Hess, Ruiz Earn Missouri Valley Football Weekly Honors

TB Martin Ruiz and QB Kurt Hess
TB Martin Ruiz and QB Kurt Hess

St. Louis, Mo. - Youngstown State senior quarterback Kurt Hess was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference's Offensive Player of the Week while freshman tailback Martin Ruiz was named the Newcomer of the Week, the league announced on Sunday.

Hess completed 22-of-26 passes for 283 yards and two scores while rushing for another in a come-from-behind 38-34 win at South Dakota.

The Coyotes entered the game allowing just 125 yards passing per game. Hess had 190 in the first half.

YSU trailed 34-31 when it started its final drive at its own 26-yard line with just over two minutes left. Hess guided his second fourth-quarter comeback of the season marching the Guins 74 yards in 10 plays – on the drive he was 3-of-4 for 43 yards.

He had passing scores of 40 and three yards and ran for a score from four yards out. Hess opened the game with nine straight completions. As a unit, YSU had 517 total offensive yards. USD was allowing just 297.5 per game.

It is the third time this season Hess has been named the conference's Offensive Player of the Week.

Ruiz continued his strong campaign amassing 225 all-purpose yards. He had 22 rushes for 131 yards and two touchdowns, returned four kickoffs for 85 yards and had two catches for 19 yards in the game.

He had scores of six and three yards. His three-yard run with 14 seconds left helped seal the come-from-behind effort. During the game, Ruiz set a freshman record for rushing yards in a season. Through nine games, Ruiz has 906 yards on 140 carries. He has scored 14 rushing touchdowns this year, a YSU freshman best.

It is the third time Ruiz has been tabbed the MVFC Newcomer of the Week this year.

Illinois State's Tevin Allen and Missouri State's Jeremy Springer were named co-Defensive Players of the Week while Thomas Kinney from Southern Illinois was tabbed the Special Teams Player of the Week.

The Penguins play their final road game of the regular season this Saturday at UNI. Kickoff at the UNI-Dome is set for 5:05 p.m.