BOONE, N.C. — A generational performance from Appalachian State’s Demetrius Taylor has earned him the title of Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
A junior defensive end from Miami, Taylor has earned multiple national defensive player of the week honors following App State’s 34-31 win at North Carolina by becoming the first FBS player in this millennium with 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble return for a touchdown and an interception in the same game.
With App State trailing 7-6 in the first quarter, Taylor rushed around the end, knocked the ball loose with a blindside sack, returned to his feet, scooped the ball up at the 20 and raced into the end zone.
Five minutes later, Taylor fought off a low block and returned to his feet in time to deflect a hard, low-release pass to the left. He located the ball in time to intercept it near midfield and gain 19 yards on a return to the UNC 26. That play set up another App State touchdown.
Taylor forced another fumble on a sack later in the game and also knocked down a red-zone throw help force a short field goal during an afternoon in which he posted four total tackles.
The last time an FBS player had 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble return for a touchdown — without intercepting a pass like Taylor did against UNC — was Georgia’s Marcus Howard in the Sugar Bowl against Hawaii at the end of the 2007 season. According to Sports Reference, there isn’t another player with those four statistical accomplishments for the 2019 season to date, and only one FBS player in 2018 reached those four statistical totals for the entire season.
Taylor ranks in the top 10 nationally in forced fumbles per game (No. 1, 1.0), tackles for loss per game (No. 4, 2.0) and sacks per game (No. 8, 1.17). During App State’s 3-0 start, he has compiled three forced fumbles, six tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, one interception, one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.