Kevin Buford (Photo: www.ucasports.com)
FRISCO, Texas (SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE) - Sam Houston State junior receiver Richard Sincere and senior defensive tackle J.T. Cleveland were named the Southland Conference offensive and defensive players of the week, respectively, after leading the Bearkats to a 45-10 win over McNeese State, the league office announced Monday. Central Arkansas senior punter Kevin Bufford was named the conference special teams player of the week.
Offensive Player of the Week: Richard Sincere, Sam Houston State
Sincere helped lead the No. 6/6 Bearkats to a win over No. 21 McNeese State with 12 carries for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The junior from Galveston, Texas (Ball H.S.), scored on runs of 44 and 65 yards to go with 23 receiving yards on three catches. He produced 155 all-purpose yards for a Sam Houston State offense that rolled up 348 yards rushing and 541 yards of total offense against a rush defense that entered the game ranked second in the FCS.
Honorable Mention: Brady Attaway, Stephen F. Austin; Wynrick Smothers, Central Arkansas
Defensive Player of the Week: J.T. Cleveland, Sam Houston State
Cleveland recorded six tackles, including three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks to help led a Bearkat defense that limited McNeese State to just 210 yards total offense and 79 yards rushing. After a field goal with 9:47 in the second quarter, the Bearkats shut out the Cowboys the rest of the game. McNeese netted just three yards on the ground and only 90 yards total offense in the second half. Cleveland, a senior from Baytown, Texas (Lee H.S.), totaled three tackles for losses including back-to-back QB sacks on a fourth quarter drive.
Honorable Mention: Jestin Love, Central Arkansas; Ryan Epperson, Stephen F. Austin.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Kevin Buford, Central Arkansas
Buford punted four times for 190 yards in No. 19/17 Central Arkansas' 24-14 win over Lamar that clinched a winning season for the Bears. The senior from Greenville, Miss. (Greenville H.S.), averaged a career-high 47.5 yards per punt, with punts of 42, 49, 51 and 48 yards. He landed one inside the 20.
Honorable Mention: Brady Attaway, Stephen F. Austin; Trey Diller, Sam Houston State.
Each school's sports information director nominates and votes for the players of the week, though is not permitted to vote for his own player. To receive honorable mention, a player must receive votes from 25 percent of the Southland sports information directors.