Rodney Butler, Maxwell Johnson Earn Sun Belt Player Of The Week Honors

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - New Mexico State sophomore linebacker Rodney Butler and senior place kicker Maxwell Johnson were named the defensive player of the week and special teams player of the week as announced by the Sun Belt Conference office, Monday, Sept. 8. Both honors are a first for each player. Louisiana-Monroe wide receiver Ajalen Holley was named the offensive player of the week this week.

Butler was crucial in the Aggies’ come-from-behind victory as he led the NM State defense with a career-high 12 tackles (6 solo, 6 assisted) to go along with his first career interception, which was returned (by Butler) 40 yards for a touchdown. It was also his first collegiate touchdown. The interception for a touchdown came when defensive end Jay Eakins tipped the ball behind the line of scrimmage on a 2nd-and-10 with 3:15 in the second quarter. After Eakins tipped the ball linebacker Rodney Butler snagged it out of the air returning it 40 yards for a touchdown. Johnson hit the point-after to make it a 17-10 ballgame in favor of Georgia State.

Johnson was a key component in the Aggies 3-point, come-from-behind victory as he hit field goals from 41 and 30 yards out. The 41 yard field goal, which was the longest of the season for any Aggie, came at the 4:15 mark of the second quarter giving NM State its first points of the game. His 30-yard field goal came after a 10-play 29-yard drive that started when the Aggies recovered a fumble with 2:43 left in the third quarter. Johnson scored a total of 10 points that included two field goals and four extra-point kicks, helping NM State to a 34-31 win.

The last time an Aggie was named a Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week was on Nov. 8, 2011 when former NM State quarterback Buck Pierce was named the offensive player of the week.

NM State, who is 2-0 for the first time since 1999, will take on I-10 Rival UTEP, Saturday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. (MT) with radio coverage on 98.7 FM in Las Cruces.