CWU News

Davis Named Conference Football Special Teams Player of the Week

Isaiah Davis had a hand in three of Central Washington University's four scores during Saturday's 24-20 Homecoming football victory over visiting Western Oregon University (WOU). For his efforts, the 5-10, 186-pound Bremerton native was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.

"[Special teams] coach Whit [Nick Whitworth] does a great job with blocking and scheming," said Davis. "I'm glad we were able to capitalize on it give our offense good field position to give us the points we needed to win the game."

In the second quarter, Davis returned a punt 16 yards to the WOU 44. That led to a five-play, 44-yard drive that culminated with a 14-yard scoring pass from quarterback Jake Nelson to wide receiver Kent McKinney. It put CWU up 14-7 at halftime. In the third quarter, an interception by Davis at the Wolves' 39-yard line set up a 39-yard Sean McDonald field goal.

But his most important contribution came with the score tied at 17-17 in the fourth quarter, when Davis returned a punt 19 yards to the WOU 29 yard line.

"Every 10 yards I get is another first down the offense doesn't have to get," Davis pointed out. "Making people miss is one specialty I have. I'm not the biggest. I'm not the fastest. But, for some reason, guys have a hard time getting me down."

Five plays later, Nelson completed what proved to be 14-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Jesse Zalk.

On the day, Davis returned five punt returns for 88 yards, including a long of 27 yards. He is now No. 15 in the nation in punt returns, average at 14.6-yards per return. His 262 yards on punt returns leads the GNAC and is more than 100 yards ahead of his nearest competitor. In 2013, he also led GNAC in punt returns, averaging 13-yards per return. Davis is also fourth in the conference in kickoff return average (26.8).

"I love it," acknowledged Davis, about being a kick returner, adding that returning punts is his favorite. "I think it's more exciting and, I feel, I'm actually better at it. I'm usually able to make at least the first two guys miss, and then turn on the jets and get going pretty quick."

If that's not enough, Davis is a fixture in the CWU secondary at cornerback. He has started 25 of 29 games in his CWU career. Last season, he led the GNAC with six interceptions. This year, his two picks are part of a CWU total of 14 interceptions that's tied for the third-best team mark in the nation, just two off the top spot.

Heading into the season, Davis was named to the first-team defense on the 2014 Preseason All-America Team and a first-team selection in USA College Football's preseason NCAA Division II All-American publication. Despite teams not challenging him often this year, he has still defended seven passes, including the interceptions, which is tied for the conference's seventh best mark.

As a standout on defense and special teams, Davis gets to spend little time on the sidelines.

"You don't really realize that until the end of the game," admitted Davis. "Then you get kind of sore and think about everything that you did. But, during the game, all you know is 'I've got one more play' or 'It's special teams up. Let's go.'" 

Two other CWU players received Honorable Mention Player of the Week honors for their performances against Western Oregon. On offense, the award went to wide receiver Kent McKinney Jr., who caught 10 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, while on defense it was defensive end Tovar Sanchez, who recorded two-and-a-half sacks and four-and-a-half tackles for losses.

Sanchez, who leads the GNAC in both categories, is fifth in the nation in sacks and tied for second nationally in tackles for loss.
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