NSU's Eric Piccione earns Southland honors, national honorable mention

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NATCHITOCHES, La. -- Knocking through his second straight game-winning field goal, capping a four-for-four performance tying Northwestern State’s school record, senior Eric Piccione collected Southland Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors Monday.

Piccione was also among nine honorable mention picks for national recognition via the STATS FCS special teams award.

He shared the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s weekly special teams honor voted by a state media panel with UL Monroe’s Marcus Green, who had a 95-yard touchdown on a kickoff return in the Warhawks’ upset of Appalachian State.

Piccione, an Academic All-America candidate, kicked a 39-yard field goal, his shortest of the day, in overtime to provide NSU’s margin in a 26-23 victory over Abilene Christian.

In regulation, he nailed field goals of 43, 45 and 44 yards. Piccione also converted both of his extra points, and recorded two touchbacks on six kickoffs while permitting an average return of only 17.3 yards.

He is six of seven this season, and nine of 12 in his two years with the Demons, on field goals of 40 yards or longer. The League City, Texas, native, who came to NSU after two seasons at Blinn Community College, has made 10 of his 13 field goal tries this season and 21 of 28 for the Demons in 2016-17.

Piccione is 13th nationally with 1.38 field goals per game and 23rd with his accuracy of 78.6 percent.

His four field goals equaled single-game performances by Demon kickers Robert Weeks (2006 at Kansas) and Chris Moore (2015 vs. Stephen F. Austin).

The Demons, who have won two straight, carry a 3-4 Southland Conference record and a 3-6 overall mark into Saturday night’s 6 p.m. conference contest at 20th-ranked McNeese (7-2, 5-2). The Cowboys will be the fifth ranked FCS opponent NSU has faced this season.

The contest will be televised on Cox Sports Television from Louis Bonnette Field at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles.

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