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SIU Javon Williams Jr.

SIU running back Javon Williams Jr. runs against UMass Saturday in Amherst, Mass. Williams scored three touchdowns, two on the ground and one off an 85 yard pass in the flat, to help the Salukis upset the Minutemen 45-20. It was SIU's first win over an FBS opponent since upending Northern Illinois in 2007. 

ST. LOUIS — SIU running back Javon Wiliams Jr. is this week's Missouri Valley Football Conference offensive player of the week, the league announced Sunday night.

The 6-foot-2, 234-pound redshirt freshman from Centralia touched the ball nine times during the Salukis' 45-20 win at UMass Saturday and scored touchdowns on three of them. For the game, he totaled 171 yards (68 rushing, 103 receiving) for an average of 19.0 yards per touch. He tied the school record for longest reception by a running back with an 85 yard touchdown catch, and added a 64 yard scoring run.

His 64 yard touchdown run early in the third quarter helped SIU take a 24-13 lead in Amherst, Massachusetts. Williams' 85 yard touchdown catch tied Ed Schneider's 85 yard scoring play from Joe Huske against Western Illinois in 1953. 

The win at UMass was SIU's fourth-ever against an FBS opponent and its first since 2007. The Salukis beat Northern Illinois, with current head coach Nick Hill as the quarterback, 34-31. SIU (1-1) hosts UT Martin (1-1) on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Saluki Stadium.  

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South Dakota State linebacker Christian Rozeboom (defensive player of the week), Jackrabbits wide receiver/punt returner Jaxon Janke (special teams player of the week) and Northern Iowa quarterback Will McElvain (newcomer of the week) were the other MVFC honorees. 

Rozeboom had a team-high eight tackles, forced a fumble and intercepted a pass in South Dakota State's 38-3 win over Long Island University. The Sharks managed 123 yards of total offense and eight first downs against the third-ranked Jackrabbits (1-1). Janke, a redshirt freshman from Madison, South Dakota, returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown. He finished with 111 punt return yards on four attempts. McElvain led 11th-ranked Northern Iowa to a 34-14 win over Southern Utah with 262 yards passing and three touchdowns. He also ran for 23 yards on eight carries. 

McElvain's pass to Deion McShane ended up the No. 6 play on ESPN "SportsCenter"'s top 10 Saturday night after he made a circus catch.

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Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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