The American Athletic Conference has announced the winners of the league’s weekly football honors for the ninth week of the 2021 season.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Nathaniel Dell • So. • WR • Houston
Dell led Houston to a 44-37 win against previously unbeaten SMU, which was ranked No. 19 and No. 16 in last week’s national polls. Dell had nine receptions for 165 yards and three touchdowns (7, 48, 17), becoming the first Cougar player with three touchdown catches since the 2018 season. Two of Dell’s three touchdown catches gave Houston a lead, while he also had a key 52-yard reception to set up a Cougar field goal.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Malik Fleming • So. • CB • East Carolina
Fleming had the pivotal defensive play in East Carolina’s 29-14 win against South Florida Thursday with a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter. That play came with the Pirates trailing 14-13 and gave East Carolina a lead it would not relinquish. Fleming, who finished with three tackles and a pass breakup against the Bulls, ranks sixth in The American with 1.13 passes defended per game.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Marcus Jones • Sr. • CB • Houston
Jones picked up his fourth special teams touchdown of the season and the ninth of his career, in Houston’s 44-37 win against No. 19/16 SMU. Jones delivered the win with a 100-yard kickoff return with 17 seconds left in regulation moments after SMU had hit the tying field goal. He finished the game with 145 yards on three kickoff returns and 32 yards on a pair of punt returns and had six tackles, a tackle for loss and an interception on defense. Jones is tied for the national lead in both kickoff return touchdowns (two) and punt return touchdowns (two) in 2021.
Mikey Keene • Fr. • QB • UCF
Completed 15 of 21 for 229 yards and five touchdowns with one interception in a 49-7 win at Temple.
Desmond Ridder • Sr. • QB • Cincinnati
Completed 17 of 27 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns and an interception and added 47 rushing yards in a 31-12 win at Tulane.
John Marshall • Jr. • LB • Navy
Had nine tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery in a 20-17 win at Tulsa, helping limit the Golden Hurricane to 294 yards of offense.
Bryan Massey • So. • S • SMU
Had five tackles, a pass breakup and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in a 44-37 loss at Houston.
Anthony Watkins • So. • RB • Tulsa
Had 178 all-purpose yards, including a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, in a 20-17 loss to Navy.