The freshman wide receiver was named offensive player of the game.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- T. J. Peterson was recruited at Youngstown State as a wide receiver for the future.
But when starting receivers Jerald Burley and Phil Larmon went down with injuries before the season started, Peterson was called upon for backup duties in his first season.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is one of the taller targets on the YSU receiving corps.
He played sparingly in the team's first two games, but Saturday night in the 13-7 loss to Western Kentucky, the Gateway Conference opener for the Penguins, he came on in the second half to make a couple of catches.
Two big catches
The first one was a 39-yard pass from senior Colby Street in which he was wide open down the sidelines. The second, also from Street, went for 23 yards and Peterson caught the ball between two Western Kentucky defenders, who pounded him immediately, but he held onto the football.
Unfortunately neither catch led to any YSU points as one drive ended with an interception in the end zone and the second with a punt.
For his efforts Peterson was named the MVR Club's offensive player of the game.
He caught 21 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns as a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida. He also was a track standout competing in the long jump and sprints.
For the second week in a row, senior linebacker Jon Tekac was named the MVR Club's defensive player of the game.
The 6-1, 235-pounder from New Wilmington, Pa. was in double figures in tackles for the third straight week. Tekac had 12 tackles against Western Kentucky, and two of them were for losses.
Tekac leads the team with 40 tackles, nine of them behind the line of scrimmage, including three sacks.
This week's special team's player of the week was Burley, who returned two punts and two kickoffs, while also catching a pair of passes. His second catch, a 32-yard strike from senior Justin Green, helped set up YSU's only touchdown in the second quarter.
Stuvaints plays well
Senior linebacker Russell Stuvaints was selected the Jermaine Hopkins defensive lineman of the week.
The 6-0, 215-pounder, who has been off to a slow start this season, had four tackles, including a big hit on Western's quarterback Jason Michael behind the line of scrimmage. That hit was also the Wash-on-Wheels Derrick Pixley Hit of the Week.
Junior center Will Sanders, who played guard against the Hilltoppers on Saturday, was named the Jim Zdelar offensive lineman of the game.
The Haines Family Player of the Game as selected by the YSU radio broadcasters, was junior defensive back Waymann Peters. The 6-0, 185 pounder from Akron, had seven tackles in the contest, five of them solo.