TORONTO — Darian Durant, Joe Lobendahn, Marcus Thigpen and Andy Fantuz were named the Gibson’s Finest CFL Players of the Week for week one, the Canadian Football League announced today.
The four players were chosen by a panel of judges that includes former Canadian Football League players Matt Dunigan and Duane Forde, now of TSN, and Pierre Vercheval of RDS.
Roughrider quarterback Darian Durant was a unanimous choice for the Offensive Player of the Week following his performance in what has already been dubbed an ‘instant classic’ and one of the best games in CFL history.
Durant posted career highs of 478 passing yards and five touchdowns to ignite the Roughriders offence en route to a 54-51 double overtime victory against the Alouettes.
After overcoming a 21-point deficit late in the third quarter, Durant capped off his heroic efforts with a three-yard touchdown pass to slotback Weston Dressler on the game-winning drive. The win exacted some revenge on Montreal who had defeated the Riders in last year’s Grey Cup.
Durant also ran for 52 yards on five carries and added another touchdown along the ground.
Defensive Player of the Week honours for week one go to Winnipeg linebacker Joe Lobendahn. Lobendahn came up big for the Blue Bombers defence this week, recording two quarterback sacks in the Bombers 49-29 victory over the Ticats.
The Bombers middle linebacker racked up a total of eight tackles to lead the way for a stingy Bomber defence that held Ticats star running back DeAndra’ Cobb to just 22 yards rushing.
BC’s Korey Banks was the runner up.
In a week that featured not one but two missed field goal returns for touchdowns, Hamilton kick returner Marcus Thigpen was a unanimous choice for Special Teams Player of the Week. In addition to his fourth quarter 118-yard missed field goal touchdown return, Thigpen took the opening kickoff 93 yards to the endzone on his first CFL touch.
Thigpen is the first player with two return touchdowns in a game since Keith Stokes turned the trick in 2002 with Montreal. The Tiger-Cats rookie return specialist tallied a combined total of 340 return yards in an impressive CFL debut.
Slotback Andy Fantuz is the second Rider honoured in the Players of the week after playing a prominent role in the team’s 54-51 triumph over the Alouettes.
The Chatham, Ontario native had two touchdown receptions and contributed 77 yards on eight catches in the epic double overtime battle to earn the Canadian Player of the Week. Fantuz is currently in his fifth CFL season, all as a member of the Roughriders.
Fantuz’s teammate and fellow receiver Rob Bagg was the runner up.