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Football Players of the Week
WATERLOO, Ont. (Oct. 6, 2017) — The No. 5 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men's football team has announced its players of the game following a 53-31 win over the York Lions on the road Thursday night. The win improved Laurier to 5-1 on the season.

This week's Laurier Football Players of the Week (offence, defence, special teams) are: Michael Knevel (Brantford, Ont.), Shomari Hutchinson (Lasalle, Que.) and Stu Smith (Mississauga, Ont.). 

Knevel had yet another huge performance Thursday night, the latest in what's been a breakout season. The quarterback, in his first full season as a starter, set a career high with five touchdown passes, while throwing for 431 yards and completing 21 of his 29 pass attempts — a 72.4% completion percentage. Thursday's contest marked the second game this year in which Knevel has eclipsed 400 yards passing and the fifth time he's thrown for at least 300 yards. Leading U Sports with 2,162 passing yards through six games, Knevel has become just the third Golden Hawk quarterback to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a season and is 133 yards shy of Laurier’s all-time single-season of 2,295 set by Bill Kubas in 1994. Knevel is tied for first in the country in touchdown passes with 15 on the season, while his 145 completions are also first in U Sports and second most in a season in Laurier history.
On defence, Hutchinson was a tackling machine Thursday night, tying a Golden Hawk single-game record with 14.5 total tackles (12 solo). The Laurier record was set by Jesse Alexander in 2006. Making his first career start at SAM linebacker, Hutchinson was all over the field against York drawing praise from coaches for not only his tackling totals but the heart and hustle he played with all game. Hutchinson, a second-year student, now has 19 tackles on the season (15 solo) to go along with one interception, recorded against Waterloo. 

Fifth-year Smith made two special teams tackles versus York and was a key contributor to multiple Golden Hawks’ special teams units. Smith, a key cog on Laurier’s offence from his fullback spot, showed his blocking prowess in the return game, opening a number of holes for returners Carson Ouellette (Windsor, Ont.) and Kurleigh Gittens Jr. (Ottawa, Ont.). Thanks in part to Smith’s blocking, the Hawks racked up 212 return yards versus York, averaging 23.2 yards per kick return. 

The Laurier Football Players of the Week are presented by OneCard and the Laurier Bookstore.

Next up for the Golden Hawks is a road game against the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday, Oct. 14. Kickoff at Guelph's Alumni Stadium is 1 p.m.

- written by Justin Fauteux
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