack Journell hauled in 14 catches for a career-best 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Carleton's 41-0 rout of Macalester. With the Knights up 13-0 midway through the third quarter, Journell scored on back-to-back possessions to put the game out of reach by first out-jumping two defenders for a 16-yard touchdown catch and later breaking two tackles to reach the end zone for a 31-yard catch-and-run on fourth-and-9. The Carleton win avenged a tough 10-point loss to the Scots in last year's season-opener and returned the "Book of Knowledge" Trophy to Northfield for the first time since 2015.

WR James Gillespie, Sr., Widener

Gillespie hauled in 13 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns as Widener downed Rowan for the first time since 2014. The 13 catches for Gillespie were the most for a Widener player since the 2014 playoffs. He also added 45 kick return yards for 203 all-purpose in the 38-28 win.

WR Damarquis Price, Sr., FDU-Florham

Price hauled in 10 catches for 223 yards and three touchdowns as the Devils knocked off Merchant Marine Academy 56-48. He had a long catch of 76 yards.

TE Matt Jolliffe, Sr., Kenyon

Jolliffe caught eight passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. It was the first of the game and got the scoring started for Kenyon as the Lords ended a 26-game losing streak with a 36-35 win at Catholic.

Defense

DE Michael Nobile, So., Delaware Valley

Nobile recorded a team-high eight tackles and 6.5 came behind the line of scrimmage including a safety to get the Aggies on the board. He added a half a sack in the second half as DelVal earned a convincing 37-7 victory at Kean.

DT Mike Williams, Sr., Washington & Jefferson

Williams recorded a career-high 10 tackles, a pair of sacks and forced a fumble that senior Nick Getz returned 52 yards for a defensive touchdown to help propel No. 21 W&J to a 16-8 victory over No. 18 Wittenberg.

DT Dallas McRae, Sr., Wheaton (Ill.)

McRae shined for a Wheaton defensive line that was outstanding in a 38-0 shutout at Monmouth as the Thunder defense held the Fighting Scots to 56 yards of total offense on an average of just one yard per play in the game. His nine tackles from the nose tackle position was the most of anyone on the Wheaton defense and his five solo tackles was also a team-high. He also had two tackles for loss.

DE Jordan McInerney, Sr., Lake Forest

McInerney's 3.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss helped the Foresters open Week 1 with a 27-15 victory over Wisconsin Lutheran. The senior defensive end paced the team in total tackles as well, with 10 tackles, seven solo. He moves into fifth for career tackles for loss and sixth in sacks during the school's 137 years of college football.

LB Dillon Keefe, Jr., Chapman

Keefe had five solo tackles in the game, but three of them were tackles for loss, including two sacks. He also had two QB hurries and a forced fumble in a 45-14 win vs. Pacific. He also blocked a punt in the fourth quarter.

LB Kevin O'Boyle, So., Carthage

Along with his 11 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss, O'Boyle returned a blocked field goal 85 yards for a touchdown in Carthage's 20-19 loss at UW-Oshkosh.

LB Sean Sullivan, Sr., Mount St. Joseph

Sullivan led the Lions defense in facing off with the triple option of Geneva. He led the Lions with a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference-high 19 tackles, 10 solo, and added two tackles for loss and a forced fumble in a 41-27 victory.

CB Benjamin Cooney, So., Claremont-Mudd-Scripps

Cooney had six pass breakups, and an interception return for a touchdown. He also recorded seven tackles, all of them solo, in Claremont-Mudd-Scripps' 21-17 loss to Puget Sound.

S Aaron Pierce, Sr., Westminster (Pa.)

Pierce returned a pair of interceptions for touchdowns in Thursday's season-opening win against Capital. His 97-yard return gave the Titans a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter and his 50-yard score came just four offensive plays later. Pierce is the first PAC player since Thomas More's Marcus Lancaster (at Bethany, Oct. 23, 2010) to return two interceptions for touchdowns in a game.

S Jake Sypniewski, Sr., Kalamazoo

Sypniewski recorded three interceptions and five tackles in Kalamazoo's first shutout since 1998. His third interception was in Kalamazoo's end zone with 26 seconds left in the game preserving the win for the Hornets, a 3-0 victory vs. Oberlin.

CB Chase Rosenthal, Jr., Bridgewater 

Rosenthal intercepted two first half passes, returning one for a touchdown and the other one 36 yards in a 41-10 win vs. Gettysburg. He also recorded a pass breakup and a solo tackle.

Special teams

K Tanner Mateus, Fr., Benedictine

Mateus kicked a pair of field goals on first his two collegiate attempts. Drained a 32-yarder on an untimed down before the end of the first half to extend Benedictine's lead and connected on a 33-yarder late in the third to put the Eagles ahead 19-17 in a one-point win over Franklin.

P Cole Westberry, Sr., Averett

Westberry tied the program record for longest punt with a 69-yard boot against Hampden-Sydney and averaged 47.2 yards on seven punts. Five of his punts were pinned inside the 20.

RET Joshua Tapscott, Sr., Averett

Tapscott returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown immediately after Hampden-Sydney had taken the lead with a touchdown, giving Averett the lead again. The Cougars never trailed again in a 28-16 win.

ST Kyle Smith, Sr., Ithaca

Smith blocked two punts and returned one of those blocks for a touchdown in a 66-28 victory for Ithaca at St. Vincent. Smith returned his first blocked punt 26 yards for a touchdown to give IC a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. Just over two minutes later, he blocked the second punt and Ithaca scored four plays later. Smith was credited with 53 punt return yards in the game.