Football Writers Association of America Sept. 22, 2020
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
Senior linebackers lifts Herd to upset of App State
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DALLAS (FWAA) Linebacker Tavante Beckett led Marshall to one of the best defensive showings in the early season with his career-high 16 tackles and a forced fumble as the Thundering Herd held No. 23 App State in check in a 17-7 win. Beckett's tackle count Marshall's highest since 2017 earned him the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games in the weekend of Sept. 19, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.


Beckett, a 5-10, 214-pound redshirt senior from Chesapeake, Va., is the first Marshall player since 2011 to earn the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week Award (defensive end Vinny Curry) and only the second all-time.

Championed by the co-captain's eight solos among the 16 total tackles, Marshall held App State to its lowest rushing total (96 yards) in six seasons to defeat a ranked opponent for the first time since winning at No. 6 Kansas State in 2003, and its first home win over a ranked foe since 1976. The Herd held the Mountaineers scoreless on their final 10 possessions, aided by a takeaway after punching a fumble loose into the end zone and recovering for a touchback. App State averaged 231 rushing yards per game last year, 16th in the nation, and ran for 308 yards in their opener against Charlotte but was held to its lowest scoring total since moving into the FBS in 2014.

Beckett's 24 tackles in two games are second nationally among all FBS players, and the 16 tackles were the most by a Herd defender since Chase Hancock made 18 tackles against Southern Miss in 2017.

Beckett will be added to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. No Marshall player has won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy; defensive end Jonathan Goddard was a finalist in 2004.

Marshall, idle this week, was to host Rice on Oct. 3 before the Owls had to postpone. The Herd's next scheduled game is Oct. 10, hosting WKU.

Each Tuesday during the regular season, the FWAA has selected a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week since 2001. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy later this season. The national defensive player of the year will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2020 FWAA All-America Team.

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

About the Charlotte Touchdown Club
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 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 1990, 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 The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is

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2020 Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Players of the Week
Weekend of Sept. 5: Isaiah Kaufusi, LB, BYU
Weekend of Sept. 12: Curtis Ryans, DE, Georgia Tech
Weekend of Sept. 19: Tavante Beckett, LB, Marshall
Weekend of Sept. 26: Jahron McPherson, S, Kansas State
Weekend of Oct. 3: Bumper Pool, LB, Arkansas
Weekend of Oct. 10: Nick Bolton, LB, Missouri
Weekend of Oct. 17: Grant Morgan, LB, Arkansas
Weekend of Oct. 24: Nick Andersen, S, Wake Forest
Weekend of Oct. 31: Joseph Ossai, DE/LB, Texas
Weekend of Nov. 7: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Weekend of Nov. 14: Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Weekend of Nov. 21: Blake Gallagher, LB, Northwestern
Weekend of Nov. 28: Nate Landman, LB, Colorado

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