Following a record-breaking 49-24 home victory over Wagner on Saturday, a pair of Central Connecticut football players earned Northeast Conference honors on Monday. Sophomore running back Aaron Dawson was named the Co-Offensive Player of the Week, while classmate DJ Exilhomme earned Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Dawson produced an unprecedented second-half showing en-route to breaking the NEC's single-game rushing record during a 49-24 victory over Wagner. Setting a NCAA Division I record for rush yards in one half, the burly CCSU running back carried 15 times for 308 yards over the final 30:00. For the game, Dawson averaged 15.0 yards per rush while totaling an all-time conference single-game high 361 yards and five touchdowns.
The five rushing touchdowns match the school and league's single-game record. While accounting for the sixth-highest rushing total in Division I FCS annals, Dawson scored four touchdowns of at least 45 yards in length. Three of his scores (57, 60, 55 yards) came during the fourth quarter. He ran for 197 yards during the final period, setting the DI FCS mark for most rush yards in a single quarter. Dawson's first touchdown of the game, a 23-yard burst, gave CCSU its first lead of the game (21-17) with 9:22 left in the opening half. After Wagner jumped back in front by a 24-21 margin early in the third quarter, Dawson answered by rushing 45 yards for a score on the very next play from scrimmage.
Exilhomme recorded the Blue Devils' first touchdown and played a key role in setting up the team's second score during a home victory over NEC rival Wagner. Leading an effort that limited the opposition to 3.2 yards per play, the CCSU defensive back totaled seven tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in the 49-24 triumph. With CCSU facing an early 14-0 deficit, Exilhomme recovered a Wagner fumble in the end zone to put the Blue Devils on the score board with 5:43 remaining in the first quarter. On Wagner's ensuing possession, Exilhomme forced a fourth-down fumble that set up a short field for the CCSU offense. The second-year Blue Devil stopped Wagner's Ryan Fulse, the nation's leading rusher, for a three-yard gain or less on three different occasions.