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Record Performances Punctuate Penultimate Pigskin Week
Jesse Zalk set GNAC single-game records with 307 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns while tying a third record for scoring with five touchdowns & 30 points.
Jesse Zalk set GNAC single-game records with 307 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns while tying a third record for scoring with five touchdowns & 30 points.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

While Azusa Pacific completed an undefeated conference season, it was a pair of individual record performances that stole the headlines on the second to last weekend of the GNAC football regular season.

The first records came in Ellensburg, where Central Washington wide receiver Jesse Zalk finished with 307 receiving yards in the Wildcats’ 41-0 shutout of Simon Fraser. The yards surpasses the previous record set earlier in the season by Western Oregon’s Paul Revis. In the process, Zalk also set a GNAC record with five receiving touchdowns, bettering the four accomplished by three other players, and tied a scoring record with five touchdowns for 30 points.

Even more amazing is that Zalk set the records on just 10 receptions, averaging 30.7 yards per catch. Of his five touchdown receptions, four were 44 yards or longer.

Later in the day, Humboldt State running back Ja’Quan Gardner added his name to the GNAC record book one more time by finishing with 375 all-purpose yards in the Lumberjacks’ 28-14 win over Western State. Gardner carried the ball 43 times for 313 yards and two touchdowns and also had two kick returns for 58 yards. The effort surpassed the previous all-purpose yards record of 340 set by Azusa Pacific’s Terrell Watson in 2014.

The Cougars, meanwhile, became the ninth GNAC team to finish the conference season undefeated with a 33-8 victory over Western Oregon, In the process, APU became the first GNAC team to finish with an 8-0 conference record since Central Washington in 2008.
Azusa Pacific will finish the regular season on the road at Colorado Mesa in a game they must win to keep their Division II playoff hopes alive.The NCAA Selection Show takes place on Sunday at 2 p.m. (Pacific).

Simon Fraser and Central Washington will host the league’s other two matchups to close the regular season. The Clan will host Western Oregon while the Wildcats will host Humboldt State.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE
Jesse Zalk, Central Washington
WR • 5-8 • 162 • Senior • Battle Ground, Wash.

Zalk had a record-breaking day in the Wildcats’ 41-0 win over Simon Fraser on Saturday. The senior caught 10 passes for a GNAC record 307 receiving yards and caught a GNAC record five receiving touchdowns. Zalk scored on CWU’s first play from scrimmage, a play of 77 yards, and also scored on receptions on seven, 44, 50 and 57 yards. Zalk broke the receiving yards record of 250 yards set by Western Oregon’s Paul Revis earlier in the season and five receiving touchdowns broke the record of four by three players, most recently Weston Carr of Azusa Pacific earlier this year.

Ja’Quan Gardner, Humboldt State
RB • 5-7 • 205 • Junior • Ceres, Calif.

Gardner finished with a GNAC single-game record with 375 all-purpose yards in a 28-14 win over Western State. He had 313 rushing yards on 43 carries with two touchdowns and also had two kick returns for 58 yards. Gardner has 100 rushing yards in the first quarter alone.

Also Nominated: Andrew Elffers (Azusa Pacific).

DEFENSE
Kevin Haynes, Central Washington
LB • 6-1 • 228 • Junior • Battle Ground, Wash.

Haynes led Central Washington against Simon Fraser with 12 tackles, six solo, and also had two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. He averaged a tackle every 5.5 plays in the game.

Also Nominated: Bo Highburger (Western Oregon), Aaron Berry (Azusa Pacific).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Paul Revis, Western Oregon
WR • 5-9 • 165 • Junior • Scappoose, Ore.

Revis finished with 223 all-purpose yards in a loss on Saturday to Azusa Pacific. He had three kickoff returns for 70 yards, including a 32-yard return, and returned one punt for 24 yards.

Also Nominated: Jacob Hall (Azusa Pacific).

AROUND THE GNAC
AZUSA PACIFIC
• Azusa Pacific completed the ninth undefeated GNAC season in conference history on Saturday with its 33-8 win at home over Western Oregon. It is just the second time that a team has gone 8-0 in GNAC play (Central Washington went 8-0 in 2008).

• The win allowed the Cougars to retain its No. 13 ranking in the AFCA Division II Coaches Poll and the No. 6 spot in the final NCAA Super Region 3 Rankings.

• The Cougars finished with 422 yards of total offense, 305 of which came in the air. Andrew Elffers completed 20 of 27 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown while Chad Jeffries completed 6 of 8 for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Elffers enters the week third in the GNAC with 189.7 passing yards per game. He is also second in the GNAC and eighth in Division II in pass efficency at 171.0. Jeffries leads the GNAC with a pass efficiency rating of 172.8, but does not meet the NCAA minimum of 15 attempts per game to be nationally ranked.

Ethan Zeidler and Brandon Jackson were the top two passing targets for the APU quarterbacks. Zeidler caught four passes for 97 yards and a touchdown while Jackson caight six passes for 82 yards. Zeidler currently ranks fifth in the GNAC with 62.8 receiving yards per game while Jackson is sixth at 58.6 receiving yards per game.

• Azusa Pacific continues to have one of the top defenses in Division II, leading the country in red zone defense (.440), ranking second in interceptions (22) and team sacks (4.80 per game), third in scoring defense (12.5 points allowed per game), turnovers gained (30) and turnover margin (1.80), seventh in team tackles for loss (9.4 per game) and 10th in rushing defense (90.2 yards allowed per game). Individually, C.J. Broussard leads the GNAC and is 16th in Division II with 0.5 interceptions per game

• On offense, the Cougars leads the GNAC in scoring offense (39 points per game), pass efficiency (170.6), kickoff returns (27.9 yards per return) and field goals (9 of 14 made). In the national stats, APU is second in kickoff returns.

• Azusa Pacific concludes the regular season on the road at Colorado Mesa. The Cougars will then wait for the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday to see if they will be awarded a spot in the Division II playoffs.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington posted its second shutout of the season Saturday, limiting Simon Fraser to 191 yards of total offense in a 41-0 defeat of the Clan.

• Wide receiver Jesse Zalk set GNAC single game records with 307 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns. Zalk had the total on just 10 catches, averaging 30.7 yards per catch. His touchdown receptions were for seven, 44, 50, 57 and 77 yards. He shared the GNAC’s Offensive Player of the Week award for his efforts. Zalk enters the week second in the GNAC with 104.1 receiving yards per game and third with 157.6 all-purpose yards per game. Zalk is ranked 13th in Division II with his 13 receiving touchdowns.

• Defensive back Kevin Haynes was named GNAC Defensive Player of the Week after leading the Wildcats with 12 tackles (6 solo), two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Haynes is second in the GNAC and 27th in Division II with 10.2 tackles per game. He leads the league and is 10th in Division II with 1.94 tackles for loss per game.

• Quarterback Justin Lane paced the offense by completing 19 of 25 passes for 362 yards and four touchdowns. He is second in the GNAC with 245 yards of total offense per game and 242.7 passing yards per game. Lane is also 12th in Division II with 15.38 yards per completion.

• Central Washington leads Division II with 10.6 tackles for loss per game. In addition to Haynes, Tovar Sanchez is averaging 2.00 tackles for loss and 0.94 sacks per game while Sean Elledge is averaging 1.56 tackles for loss per game.

• Central Washington leads the GNAC in passing offense (285.3 yards per game), rushing defense (85.7 yards allowed per game) and opponent first downs (155) and is second in rushing offense (134.4 yards per game), total offense (419.8 yards per game), pass efficiency (161.1), scoring defense (19.4 points allowed per game) and total defense (319.6 yards allowed per game).

• Central Washington closes the season by hosting Humboldt State on Saturday.

HUMBOLDT STATE
• Humboldt State closed its home schedule out in winning fashion, using a pair of second half touchdowns to beat Western State (Colo.) 28-14.

• Running back Ja’Quan Gardner rambled to a GNAC record 375 all-purpose yards, breaking the record of 340 set by Azusa Pacific’s Terrell Watson in 2014. Gardner rushed for 313 yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries and also had two kick returns for 58 yards.The effort allowed Gardner to share the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week award. Gardner leads the GNAC and is 11th in Division II with 124.8 rushing yards per game. He is also second in the GNAC and 16th in Division II with 158.6 all-purpose yards per game.

• Quarterback Robert Webber completed 11 of 28 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown as the Lumberjacks relied primarily on the ground game. Webber leads the GNAC with 278.8 passing yards and 275.6 yards of total offense per game.

• Linebacker Connor Cox lead Humboldt State defensively with eight tackles. As a team, the Lumberjacks are are second in the GNAC in pass defense (228.4 yards allowed per game) and turnover margin (0.60).

• Offensively, Humboldt State leads the GNAC with 169.2 rushing yards per game, 453.8 yards of total offense per game, 239 first downs and 35.4 yards per punt. The Lumberjacks are second in the GNAC in total offense (35.5 points per game) and pass offense (284.6 yards per game).

• Humboldt State closes its 2016 season on the road, playing at Central Washington on Saturday afternoon.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser finished with 191 yards of total offense, but was limited to two third-down conversions and 0 for 1 in the red zone in a 41-0 loss to Central Washington.

• Quarterback Miles Richardson put together one of his best performances of the season, completing 21 of 41 passes for 159 yards. Justin Buren was the recipient of most of the attempts, making nine catches for 99 yards, while Gavin Cobb made four catches for 28 yards. Buren enters the week fourth in the GNAC with 66.1 receiving yards per game. Cobb enters the week fourth in the GNAC with 133.2 all-purpose yards per game.

• Linebacker Jordan Herdman added eight tackles to his total along with a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. The senior leads the GNAC and is fifth in Division II with 11.7 tackles per game. Herdman also continues to add to his career records with a total of 421 total tackles and 219 assisted tackles.

• Simon Fraser enters the week seventh in Division II with seven fumble recoveries and 21st with 8.6 tackles for loss per game. The Clan has three players ranked in the GNAC top-10 in tackles for loss: Brad Lyons (fourth, 1.33 per game), Herdman and Kyle Wilson (tie for seventh, 1.28 per game).

• Simon Fraser set a GNAC record with 13 punts against Central Washington on Oct. 1, surpassing the mark of 12 set by five different teams, most recently Western Oregon vs. Portland State on Sept. 26, 2015. Punter Colin Cossette kicked the ball away all 13 games to surpass the individual single game record of 12 set three times, most recently Western Oregon’s Alexander Bradt against Western Oregon in 2015. Cossette averaged 30.8 yards per punt in the game.

• Simon Fraser hosts Western Oregon on Saturday to end the 2016 season.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon was kept out of the end zone until the fourth quarter by Azusa Pacific, finishing with 235 yards of total offense in a 33-8 loss to the Cougars.

• Receiver Paul Revis was named GNAC Special Teams Player of the Week after he returned one punt return for 24 yards and three kickoffs for 70 yards. Revis finished the day with 223 all-purpose yards, including 129 receiving yards and a touchdown on five catches. Revis enters the week leading Division II with 24.3 yards per punt return. He also leads the GNAC and is fifth in Division II with 187 all-purpose yards per game. Revis also leads all GNAC receivers with 105.3 yards per game.

• Quarterback Nick Duckworth took most of the snaps in the game, completing 11 of 20 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Bo Highburger had a big day for the Western Oregon defense with 15 tackles while George Swartzlender had eight tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Highburger enters the week second in the GNAC and 27th in Division II with 10.2 tackles per game and is 23rd in Division II with 5.9 solo tackles per game.

• As a team, Western Oregon leads the GNAC and is second in Division II with an average of 22.1 yards per punt return. The Wolves are also second in the league with 21.1 yards per kickoff return.

• Western Oregon closes it season on the road at Simon Fraser.

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