Missouri State safety Caleb Schaffitzel (Jr., Fair Grove, Mo.) has picked up a pair of national honors after his standout performance in the Bears’ 35-21 homecoming win over nationally-ranked South Dakota State on Saturday.
Schaffitzel, this week’s Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week, was announced as Division I FCS Co-National Defensive Player of the Week by both The Sports Network and BeyondSportsNetwork.com.
Schaffitzel tallied a game-high 14 tackles, broke up four passes and put the finishing touches on MSU’s win over the No. 15 Jackrabbits on Saturday with a fourth-quarter interception return. His third interception in four weeks halted the Jackrabbits’ final drive of the afternoon and gave the Bears their second straight home victory, both over nationally-ranked Division I FCS opponents. Schaffitzel returned the victory-clinching pick 25 yards before taking a knee to allow the Bears to run out the final 1:48.
The All-American now ranks 37th nationally and first in the MVFC in interceptions per game, 22nd nationally and second in the league in passes defended and is 52nd among all Division I FCS players in total tackles. He added to his MSU career-leading interception return yard total (260) with his eighth career pickoff in the SDSU game. Through eight games this season, he has tallied a team-high 71 tackles, defended nine passes and snagged three interceptions.
With Saturday’s victory, the Bears improved to 2-2 in the MVFC, tied for fourth in the league standings, as they continue conference action at Western Illinois (3-5, 1-3) this Saturday at 6 p.m.