Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders (offensive), Kansas’ Lonnie Phelps Jr., (defensive), TCU’s Derius Davis (special teams) and West Virginia’s CJ Donaldson (newcomer) captured Big 12 football honors for the opening week of the season. Sanders picked up his third weekly award after receiving newcomer recognition twice in 2019. Davis earned his second special teams nod with the first in 2020. Phelps and Donaldson were recognized for the first time.
Sanders became the second player in Big 12 history with 300 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a half in Oklahoma State’s 58-44 win over Central Michigan. He joined Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), who accomplished the feat in 2016. Sanders became the first Cowboy to account for six touchdowns in a game since 2018. The senior set career highs with 406 passing yards, six total touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. His four passing touchdowns also tied his career high. With 313 passing yards in the first half, he became the first Cowboy to pass for 300 yards in a half since Taylor Cornelius on Nov. 10, 2018. Sanders completed passes to 11 different players and threw touchdown passes to four different players. He surpassed 7,000 passing yards in his career, becoming the fifth quarterback in program history to reach the mark.
Redshirt junior defensive end Phelps made his presence known in his first career game as a Jayhawk as Kansas beat Tennessee Tech 56-10. He led the team in tackles (7), tackles-for-loss (4.0) and sacks (3.0). His three sacks were the most by a Jayhawk since 2016, while his 4.0 tackles-for-loss were the most since 2017. Phelps graded out by Pro Football Focus (PFF) as a 96.3, which is the highest among defensive ends in the country (prior to games played on or after Sept. 4). Phelps’ 3.0 sacks currently rank second in the FBS.
Davis changed the game’s momentum with his 60-yard punt return for a touchdown in TCU’s 38-13 win at Colorado. Trailing 3-0 at the time, TCU used the senior’s return to take a lead it would not relinquish. Davis tied TCU’s program record with his fourth career punt return for a touchdown. He totaled 72 punt return yards in the game while adding a 27-yard rushing touchdown and two receptions for 25 yards.
In the first game of his collegiate career, Donaldson scored his first touchdown on a five-yard rush in the third quarter against No. 17 Pitt. His first career carry went for 44 yards and he finished with a game-high 125 yards on seven carries. Donaldson is the first Mountaineer to rush for 100 yards in his collegiate debut since Martell Pettaway on Nov. 26, 2016, at Iowa State. The freshman also blocked a punt in the third quarter, West Virginia’s first since Logan Thimons on Sept. 14, 2019, against NC State.
Big 12 Football Players of the Week
Offense: Spencer Sanders, OSU, QB, Sr.
Defense: Lonnie Phelps Jr., KU, DE, Jr.
Special Teams: Derius Davis, TCU, WR/PR/KR, Sr.
Newcomer: CJ Donaldson, WVU, RB, Fr.