AZUSA, Calif. -- Senior linebacker Sean Barber was named the Great Northwest Athletic Defensive Player of the Week after he helped lead the Azusa Pacific defense to an impressive 28-2 win over Humboldt State in the Cougars' home opener Saturday.
Barber tallied a career-high 15 tackles in the win, including 1.5 for loss. For the second game this season, Barber also accounted for two of the defense’s three takeaways, recovering two second-half fumbles against preseason GNAC favorite Humboldt State.
Barber was part of a crucial fourth-and-goal stop of Lumberjacks running back Nick Ricciardulli, who is the reigning conference offensive player of the year, at the one-yard line early in the second quarter. That tackle helped keep the game scoreless through halftime before the Cougar offense got rolling in the third quarter.
In addition to his defensive contribution, Barber also helped set up advantageous field position for the Cougars by punting seven times for an average of 39.6 yards. Of his seven punts, four pinned Humboldt State inside its own 20-yard line while a fifth left the Lumberjacks exactly on the 20. Three of Barber's punts were downed inside the 10, including two inside the five-yard line. Azusa Pacific's defense didn't surrender any scoring, with Humboldt State scoring its only points on a safety that occurred just one play after Barber recovered a fumble at the Cougars' one-yard line.
Junior tailback Terrell Watson was listed as honorable mention for the GNAC Offensive Player of the Week after he rushed for 155 yards and two TDs, running his streak of games with 150-plus rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to five consecutive games.
The Cougars bring a six-game conference winning streak into Saturday's home matchup with Central Washington.