Buffalo’s Fuqua is Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week

DALLAS (FWAA) – Buffalo safety Marcus Fuqua tied an FBS-era program record with three interceptions against Toledo on Saturday, leading a rally from a 17-point fourth quarter deficit from the defensive side in the Bulls’ 34-27 win between the Mid-American Conference division leaders. For the key interceptions that helped extend Buffalo’s win streak to five games, Fuqua earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games during the weekend of Oct. 22, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

The 6-0, 195-pound junior from Southfield, Mich., made his first interception at the end of the second quarter that set the table. Fuqua had two picks in the fourth quarter that led to Buffalo points, the second of which set up the Bulls’ go-ahead touchdown as part of a 24-point fourth quarter. His third interception led to a field goal with 47 seconds left that extended the lead to seven and helped ice the game for the Bulls (5-3, 4-0). He also added four tackles.

This is the first time for a Buffalo player to earn the weekly Bronko Nagurski award. The MAC has now had two of the last three weekly winners (Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell from Oct. 11); its previous winner came in the 2018 season. The last time the MAC had two winners in the same season was 2003.

Fuqua has six of Buffalo’s 17 takeaways in its eight games. His five interceptions are tied for the national lead, and he is Buffalo’s fourth-leading tackler with 35 on the season with five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. The takeaways have keyed Buffalo’s turnaround, as the Bulls have forced at least four turnovers against three of their last six opponents including six against Toledo, paced by Fuqua’s picks. Buffalo had only 12 takeaways in the 2021 season.

Fuqua has started all eight games in 2022 after appearing in 11 games with seven starts in 2021. He now has six career interceptions.

Buffalo, winners of five straight after an 0-3 start, is idle this Saturday. The Bulls are 4-0 in MAC play for the third time in the last five seasons and sit atop the East Division. They play at Ohio, second in the MAC East, on Tuesday., Nov. 1, with a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff on ESPN2.

Each week during the regular season, the FWAA has selected a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week since 2001. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce finalists for the 2022 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 16. The national defensive player of the year will be chosen from those finalists who are part of the 2022 FWAA All-America Team and presented with the trophy at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet on Dec. 5 at the Charlotte Convention Center. N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren will be the keynote speaker.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or tiger@fwaa.com.

About the Charlotte Touchdown Club
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, North Carolina region. Since its inception, the club has grown as well as diversified, boasting a sponsor team of more than (80) companies. The Club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Leadership of area athletes and coaches. Through individual and corporate support, nearly $3,000,000 has been raised and donated to benefit the Touchdown Club’s scholarship efforts. For more information call 704-347-2918 or touchdownclub.mysites.io.