A trio of Central Connecticut football players earned Northeast Conference awards on Monday. Senior Brandon Puritt was named the league's Defensive Player of the Week, junior DJ Exilhomme was named the Special Teams Player of the Week and freshman Kyren Petteway was named the league's Rookie if the Week following CCSU's 27-13 road victory over Wagner last Saturday. The win is the fifth road victory of the season for the Blue Devils, the most in the country among FCS programs. CCSU is 8-1 overall and 4-0 in conference action after winning their fifth straight game last Saturday.
Puritt was at the center of a defensive effort that held Wagner to 182 yards, including -26 rush yards. The senior defensive tackle logged 2.5 sacks that resulted in a net loss of 22 yards for the offense. He notched his first quarterback takedown with CCSU holding a 6-3 lead late in the first quarter. Puritt's third-down sack forced a three-and-out while pushing the line of scrimmage back to the Wagner 16-yard line. His second sack derailed Wagner's first possession of the third quarter, forcing the offense into a 2nd-and-18 situation from its own 14. Puritt made two more key hits on back-to-back possession in the fourth quarter. First, he stopped the ball carrier after a one-yard gain on a 2nd-and-15 play. On Wagner's next series, Puritt registered a first-down sack that led to a punt two snaps later.
Exilhomme set the stage for a second-quarter special teams touchdown that bumped the Blue Devils' lead to 13-3 over Wagner. With the Seahawks punting from their own 20-yard line, the veteran safety flew into the backfield and stuffed the kick. The block sent the ball back to the 2-yard line when an opportunistic Alonzo Mitchell recovered it before rumbling into the end zone. The scoring play marked the first CCSU punt block for a touchdown since October 2015.
Petteway's big-play ability was on display again in a 27-13 triumph over Wagner. The rookie receiver, who made two long scoring receptions in a Week 8 win over Bryant, averaged 22.5 yards per catch against Wagner while scoring his third career touchdown. Petteway totaled a game-high 90 yards on four receptions, including the tie-breaking score with 3:35 into the second half. After recording first downs on all three of his first-half grabs, the freshman capped CCSU's first possession on the second half by making a 39-yard touchdown reception that gave CCSU a 20-13 advantage.