Northern Illinois University’s Ryan Neir was named Mid-American Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Week, the league announced Wednesday.
Neir played a big role in NIU’s defensive-minded win over Eastern Michigan Friday which clinched the MAC West title for Northern Illinois.
Punting into a strong wind for half of the day, Neir kicked seven times for 252 yards to average 36 yards per punt.
His day included a career-long 54-yard punt downed at the EMU one-yard line which eventually resulted in a safety by the NIU defense and a field goal on the Huskies’ drive after the free kick.
Neir also booted a 51-yard punt in the third quarter. In the 2011 season, has had only one punt returned for positive yardage.
Neir, a junior from Roscoe, Ill., maintains a 3.966 grade point average as a finance major.
This is the first time he has won the award and is the first Huskie football player to take the honor since Chandler Harnish did so Dec. 24, 2010. He is the second Huskie athlete to win the award this season, with volleyball’s Kristin Hoffman being honored Oct. 28.
NIU travels to Detroit this Friday, Dec. 2, where they will face the Ohio Bobcats in the Marathon MAC Championship game. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. Central.