Rookie Back Nets 173 vs. Lions
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Ten of Zane Dudek's 25 carries last Saturday against first-place Columbia went for first downs during a season-best 173-yard performance that led to a crucial Yale football victory. That earned the first-year running back STATS FCS National Rookie of the Week as well as offensive player and co-rookie of the week in the Ivy League.
Dudek, who ranks second among all Football Championship Subdivision ball carriers with an 8.4 yards per carry mark, was placed on the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award Watch List for the top rookie in the FCS last week. He owns the Yale freshman record (9) for touchdowns in a varsity season and has been Ivy Rookie of the Week three times while having four games over 100 yards.
"Zane's daily mentality at practice to become the best, complete back he can become is why he is having so much early success," said Yale running backs coach Derrick Lett. "His practice habits are amazing every day."
Dudek, a Kittanning, Pa., native, also recognized by the website College Performance Awards after leading the team with four catches on the way to the 23-6 win over the Lions, has 724 yards in seven collegiate games. However, he does not feel it's been an easy transition to the college game.
After the Sept. 23 game at Yale Bowl, he said, "I still have to adapt to lower plays, just getting three or four yards on plays instead of going for the long run the way I used to. I have to get used to not being wide open. Our O-line does a great job, so I can focus on getting us second and five to make it easier on our offense."
The former Armstrong High School star was "wide open." He ran for 2,955 yards in 11 games his senior season while setting the conference regular-season scoring record with 254 points. His Western Pennsylvania high school game rushing record of 492 yards wasn't meant to last (it got broken this fall), but it's a lot more than many running backs get in a season.
The Bulldogs host Brown this Friday night at 8 in a game airing live on NBCSN and on WELI Radio.
IVY LEAGUE HONORS - Oct. 30, 2017
OFFENSIVE PLAYER/CO-ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Zane Dudek, Yale (Fr., RB – Kittanning, Pa.)
25 rushes, 173 yds., 6.9 avg.; 4 rec., 45 yds., 19 long, 11.3 avg. vs. Columbia
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Nick Gesualdi, Cornell (Sr., S – Sykesville, Md.)
4 tckls., 2 asst., 6 total, 0.5 TFL, 2 PBR, 1 INT, 3 PD at Princeton
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Nickolas Null, Cornell (So., K/P – Bradenton, Fla.)
3-3 FG, 43 long, 9 pts.; 2-2 XP, 2 pts.; 7 KO, 420 yds., 7 TBs; 4 punts, 150 yds., 37.5 avg., 51 long, 1 FC at Princeton
CO-ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Jake Smith, Harvard (Fr., QB – Ithaca, Mich.)
18-35-0, .514 comp. %, 125 yds., 3 TDs; 9 rushes, 64 yds., 7.1 avg. vs. Dartmouth