Oct. 28, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina junior placekicker Richard Sigmon (Special Teams Player of the Week) and tailback Garry Lewis (Freshman of the Week) were honored today as the Southern Conference announced its weekly award recipients for games played last Saturday (Oct. 26).
The weekly honors are the first for a Catamount football player from the conference this season, as well as the first in the collegiate careers of both players.
Sigmon connected on two field goal attempts, including the game-winner in overtime, as Western Carolina topped Elon, 27-24. The kick in OT was not the only pressure-filled kick Sigmon had to make for the Catamounts to score their first SoCon victory since 2010. Just moments after Troy Mitchell found Karnorris Benson in the end zone on a six-yard scoring strike, Sigmon had to split the uprights on the game-tying PAT with just 9.6 seconds remaining. The Mount Holly, N.C., native then booted a 39-yard kick in the extra session to give the Catamounts the victory.
All told, Sigmon was 3-for-3 on PATs and 2-for-2 on field goals including kicks of 41 and 39 yards for nine points. It was his second career game with multiple field goals. On the season, Sigmon ranks third in the SoCon with eight successful field goals this year while his seasonal - and career-long - of 49 yards at Auburn ranks as the second-best in the league this year.
A rookie running back from Fayetteville, N.C., Lewis provided a much-needed second half spark for Western Carolina on the offensive side of the ball. Lewis carried 16 times for a career-high 72 yards, and also caught five passes for 58 yards in the win. His 130 all-purpose yards all came after halftime. Lewis caught all five of his passes on WCU's final drive of regulation, which culminated in the six-yard TD pass from Mitchell to Benson that ultimately tied the game.
Lewis has rushed for 163 yards on 46 carries this year, averaging 3.5 yards per rush with 90 receiving yards on nine catches. He scored his first career touchdown on his only carry at Chattanooga back on Oct. 5.
Sigmon, Karnorris Benson Recognized by CFPA
Sigmon's awards continued on Monday as he was listed as an honorable mention on the placekicker of the week honor doled out by the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA). WCU's kicker was joined by redshirt sophomore wide receiver Karnorris Benson, who was tabbed honorable mention on the wide receiver weekly awards.
Benson hauled in two touchdown passes of 80 and six yards, respectively, with the latter helping to force overtime, coming with just 9.6 seconds remaining in regulation. He finished with 129 receiving yards on six catches in the winning effort.
Benson matched his career-long reception with an 80-yard strike from Eddie Sullivan on the first play of the second quarter to give WCU a 10-7 edge.
With two TD receptions against the Phoenix, Benson has nine touchdown grabs on the year which ties him for fourth in the single-season record book with former Catamount receiver Eddie Cohen, who had nine touchdown catches in 2007. Benson additionally eclipsed the 1,000-yard career receiving mark, now with 1,069 career yards in his second season.