CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard defensive back Ryan Barnes (Richmond, Ky.) and Plymouth State running back Jeff Mack (Milford, N.H.) received the Boston Globe Gold Helmet Awards Wednesday at the New England Football Writers luncheon at Harvard's Dillon Field House.
Barnes, playing in his first game in three weeks, intercepted three passes, including a pick in the end zone in the final minute of play, as the No. 19 Crimson stayed in the hunt for the Ivy League title with a 24-21 win over Penn Saturday at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Barnes also had three pass breakups as he became the second Harvard player in the last two years to intercept three passes in a game. He was named national Defensive Player of the Week by the Sports Network as well as Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
Barnes intercepted Quaker quarterback Keiffer Garton in the end zone on the game's opening drive to thwart Penn's initial scoring opportunity, then picked off Garton again near midfield on Penn's first drive of the second half, setting up an eventual Crimson field goal and a 17-0 lead. Penn rallied from that deficit, though, and was driving down the field for the potential go-ahead TD before Barnes came down with his final interception and took a knee in the end zone with 20 seconds remaining.
Mack, a senior, rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns as the Panthers scored 32 unanswered points in a 46-16 win over Maine Maritime Academy in the New England Football Conference championship game Saturday at MMA's Ritchie Stadium. Mack received the William J. Mattola Most Valuable Player award as he propelled the Panthers into the NCAA Division III Championship tournament with a 10-1 record.
With PSU down, 16-14, early in the second quarter, the Panthers began their scoring assault with a two-yard plunge by Mack. He later added a nine-yard plunge at the beginning of the fourth quarter as the Panthers increased their lead to 39-16. Mack's rushing total also gave him the all-time PSU single-season record with 1,679 yards.
Harvard finishes its season Saturday at noon in the 125th playing of The Game against rival Yale at Harvard Stadium. Plymouth State will travel to Cortland State Saturday at noon in the first round of the 32-team NCAA tournament.
2008 Boston Globe Gold Helmet Weekly Winners
Date Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Division II/III
Sept. 3 Tony Nelson, RB, UMass Travis Poole, WR, AIC
Sept. 10 Liam Coen, QB, UMass Jeff Mack, RB, Plymouth State
Sept. 17 R.J. Toman, QB, New Hampshire DeRon Brown, RB, MIT
Sept. 24 Buddy Farnham, WR, Brown Bruce Rich, QB, Framingham State
Oct. 1 Nate Thellen, FS, Northeastern Jim Bower, RB, Maine Maritime
Oct. 8 Derek Cassidy, QB, Rhode Island J.T. Harold, RB, UMass Dartmouth
Oct. 15 Dominic Randolph, QB, Holy Cross Luke St. Marie, RB, Saint Anselm
Oct. 22 Buddy Farnham, WR, Brown Will Forde, RB, Tufts
Oct. 29 Eric Schultz, LB, Harvard Brian Morrissey, RB, Williams
Nov. 3 Liam Coen, QB, UMass Bruce Burley, RB, Bridgewater State
Nov. 10 Chris Pizzotti, QB, Harvard Eric McGrath, QB, Trinity
Nov. 17 Ryan Barnes, DB, Harvard Jeff Mack, RB, Plymouth State
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