Sept. 14, 2009
University of Cincinnati football student-athlete Mardy Gilyard (Bunnell, Fla./Flagler Palm Coast) was named the BIG EAST Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday.
Gilyard, the 2008 BIG EAST Special Teams Player of the Year, returned a punt 53 yards for UC's first touchdown 2:09 into the game. The punt return for a touchdown snapped a 12-year drought for the Bearcats. It was UC's first in 133 games, or since Nov. 8, 1997 (Tinker Keck vs. Louisville, 44 and 78 yards). The 53-yard return was Gilyard's career long and only his eighth punt return. He also returned one kick for 32 yards.
UC's special teams unit produced a pair of touchdowns on the night as redshirt freshman Darrin Williams (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) returned the opening kickoff of the second half 100 yards for his first career touchdown.
Gilyard finished with 197 all-purpose yards, six catches for 111 yards, a 1-yard rushing touchdown, the first of his career, 8-yard and 37-yard touchdown receptions, and scored on a 53-yard punt return.
Gilyard had four touchdowns, which ties for the third-most touchdowns in a UC game. The last player to score four touchdowns in a game was DeMarco McCleskey, who did it twice in 1998 (Arkansas State and Houston).
According to STATS, LLC, the last player in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision competition before Gilyard to score via punt return, reception, and rush in the same game was Maurice Drew (now Jones-Drew) of UCLA on Oct. 8, 2005 vs. California. Jones scored three rushing touchdowns and once each via punt return and reception.
The No. 17/21 Bearcats return to action Saturday, traveling west to face rv/No. 24 Oregon State at Resor Stadium in Corvallis, Ore. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:45 EST in a game televised nationally by FOX Sports Net.