Ahlers and Harvey earn AAC weekly honors

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers and defensive end Nate Harvey have been named American Athletic Conference Offensive and Co-Defensive Players-of-the-Week respectively, league officials announced Monday morning.

Ahlers led the Pirates’ offense that tallied a season-high 657 yards of total offense (415 rush, 242 pass) and accounted for five touchdowns (four pass, one rush) in a 55-21 win over Connecticut in league action. The true freshman registered 372 yards of total offense and turned in the first 100-yard rushing game by a Pirate starting quarterback since 2000 (David Garrard), picking up a team-high 130 yards on 12 carries (10.8 ypr).

His rush total was the third-highest ever by an ECU quarterback and the most since Jeff Blake ran for 161 yards on 26 carries against Northern Illinois in 1990.

Ahlers, who has led ECU in rushing eight-straight games also completed 22-of-31 passes for 242 yards and a career-best four TDs. The Greenville, N.C. native has compiled 1,780 total yards as the Pirates’ starter in the last four games, averaging 445.0 yards per contest.

Harvey picked up his second conference honor of the season after establishing new single-season ECU and American Athletic Conference records in TFLs with 3.0 against the Huskies to push his yearly total to 24.0. The senior broke Chris Moore’s ECU mark of 21.0 with a five-yard sack in the second quarter and surpassed Ed Oliver’s (Houston) AAC standard of 23.0 with a six-yard sack in the third stanza.

In all, he was credited with five tackles (four solo), three sacks (-19 yards), one forced fumble, one recovered fumble and one quarterback hurry against Connecticut.

On the season, he has 13.5 sacks which is 1.5 shy of ECU’s single-season record of 15.0 (Rod Coleman/1997) and one short of The American record of 14.5 set by Louisville’s Marcus Smith in 2013. Currently the Knightdale, N.C. native leads FBS in total TFLs, TFLs per game (2.4) and sacks per game (1.35), while standing second in total sacks.

Ahlers is the fourth Pirate this season to be honored by the league, joining Davondre Robinson (Sept. 10), Harvey (Oct. 1 and Nov. 19) and Jake Verity (Oct. 1).

ECU (3-7, 1-6 AAC) will be back in action on Friday, Nov. 23 when it travels to Cincinnati. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. (EST) and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.