Gaines receives fourth Defensive Player of the Week award of his career
Markus named Rookie of the Week after breakout performance
EASTON, Mass. (October 15, 2012) – Two members of the Stonehill College football team received weekly awards from the Northeast-10 Conference for their efforts in Saturday's key 22-20 victory over Merrimack College in a Conference matchup on Senior Day at W.B. Mason Stadium.
Senior defensive back Jareed Gaines (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) has been named the NE-10's Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in leading the Stonehill defense, while freshman Colin Markus (Monroe, Conn./Masuk) collects Rookie of the Week honors from the league office.
Gaines, who earns Defensive Player of the Week honors for the fourth time in his career, led a Stonehill defense which held Merrimack, the Conference's top offense, nearly 200 yards and 16 points below its season average in Saturday's win. He posted his sixth double-figure tackle effort in seven games this season with a game-high 11 stops (nine solo) with three pass breakups and a forced fumble that helped clinch the win later in the fourth quarter.
Stonehill's defense limited a Merrimack offense that was averaging a Northeast-10 best 520 yards per game (3rd nationally) and 6.1 yards per play, while ranking second in the Conference (26th nationally) with 36.6 points per game. Merrimack posted just 4.2 yards per play (1.5 rushing), were limited to 123 total yards and six points in the second half, and finished with just 31 yards on the ground and 312 passing. The Skyhawks, which led the NE-10 (18th nationally) in takeaways, forced three more turnovers on Saturday with an interception and two fumble recoveries, while also adding five stops on fourth down and three sacks.
Gaines leads the Northeast-10 with 81 tackles (6th nationally), including 48 solo (4th), ranking second in the Conference with a team-high 7.5 tackles for a loss of 20 yards, with 2.0 sacks (12th NE-10) for a loss of eight yards, a Conference-leading nine pass breakups and three forced fumbles (9th nationally).
Gaines, who earned preseason All-America honors this summer, has played 36 games over his career at Stonehill and holds the school career records with six blocked kicks, ten fumble recoveries, two fumble return scores and 121 fumble return yards. He has moved into third place on Stonehill's career tackles list with 291 and into a tie for fifth all-time with 152 solo tackles, while his seven career forced fumbles are tied for second all-time (one shy of the school record) and his 18 career pass breakups are good for sixth all-time. Gaines ranks second in program history with five career fumble returns, fifth with 37.0 career tackles for loss and fifth with 139 assisted tackles.
Markus, who is the third Stonehill freshman to collect Rookie of the Week honors this season, earns his first award after a breakout performance on Saturday. He posted a game and season-high 145 all-purpose yards as he rushed the ball four times for a season-high 67 yards and a touchdown to go with two receptions for a team and season-best 78 yards.
Markus averaged 24.2 yards per touch, with 16.8 yards per carry and 39 yards per reception. His 42 yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter gave the Skyhawks a 10-0 lead and marks the longest rush by a Stonehill player this season. He added a 60 yard reception later in the first quarter that set up the Skyhawks second field goal of the day for a 13-8 advantage and is the longest passing play of the year for the team.
Markus has played all seven games for Stonehill in his freshman season, but was mainly used on special teams until the last three weeks. He is averaging 15.4 yards per carry with 77 yards on five attempts and the one touchdown, to go with three receptions for 80 yards (26.7/reception).
Stonehill (4-3, 4-2 NE-10) has a short week before returning to action on Thursday night to host the University of New Haven, ranked third in this week's American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll, at W.B. Mason Stadium at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network. There are a very limited number of tickets remaining for Thursday night's game, so fans are encouraged to arrive early with the ticket booth opening at 6 p.m.