SPECIAL to KBEC Sports
DALLAS, Texas — Western Kentucky University wide receiver Jerreth Sterns was voted Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week, the league announced Monday. The 2018 Waxahachie graduate is the second Hilltopper wideout to be honored, joining Taywan Taylor after his 166-yard, three-touchdown performance vs. North Texas on Nov. 12, 2016.
In WKU’s 43-20 victory at Old Dominion on Saturday, Sterns had 13 receptions for a career-high 221 yards and a career-long 74-yard touchdown. He became only the second receiver in program history to eclipse the 200-yard mark — the all-time Hilltopper record is 276 yards by Joey Stockton at Austin Peay on Sept. 16, 1995.
Sterns had eight catches for 188 yards in the first half alone, helping the team take a commanding 30-3 lead into the break.
In a three-game span — against undefeated No. 9 Michigan State, undefeated No. 24 UTSA and the Monarchs, who previously had the No. 2 defense in Conference USA — Sterns has accumulated 46 receptions for 602 yards and four touchdowns.
Sterns became the fifth player since 2000 (as far back as records go on www.Sports-Reference.com) with 46 or more receptions in a three-game span and the 14th with at least 600 yards in a three-game span.
Sterns leads all FBS receivers with 69 receptions for 962 yards, while his 8 touchdowns are tied for fourth. He joins Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree in 2007 as the only two FBS receivers since 2000 with at least 64 catches and 950 yards in their team’s first six games of the season.
On Oct. 6, Sterns was added to the 2021 Biletnikoff Award Watch List, which annually recognizes the season’s most outstanding FBS receiver in college football, regardless of position. Taylor was a top 10 semifinalist for the award in back-to-back years (2015 and 2016), while Jared Dangerfield (2015), Tyler Higbee (2015) and Nicholas Norris (2016) were also watch list members in those respective seasons.
With 289 career catches in 33 games played, Sterns is college football’s active leader with 8.8 receptions per game. He also has 2,933 career receiving yards and 26 touchdowns, including six multi-score games. In those 33 contests, he has 13 100-yard receiving efforts and 13 double-digit reception performances.
Sterns is the fourth WKU C-USA Player of the Week honoree so far in 2021, joining quarterback Bailey Zappe (twice) and safety A.J. Brathwaite, Jr. (once). Overall, Hilltopper Football has won 18 Offensive, 10 Defensive and 11 Special Teams Player of the Week awards over the past seven-plus seasons.
Sterns was also named to the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll on Monday, which lists the most versatile players in major college football. In addition to his 221 receiving yards, he recorded a rush for seven yards and a punt return for three yards against the Monarchs, totaling 231 all-purpose yards.
The Hilltoppers improved to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in C-USA with their win over ODU. WKU another road game next week, as the team travels to Miami to face FIU (1-5 overall and 0-2 in C-USA) on Saturday, Oct. 23 for a 6 p.m. kickoff.