Football Pair Honored on Monday

Steve McLaughlin photo
Steve McLaughlin photo

Sophomore running back Chris Tolbert and freshman defensive back Chris Abner were honored by the Northeast Conference on Monday morning.  Tolbert was named the NEC Offensive Player of the Week, and Abner earned Rookie of the Week honors following a 42-21 road win over Bryant on Saturday.

With the win the Blue Devils finishe the season with a 4-7 overall record.  They won their final two games in convincing form over Robert Morris at home and on the road at Bryant. 

On Saturday Central trailed 21-7, but scored 35 unanswered points to come from behind and earn the victory.

Tolbert was the leading contributor in what wound up being the top single-game team rushing output (359 yards) in Northeast Conference play this season.  Saving his best for last, Tolbert carried 22 times for 142 yards and one touchdown during Central Connecticut's triumphant season finale.  The sophomore running back also caught a five-yard touchdown pass.  Tolbert first found pay dirt on a pass play with 3:15 remaining in the first half.  Exactly 3:03 later, he was in the end zone again after a six-yard scamper. The back-to-back touchdowns pulled CCSU even at 21-21 heading into the break. 

Tolbert was far from done.  His most-electric run of the afternoon came late in the third quarter with Central nursing a 28-21 advantage.  On the first play of the possession, he broke free from a 55-yard gain that put the ball on Bryant's 26-yard line.  CCSU scored two plays later.  Tolbert, who averaged 6.5 yards per carry at Bryant, totaled 304 rush yards on 51 carries over Central's last two game, both of which were victories.

Abner was part of a pass defense that bottled up Bryant.  The defensive back and his mates held the Bulldogs to 157 yards through the air and a completion percentage below 50.  The rookie from Boston made four tackles and accounted for one of the Blue Devils' three interceptions on the day. 

Two plays after Central's offense fumbled the ball away on its first possession of the fourth quarter, Abner took the ball right back.  With Bryant facing a 2nd-and-7 from its own 45-yard line, Abner picked off a long ball intended for Bryant's Zach Wilson.  He made the interception at his own 15-yard line and ran it back 31 yards to the 46.

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