On Saturday, Poppy Livers did something that hadn't been done by a Villanova player since a 1980 game against VMI. On Monday, he was honored by the CAA football conference.
Andy Talley hadn't seen one of his players return a punt for a touchdown in his 28 years as the head coach at Villanova, until Saturday that is. Poppy Livers was the first player to take a punt to the house since 1980, when Hall of Famer Howie Long was starting for the Wildcats' defensive line.
Livers took a punt 66-yards, with the help of some good blocks, to score a first-quarter touchdown that helped put the Wildcats ahead of the Georgia State Panthers in Saturday's 49-23 victory.
Talley normally uses a player with good hands and a solid head on his shoulders to field punts. Livers' was charged with making the right decisions in the return game. That strategy avoids a lot of mistakes in the return game, but doesn't allow for many big runs either. Livers was able to find a seam through the kicking team's coverage, and made the right decision to take off through it.
The full list of CAA football weekly awards follows:
Offensive Player of the Week: Andrew Pierce, Junior, RB, Delaware
Coming off a two-carry contest against Maine, Pierce regained his stride in Saturday's 47-24 win over Rhode Island. The junior All-American broke open for a season-high 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 18 rushes for an average of nearly eight yards per carry and his 18th career 100-yard rushing effort. Pierce found the end zone for a third time on a five-yard reception as the Blue Hens rebounded from back-to-back losses with a big win over the Rams.
Defensive Player of the Week: Aaron Roane, Sophomore, DB, Richmond
Roane led a resolved Richmond defensive unit that refused to allow James Madison's offense to find any kind of rhythm in the upstart Spiders' upset of the second-ranked Dukes. The sophomore finished the afternoon with a career-high 14 tackles, including seven solo stops and a sack for a loss of four yards, that helped lead an unranked Richmond team to its first victory over a top-five squad in 11 seasons.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Poppy Livers, Sophomore, PR, Villanova
Livers was an early spark in what became yet another explosive scoring affair for the Wildcats, as he returned a Georgia State first-quarter punt for a 66-yard touchdown and Villanova rolled to its sixth victory in seven weeks on Saturday. The sophomore's score represented the first punt return for a touchdown in head coach Andy Talley's 28-year Wildcat career and the program's first since the 1980 season.
Rookie of the Week: Sean Goldrich, R-Freshman, QB, New Hampshire
Goldrich made the most of his first start in six weeks, with the redshirt freshman returning from injury to help New Hampshire recapture the coveted Brice-Cowell Musket with a 28-21 road win over Maine. Despite the day's steady downpour, Goldrich threw for four touchdowns and just shy of 300 yards as the Wildcats reeled off 28 unanswered points to pick up the rivalry win in the 100th all-time meeting between the two squads.