OTTAWA (CIS) – Quarterback Michael O'Connor, defensive back Stavros Katsantonis and kicker Quinn van Gylswyk, all from the Vanier Cup champion University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, are the CIS football players of the week for the period ending Nov. 28, 2015.
O'Connor, a first-year arts student from Ottawa, was honoured on offence following his game-MVP performance in a dramatic 26-23 triumph over the 2014 champion Montreal Carabins in the ArcelorMittal Vanier Cup presented by Promutuel Assurance last Saturday in Quebec City. The 6-foot-5, 226-pound freshman received the Ted Morris Memorial Trophy after he completed 31 of 51 passes for 389 yards, one touchdown and no interception. The Penn State transfer became only the second rookie starting pivot to lead his team to a Vanier Cup victory after StFX's Terry Dolan back in 1966.
Montreal quarterback Gabriel Cousineau was also up for the award.
Katsantonis, a first-year arts student from Bakersfield, Calif., took home the award on defence after he received the Bruce Coulter Award as the top defensive performer in the national championship match. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound rookie finished the contest with 6.5 tackles, including a team-high five solo tackles, one pass break-up and a key forced fumble – which he recovered himself – early in the fourth quarter. With the Thunderbirds holding on to a slim 23-16 lead and Montreal driving at midfield,
Katsantonis stripped the ball out of star running back Sean Thomas Erlington's hands to stall the powerful Carabins offence.
Montreal defensive end Jonathan Boissonneault-Glaou was also nominated.
Van Gylswyk, a third-year arts student from Victoria, was the choice on special teams for the fourth straight week thanks to his four field goals in as many attempts in the CIS final, including the game-winning kick from 20 yards out as time expired. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound junior, who also averaged 41.2 yards per punt and 56.7 per kickoff on the afternoon, had split the uprights from 45, 33 and 43 yards out earlier in the contest as UBC built an early 13-0 advantage in the opening quarter and led 16-10 at halftime. After making 20 of 24 field goal attempts during the eight-game regular season, van Gylswyk went a remarkable 17-of-19 in four playoff outings, his only misses coming on 44 and 50-yard tries.
Montreal kicker David Deschamps was the other nominee.
Offensive nominees: AUS: No games scheduled RSEQ: Gabriel Cousineau, quarterback, Montreal OUA: No games scheduled CWUAA: Michael O'Connor, quarterback, UBC (recipient)
Defensive nominees: AUS: No games scheduled RSEQ: Jonathan Boissonneault-Glaou, Montreal (recipient) OUA: No games scheduled CWUAA: Stavros Katsantonis, defensive back, UBC (recipient)
Special team nominees: AUS: No games scheduled RSEQ: David Deschamps, kicker, Montreal OUA: No games scheduled CWUAA: Quinn van Gylswyk, kicker, UBC (recipient)
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Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) represents journalists and broadcasters in every region of the country covering CIS Football. Since 1958, Football Reporters of Canada has been an organization of media members who have covered the Canadian Football League, serving to select the league's outstanding players, coach-of-the-year and all-star teams through voting conducted by its members. In 2009, the FRC amalgamated with the University Football Reporters of Canada (UFRC) to give the organization greater scope in its affiliation with amateur and college football. FRC also works with the CFL and CIS to establish guidelines and working conditions for the men and women who report on the game. Selected members of FRC also help to choose builders, players and media members for induction into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.