Craig, a 6-foot-1, 205 pound senior defensive back was instrumental in the Knights 27-9 upset of No. 1 Saint Xavier (Ill.) on Nov. 5. He led the nation's top defense with a team-high 10 tackles (five solo) and had two crucial interceptions of Jimmy Coy, the conference's top passer. The native of Indianapolis, was part of a defensive unit to limit the Cougars to 276 total yards of offense, well below its 500-yard per-game average entering the game. Saturday’s win earned Marian its first-ever Mid-States Football Association Mideast League championship and first undefeated regular season. His six interceptions on the season rank fifth in the NAIA.
Giesen, a 5-foot-11, 175 pound junior running back posted a career day for the Coyotes in their 38-37 win over McPherson (Kan.). He rushed 32 times for a career-high 256 yards (6.7 ypc). Giesen equaled his career high for touchdowns in a game with four. The native of Laguna Niguel, Calif., established the best single-game rushing yardage mark in the NAIA this season and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark (1,186) for the first time in his career. He scored the first three touchdowns of the contest and then notched the eventual game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter that broke a 31-31 tie. Giesen ranks third in the NAIA this year in rushing yards per game (118.6) and fourth in all-purpose yards per game (159.8).
Murray, a 5-foot-8, 165 pound freshman placekicker hit a 30-yard field goal in overtime to send the Fighting Saints to a 30-27 victory over NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Georgia State in the Georgia Dome. Overall, he was 3-of-4 on field goals, which also included a 31-yarder as time expired in regulation. The native of Phoenix, Ariz., executed a successful on-side kick after St. Francis trimmed its deficit to 27-24 with 1:24 left in regulation. The team overcame a 10-point hole in the final five minutes for the programs first victory over a NCAA Division I FCS opponent. Murray ranks ninth in the NAIA in kick scoring per game (6.9).
Offensive Nominees: Bobby Brenneisen, Quincy (Ill.); Anthony Hubert, St. Francis (Ill.); Jeremiah Saffold, Doane (Neb.); Neal Pawsat, Georgetown (Ky.); Brady Wardlaw, Southern Nazarene (Okla.); Jordan Jackson, Benedictine (Kan.); Kevin Sampson, Eastern Oregon ; Chris Hart, Webber International (Fla.); John van den Raadt, Azusa Pacific (Calif.).
Defensive Nominees: Michael Hicks, Southern Nazarene (Okla.); Colby Henderson, Morningside (Iowa); Justin Vargas, Tabor (Kan.); Wayne Williams, Missouri Valley ; Jacob Batterson, William Penn (Iowa); Darius Skinner, Campbellsville (Ky.); Nick Magrone, Eastern Oregon ; Nate Keller, Webber International (Fla.); Sean Barber, Azusa Pacific (Calif.).
Special Teams Nominees: Tim Donegan, Bethel (Tenn.); Austin Coleman, Saint Francis (Ind.); Steven Lopez, Mayville State (N.D.); Austin Ledy, Southwestern (Kan.); Zach Thomas, Missouri Valley ; Mason Prater, Webber International (Fla.); Tom Yaremko, Carroll (Mont.); Jordan Delbaugh, Nebraska Wesleyan.
2011 Football Players of the Week (Offense; Defense; Special Teams)
Week 1: Brandon Smith, Northwestern (Iowa); Reece Green, Marian (Ind.); Marcus Bratton, UVa-Wise (Va.)
Week 2: Chris Ware, Eastern Oregon; Vincent Aguilar, Trinity International (Ill.); Levi Cockle, Peru State (Neb.)
Week 3: Josh Hollingsworth, Faulkner (Ala.); Ross Bauman, Saint Francis (Ind.); Terry Stecker, Kansas Wesleyan
Week 4: Trevor Hoskins, Pikeville (Ky.); Demitri Travis, Pikeville (Ky.); Alex Fambrough, Bethany (Kan.)
Week 5: Jimmy Coy, Saint Xavier (Ill.); Nate Collier, Graceland (Iowa); Tom Lynch, Saint Xavier (Ill.)
Week 6: E.J. White, St. Francis (Ill.); Eric Sheppard, Marian (Ind.); James McClain, Cumberland (Tenn.)
Week 7: Cameron Fore, Benedictine (Kan.); Mike Siegersma, Carroll (Mont.); Aukkarapong Sribenjakul, Montana Western
Week 8: E.J. White, St. Francis (Ill.); Dantren Anderson, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.); Tom Lynch, Saint Xavier (Ill.)
Week 9: John van den Raadt, Azusa Pacific (Calif.); Cris Basch, Saint Mary (Kan.); Treyton Buresh, Midland (Neb.)
Week 10: Brett Giesen, Kansas Wesleyan; Dustin Craig, Marian (Ind.); Sean Murray, St. Francis (Ill.)