Football Writers Association of America Sept. 24, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
214-870-6516
Senior end creates havoc in upset of UNC
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APPALACHIAN STATE'S TAYLOR IS BRONKO NAGURSKI
NATIONAL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

DALLAS (FWAA) Appalachian State defensive end Demetrius Taylor logged one of the season's best inidividual defensive performances last Saturday, creating 2.5 sacks, forcing two fumbles returning one for a touchdown and an interception that keyed the Mountaineers' 34-31 win at North Carolina. For his epic effort, Taylor has earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 21, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

School sources cite Taylor as the first defender since at least 2000 with 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble return for a touchdown and an interception in the same game. The last time a player matched those defensive statistics without intercepting a pass as Taylor did was Georgia's Marcus Howard in the Sugar Bowl against Hawaii at the end of the 2007 season. According to Sports Reference, there isn't another player with those four statistical accomplishments for the 2019 season to date and only one FBS player reached those four statistical totals for the entire 2018 season.

Taylor, a senior from Miami, Fla., created the first big play in the first quarter by forcing the ball loose while making a blind-side sack. He got back to his feet in time to scoop the ball up and return it 20 yards for a touchdown. His interception came off a pass he deflected in the second quarter, also hauling it in and making a 19-yard return that set up another touchdown. He had knocked down another pass earlier in the quarter in App State's red zone that forced North Carolina into a short field goal as App State built a 27-17 halftime lead. He had four total tackles in the game.

Taylor leads the nation in forced fumbles per game (1.0) and is in the top 10 nationally in tackles for loss per game (4th, 2.0) and sacks per game (8th, 1.17). While helping App State to a 3-0 start under new head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, he's compiled three forced fumbles, six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one fumble recovery (returned for a touchdown), one interception, one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries. Six of his nine total tackles this season have been for losses. The 2.5 tackles for loss against UNC matched his career high set Sept. 7 in his first career start against Charlotte.

"Three turnovers we had no chance if we don't get those three turnovers," Drinkwitz said.

Each Tuesday during the regular season, the FWAA has selected a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week since 2001. Taylor will be added to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Wed., Nov. 20. The winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2019 FWAA All-America Team.

The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association's entire membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists. The committee members then select the winner as the best defensive player in college football.

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, will be held on Mon., Dec. 9 in Charlotte. In addition to the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner's announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw "Bronko" Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

About the Charlotte Touchdown Club
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club's activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1991, the club has raised more than $2 million to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

2019 Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Players of the Week
Weekend of Aug. 31: Alijah Halliburton, Wyoming
Weekend of Sept. 7: Evan Weaver, Cal
Weekend of Sept. 14: David Reese II, Florida
Weekend of Sept. 21: Demetrius Taylor, Appalachian State
Weekend of Sept. 28: Benny Walls, Temple
Weekend of Oct. 5: Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech
Weekend of Oct. 12: Israel Mukuamu, South Carolina

Related link:
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (All-Time Winners, Finalists and Players of the Week)