Batiste receives FWAA National Defensive Player of the Week honor

DALLAS (FWAA) – Georgia State safety Tarris Batiste played a major role in helping his team make history with two interceptions, two tackles for losses and a forced fumble in the Panthers' 34-7 win at Georgia Southern. Batiste led a defense that held Georgia Southern to school record-low 203 total yards, and has earned him the AutoNation National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Dec. 5, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

Georgia State's fourth straight win qualified the Panthers for a bowl game for the first time since the program debuted in 2010. Georgia State will face San Jose State in the inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl on Sat., Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. ET in Orlando, Fla.

Batiste, a 6-1, 200-pound senior and former Cass High School standout from Cartersville, Ga., had eight total tackles as the Eagles held Georgia Southern's nation-leading rushing attack (375.6 yards per game) to just 135 yards on the ground. The seven points allowed equals a program low and is Georgia State's fewest against an FBS opponent.

In the second quarter with Georgia Southern at the Georgia State 15-yard line, Batiste broke up a pitch to force a fumble, which eventually resulted in a missed field goal. Georgia Southern was driving again late in the first half when Batiste ended the threat with an interception at the 5-yard line to preserve the 7-7 tie. His second interception came midway through the fourth quarter at the Georgia State 30 and effectively ended the game. Batiste had a tackle for loss in a scoreless first quarter in which the Georgia State defense allowed just one first down and 26 yards.

"I can't say enough about our program, our young men," Georgia State head coach Trent Miles said. "They are the ones out there battling. I'm so proud of them. They could have come in here and wilted under this. Our kids believed that they could win and they just finished off four straight victories in the conference, from 2-6


Tarris Batiste quotes following the Georgia Southern win:

As part of AutoNation’s history of charitable involvement, AutoNation will donate $1,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in Batiste’s name. This charitable college football initiative culminates with the AutoNation Cure Bowl, a new post-season NCAA football game that kicks off bowl season at the Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., and will be aired by CBS Sports Network. The aptly named AutoNation Cure Bowl also serves as a fund raiser for the BCRF, CharityWatch's only A+ rated breast cancer organization in the country.

"We want to celebrate the very best of college football, while also helping to raise awareness for the importance of finding a cure for cancer," says AutoNation CMO Marc Cannon. "This season-long partnership with the FWAA, leading up to the AutoNation Cure Bowl, puts a spotlight on a cause that we're determined to tackle."

"In our 75th season of existence, this a marvelous platform to get our players and the team of the week series excellent exposure as well as helping AutoNation in its effort to fight cancer and contribute to the educational funds of deserving student-athletes," said FWAA 2015 President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. "It is very exciting to be able to help our organization as well as others in this splendid effort."

The FWAA National Defensive Player of the Week and National Team of the Week, both sponsored by AutoNation for the first time this year, have been determined collectively by a group of FWAA officers and the FWAA All-America Committee for several years. The AutoNation FWAA Offensive Player of the Week has been added this season. Nominations are taken from game performance all over the country each week and then those nominations are reviewed by the FWAA, which determines the actual recipients.

AutoNation is also the new sponsor of the 2015 FWAA All-America Team, which will be comprised of 26 first-team and 26 second-team selections as nominated by the membership and chosen by the FWAA All-America Committee. The 2015 AutoNation FWAA All-America Team will be announced at the AutoNation Cure Bowl on Dec. 19.

Coincidentally, the 2002 and '03 FWAA All-America teams were honored on the floor of the very same Citrus Bowl Stadium. Over the years, the FWAA's All-America teams have been honored in different locations and on various media platforms during the second-longest continuous annual selection of an All-America team in major college football.

Additionally, the AutoNation 75th Anniversary FWAA All-America Team, which was announced in August, will be celebrated during the 2015 season. That team includes players selected from past FWAA All-America teams dating to 1944, three years after the organization was formed in 1941. The AutoNation 75th Anniversary FWAA All-America Team is composed of three teams of 25 players each, with all eight decades, starting in the 1940s, represented among the playing eras of members on the team. It includes 56 National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Famers. Forty-one schools are represented on the team that was selected by an FWAA Blue Ribbon Committee after taking into consideration nominations from the membership.

2015 AutoNation National Defensive Players of the Week

• Week of Sept. 5: Karl Joseph, West Virginia

• Week of Sept. 12: Kai Nacua, BYU

• Week of Sept. 19: RJ Williamson, Michigan State

• Week of Sept. 26: Jeremy Cash, Duke

• Week of Oct. 3: Eric Striker, Oklahoma

• Week of Oct. 10: Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State

• Week of Oct. 17: Minkah Fitzpatrick and Eddie Jackson, Alabama

• Week of Oct. 24: Cameron Smith, USC

• Week of Oct. 31: Quenton Meeks, Stanford

• Week of Nov. 7: Chad Whitener, Oklahoma State

• Week of Nov. 14: Elandon Roberts, Houston

• Week of Nov. 21: Ejuan Price, Pittsburgh

• Week of Nov. 28: Tyler Matakevich, Temple

Week of Dec. 5: Tarris Batiste, Georgia State

About AutoNation, Inc.:

AutoNation is transforming the automotive retail industry through bold leadership. We deliver a peerless automotive retail experience through our customer-focused sales and service processes. Owning and operating 293 new vehicle franchises, which sell 35 new vehicle brands across 15 states, AutoNation is America's largest automotive retailer, with state-of-the-art operations and the ability to leverage economies of scale that benefit the customer. As an indication of our leadership position in our industry, AutoNation is a component of the S&P 500 Index.

About the AutoNation Cure Bowl:

The AutoNation Cure Bowl a new post-season NCAA football game whose net proceeds benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The AutoNation Cure Bowl takes place December 19 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, and will be broadcast by CBS Sports Network. The bowl is scheduled to involve teams from the American Athletic and Sun Belt conferences.

About the Football Writers Association of America:

Founded in 1941, the FWAA consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at

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