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The Sun Belt Conference announced the football player of the week awards on Monday morning. After a career-night against Battle of I-10 rival UTEP, New Mexico State defensive back Shamad Lomax earned the nod for defensive player of the week.

For the first time, an Appalachian State-Wake Forest football game will be held at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The matchup between the Mountaineers (2-1) and Demon Deacons (3-0) at 3:30 p.m. on Black Saturday in Boone will be the 23rd meeting in series history. App State won seven of the 22 games played in Winston-Salem from 1975-2001.

Appalachian State inside linebacker Anthony Flory has been named the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week following a nine-tackle, two-sack performance in the Mountaineers' 20-13 win at Texas State on Saturday.

Troy senior quarterback Brandon Silvers has been named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week following a vote by the league's media, the conference office announced Monday morning.

As two defenders approached Levi Duffield about 15 yards shy of the goal line, he had two options.

"I was going to get into the end zone," he said with a smile, "or get yelled at."

Duffield reached the end zone early in Appalachian State's 54-7 home win against Savannah State last weekend. Taylor Lamb's 57-yard touchdown pass to Duffield unfolded with the senior tight end catching the ball near the 40, running down the right sideline and stepping through a tackle at the 12 as wide receiver Zy Letman blocked the other nearby defender.

Duffield stumbled inside the 10 before regaining his balance at the 5 and posting his third touchdown on nine career receptions.

"We preach that you don't get brought down by one man," Duffield said. "It's got to be at least two people because we're big tight ends, not receivers."

A week after Duffield and fellow tight end Collin Reed enjoyed big outings against Savannah State, the Lamb-led passing attack could have more opportunities to produce against a Texas State defense that applies heavy pressure while focusing on slowing down their opponent's run game. Kickoff for each team's Sun Belt Conference opener in San Marcos, Texas, is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Duffield scored on his only catch in 2016, a 36-yard reception at Akron, and the touchdown against Savannah State doubled as his only reception through two games in 2017. A former walk-on, he has made nine starts since the beginning of his sophomore season, often in sets with two tight ends for App State's run-based offense.

"He's been one of those journeyman-type players who's been through the program," App State head coach Scott Satterfield said. "Through it all, he's worked extremely hard. He was very intent on being a good football player, and he's made himself into what he is now."

In June 2013, with Duffield unsure of why he had completed his senior year at Tuscola High School in Waynesville without serious interest from any FBS programs, he received an offer to join App State's program as a preferred walk-on. He said he arrived not knowing what position he'd play.

He had performed well at quarterback as a Tuscola junior but played primarily at linebacker following a coaching change entering his season year. Duffield initially earned a spot on the travel roster as a true freshman linebacker before redshirting, and the combination of injury and illness prevented him from appearing in a game as a redshirt freshman.

He moved to tight end before the 2015 season and has been a valuable member of the offense for the last two-plus years.

"When I got here, I was excited, and I kind of missed going down and hitting people," Duffield said. "When I got switched to tight end, I knew our tight ends in this offense hit people just about every single play and rarely catch passes, so it was kind of like playing defense still."

Duffield has contributed as a key blocker at both tight end and the H-back position that calls for him to line up in the backfield. Former App State standout Barrett Burns had eight touchdowns on 15 receptions in 2015 as the primary tight end, with five tight ends scoring at least one touchdown during a season in which Lamb had a school-record 31 TD passes.

Duffield scored his first career touchdown that year on a 9-yard reception at Georgia State and received a scholarship before the 2016 season. He added another score last year out of a formation in which he and Burns lined up wide while setting up in front of speedy receiver T.J. Watkins — the threat of the tight ends blocking for Watkins or running free on pass routes created matchup problems for the Zips' defense.

Last weekend, Duffield moved from his H-back spot into open space thanks to Letman's ability to keep the attention of an outside defender. Reed followed with touchdowns of 68 and 16 yards during a three-catch, 106-yard performance.

App State's tight ends rarely catch a lot of passes, but they have a tendency to avoid tackles and score at a high rate, as Burns proved in 2015.

"Me and Barrett have been best friends since we first got here and I moved to tight end," Duffield said. "Those are big shoes to fill, and I'd still have to do a lot to fill those shoes, but we still have a lot of season left."