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September 7, 2010Kansas State senior running back Daniel Thomas and sophomore place kicker Anthony Cantele have been named the first Big 12 Players of the Week for the 2010 season, the conference office announced Tuesday.
Thomas shared offensive player of the week honors with Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter, while Cantele earned co-special teams player of the week accolades with Oklahoma punter Tress Way. Both Wildcats picked up the first weekly conference honor of their careers.
The awards marked the first time in school history that K-State had two conference player-of-the-week honors following the first weekend of play. It was also the second straight season that two Wildcats were named players of the week after the same game as Grant Gregory (offensive) and Emmanuel Lamur (special teams) were honored following the 2009 Iowa State game.
Thomas ran for a career-high 234 yards and two scores to lead Kansas State to its 31-22 win over UCLA. He set a K-State record for rushing yards in a season opener and also tallied the fifth-most rushing yards in a single game in school history. Thomas' 234 rushing yards were the most surrendered by a UCLA defense since USC's Reggie Bush rushed for 260 yards in 2005. The Hilliard, Fla., senior averaged 8.4 yards a carry and had a career-long run of 44 yards. His performance was also the 12th 200-plus yard game in school history.
Making his collegiate debut, Cantele boomed four of his six kickoffs through the end zone for touchbacks, the most by a Wildcat in a game since 2008. The Wichita, Kan., product was 4-of-4 in PAT's and hit his only field goal attempt of the afternoon, a 35-yarder in the third quarter that gave the Wildcats a 17-13 lead they would not relinquish.
Kansas State, which received votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' Polls on Tuesday, takes on Missouri State this Saturday at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
BIG 12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK (WEEK 1)
Offense: Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State; Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State
Defense: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri; Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas
Special Teams: Anthony Cantele, PK, Kansas State; Tress Way, P, Oklahoma