ST. PAUL, Minn. – Eureka College junior strong safety Murad Abbed (Danville, Ill./Bismarck-Henning H.S.) has been named the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week, the league office announced Tuesday morning. Abbed made seven tackles, picked off two passes and broke up another in Eureka's 22-18 UMAC win over Westminster last Saturday at McKinzie Field.
Anchoring a Eureka secondary that was squaring off against the UMAC's top-ranked passing offense, Abbed intercepted Westminster quarterback Scott Rodgers twice in critical situations on Saturday. Abbed's first interception came on 3rd-and-goal from Eureka's 21-yard line, ending what would have been a go-ahead scoring drive for the Blue Jays with 12:10 left in the second quarter. The pick was the first Abbed's career. His second interception ended another Westminster drive deep in Eureka territory and protected the Red Devils' 8-point lead, a pick in the end zone on 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line with 8:04 remaining in the third quarter.
Abbed, who joined the Eureka football squad midway through the 2009 season as a running back and missed all of 2010 with a major knee injury, has recorded 21 tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions in four starts as Eureka's strong safety in 2011.
The weekly award for Abbed is Eureka's fourth from the UMAC in the last three weeks and second on the defensive side of the ball. The Red Devils' defensive unit ranks third in the UMAC in overall defense and third in passing defense, while opposing quarterbacks have posted a league-worst 100.3 pass efficiency rating.
The Red Devils, off to their first 3-1 overall start since 1995, will make the lengthy trip to New Ulm, Minn. this weekend for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Martin Luther on Saturday. Eureka is also 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 1995.