Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Carlton Koonce who?
Fordham entered the 2014 season with easily one of the most talented and senior-laden offenses in the country, led by Michael Nebrich at quarterback and featuring Brian Wetzel, Sam Ajala and Tebucky Jones as 1,000-yard wide receivers and Dan Light at tight end. The combination of skills position players was, and still is, considered one of the best in the FCS.
The biggest question for the Rams was how they'd replace Koonce at running back. He was one of the Patriot League's top rushers, finishing the 2013 campaign with 1,462 yards and nine touchdowns. He was even better in 2012, setting the Fordham school record with 1,596 rushing yards and adding 13 touchdowns.
Enter freshman Chase Edmonds, who had a breakout first weekend against Saint Francis (Pa.) from the Northeast Conference. Not only did Edmonds take control of the running back situation, but he answered the call as the team's kick returner, too.
With a Division I-high 300 all-purpose yards in his debut contest and a pair of rushing touchdowns, Edmonds may have just solidified his role as Fordham's next top offensive weapon. Yes, it's early in the season, but Edmonds and the Rams have to start building somewhere.
For Week 1 of the season, Edmonds made the cut as the top freshman performer. Central Connecticut State's Rob Hollomon, North Dakota State's Kyle Emanuel and Wofford's David Marvin also have been named The Sports Network's FCS national players of the week.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Rob Hollomon, Central Connecticut State, RB, Sr., 5-8, 170, Philadelphia
It helps that Hollomon's Blue Devils stunned 13th-ranked Towson, last year's FCS national runner-up, for a 31-27 Week 1 win. Hollomon, who is an all-purpose master, was an integral part of the upset. The senior running back gained 209 total yards from scrimmage and produced 280 all-purpose yards for CCSU. The Philadelphia native rushed 23 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns, caught nine passes for 48 yards, took three kickoff returns for 68 yards and had one punt return for seven yards. His 1-yard touchdown run with 36 seconds to play gave CCSU the winning margin.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kyle Emanuel, North Dakota State, DE, Sr., 6-3, 251, Schuyler, Nebraska
Here's a lesson: Don't ever doubt the Bison. Emanuel, a senior defensive end coming off a national championship with North Dakota State, led his defense Saturday against FBS foe Iowa State in a 34-14 upset win. The Bison ranked first last season in run defense, and Emanuel helped NDSU hold the Cyclones to 102 yards on the ground. Emanuel registered nine tackles in the win, which included four tackles for loss (totaling 12 yards) and two sacks, and he forced a fumble. His efforts helped North Dakota State win its fifth consecutive game against FBS competition, and it was the program's FCS-record 25th straight win dating back to the 2012 season.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
David Marvin, Wofford, PK/P, R-Fr., 6-2, 205, Charlotte, North Carolina
Since Wofford was going up against ACC power Georgia Tech on Saturday, Marvin's leg was certainly needed in handling all the kicking duties for the Terriers. He boomed four punts for an average of 43.5 yards (including a long of 51), made both of his field goal attempts (including a long of 51 yards in the third quarter), and averaged 63 yards on five kickoffs. The Terriers fell to the Yellow Jackets, 38-18.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Chase Edmonds, Fordham, RB, Fr., 5-9, 185, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Edmonds's performance was not only eye-opening, it was also record-setting for the freshman. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, native dashed for a school freshman record 181 yards and two touchdowns in the Rams' 52-23 win over Saint Francis (Pa.). He averaged just under 10 yards on 19 carries. He also opened the contest with a 65-yard kick return that set the Rams offense up in enemy territory. On the day, Edmonds returned three kickoffs for a total of 119 yards. His 300 all-purpose yards in the contest was the best in all of Division I football on opening weekend.