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Nate Thellen Shines for Northeastern
BROCKTON - Nate Thellen of Brockton had a game to remember when the Northeastern University football team played its home opener last Saturday.
The sophomore free safety intercepted three passes, returning one 92 yards for a touchdown, as the Huskies broke into the win column with a 27-10 victory over the University of California-Davis.
The Brockton High School graduate was named the Colonial Athletic Association defensive player of the week, the ECAC co-defensive player of the week and The Sports Network national defensive player of the week.
Thellen also received the Gold Helmet, presented weekly by the New England Football Writers for the top performance in the region. Thellen received that award at a luncheon at Harvard University.
Two of Thellen’s interceptions came in the second quarter, the first setting up NU for a touchdown that made it 21-10. He also picked off a pass in the end zone at the end of the half.
Thellen clinched the game when he intercepted another pass at the NU 8-yard line and raced 92 yards for a score with another Brockton product, Jason Vega, helping him get to the end zone.
The interception return for a score was the first by a NU player since Neil Anderson went 90 yards against Villanova on Nov. 9, 2002. The three interceptions ties for the second highest total in school history.
“Nate plays with good discipline, and when you play with good discipline, good things are going to happen,” said Huskies coach Rocky Hager. “He has been a very consistent player for us, and it’s nice to see someone like that get all these accolades.
“He’s been that way his whole time here, just a consistent player. In our scheme, the free safety is like the defensive quarterback and Nate is like a student of the game back there.”
Thellen, who redshirted in 2006, had one interception last season against Rhode Island. He moved into the NU starting lineup in the third game and was the sixth-leading tackler with 52.
The former Enterprise All-Scholastic, who was also on the Boxers’ track team, is third on the Huskies with 25 tackles this season.
Vega was also a defensive standout for the Huskies against UC-Davis, recording two sacks for 16 yards and intercepting a screen pass.
Other contributors to the NU defense are Michael Laperriere of Wareham, a redshirt freshman defensive lineman who has been in on 11 tackles, and Woody Romelus of Brockton, a junior lineman who has made four tackles.
Senior Art Dias of Brockton and sophomore Greg Niland of East Bridgewater, a Coyle-Cassidy graduate, are starters on the offensive line.
NU (1-3) travels to Maryland on Saturday to face Towson University.
Nate Thellen shines for Northeastern football team
By Jim Fenton, The Brockton Enterprise (MA)