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Offensive player of the week: Nic Shimonek lights up Eastern Washington

The award could’ve gone to anyone, but Shimonek’s near-perfect performance was impossible to ignore

NCAA Football: Eastern Washington at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Anytime an offense piles up 600-plus yards and seven touchdowns, selecting a player of the week is going to be a challenge.

Texas Tech’s high-octane offense overpowered the Eastern Washington Eagles largely because of the mistake-free football from the team’s quarterback, Nic Shimonek, and for that reason, the fifth-year senior earns the first Viva The Matadors Offensive Player of the Week award.

Shimonek and the offense started out slow because of some poor pass protection on third downs, but toward the end of the first quarter and particularly in the second quarter, 55,000 yearning fans felt levels of reprieve unrivaled in recent memory as touchdowns seemed to fall from the sky with each passing play.

The first touchdown pass thrown by Shimonek was in the air long enough for UCLA to erase a 34-point deficit against Texas A&M as wide receiver Derrick Willies flew down the middle of the field on a smooth post route.

It wasn’t a perfect throw, but coaches always tell quarterbacks it’s better to slightly under-throw a receiver who’s burned their man instead of overthrowing him and ruining a chance at a touchdown. In that regard, Shimonek did exactly what he was instructed.

The next touchdown also was a long one as Keke Coutee breezed by the EWU corner on a slant route, breaking a tackle and then turning on the jets for a 68-yard score. This throw from Shimonek was on a dime.

Shimonek continued to carve his way through the Eastern Washington secondary, supported by a consistent running game that averaged more than five yards per carry from the halfbacks. The final stat line on Shimonek: 26-30 for 384 yards and three touchdowns. Not a bad start at all.