This Week in WAC Football-Sept. 25
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSIVE – Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams, a senior from Las Vegas, Nev. (Valley HS), racked up 227 all-purpose yards in Utah State’s 31-19 win at Colorado State. Williams rushed for a career-high 205 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns and added three receptions for 22 yards. He had touchdown runs of 26 and 58 yards in the game with the latter being a career-long. It was his second career 100-yard rushing game and first multi-touchdown game.
DEFENSIVE – Louisiana Tech linebacker Antonio Mitchum, a senior from North Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Georgia Military College), had 10 tackles (8 solo), including two for a loss of 18 yards (one sack for 12 yards), in Louisiana Tech’s 52-24 win at Illinois. He also forced one fumble and recovered two fumbles including one for a touchdown following a punt to give the Bulldogs a 42-17 lead in the third quarter.
SPECIAL TEAMS – San Jose State kick returner Tyler Ervin, a sophomore from Colton, Calif. (Colton HS), returned five kickoffs for 167 yards and a touchdown in San Jose State’s 38-34 win at San Diego State. After San Diego State took a 7-3 lead, Ervin took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, the only kick return for a score in the FBS this past weekend. His 167 yards of kick returns helped set a new school record for total kick return yards in a game with 253.
Others nominated on offense:
Quinton Patton, Sr., WR, Louisiana Tech - caught six passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the win at Illinois.
Austin Franklin, So., WR, New Mexico State - had six catches for 107 ayrds and a touchdown in the game against New Mexico.
David Fales, Jr., QB, San Jose State - threw four touchdown passes and was 21-of-31 for 260 yards in the win at San Diego State. Three of his TD passes came in the final 12 minutes.
David Glasco II, So., RB, UTSA - rushed four times for 69 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Northwestern Oklahoma State.
Shaun Rutherford, Sr., QB, Texas State - completed 21-of-26 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Stephen F. Austin. He also rushed eight times for 48 yards and another score.
Also nominated on defense:
Davis Cazares, Jr., S, New Mexico State - had a career-high 19 tackles and forced a fumble against New Mexico.
Vince Buhagiar, Jr., LB, San Jose State - recorded 11 tackles, including three for a loss (1 sack), in the win at San Diego State.
Triston Wade, So., FS, UTSA - made two tackles and returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown in the win over Northwestern Oklahoma State.
Craig Mager, So., CB, Texas State - tallied eight tackles and intercepted a pass in the win over Stephen F. Austin.
Zach Vigil, So., LB, Utah State - had seven tackles including a career-high three for a loss (2 sacks), in the win at Colorado State.
Additional special teams nominations:
Trey Farquhar, Sr., PK, Idaho - made all three of his field goals (26, 53, 49) and all four PATs in the overtime loss against Wyoming.
Matt Nelson, Sr., PK, Louisiana Tech - made all seven of his extra point attempts in the game at Illinois to become the school’s all-time leader in PATs attempted and converted.
Cayle Chapman-Brown, Jr., P, New Mexico State - averaged 50.8 yards on five punts in the game against New Mexico.
Kenny Harrison, So., RS, UTSA - returned three punts for 67 yards and a kickoff for 25 yards in the win over Northwestern Oklahoma State.
Jafus Gaines, Fr., WR, Texas State - returned six kickoffs for 237 yards including a long of 65 in the win over Stephen F. Austin.
Tyler Bennett, Sr., P, Utah State - had three punts for a 47.0-yard average, including two downed inside the 20-yard line, in the win at Colorado State.
NATIONAL WEEKLY AWARDS – Louisiana Tech’s Colby Cameron was one of eight quarterbacks named to the Manning Award Stars of the Week list. Idaho placekicker Trey Farquhar was honored by the College Football Performance Awards as the national kicker of the week while Tyler Ervin of San Jose State was the kickoff returner of the week. Other honorable mention CFPA winners were Cameron (QB); Kerwynn Williams, Utah State (RB); Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech (WR); Isaiah Battle, Texas State (WR); Ryan Otten, San Jose State (TE); Will Johnson, Texas State (PK); Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech (P); Tyler Bennett, Utah State (P); Cayle Chapman-Brown, New Mexico State (P); Jafus Gaines, Texas State (All-Purpose); Zach Vigil, Utah State (LB); Vince Buhagiar, San Jose State (LB); and Antonio Mitchum, Louisiana Tech (LB).
WILLIAMS NEAR CAREER TOP 10 – Utah State senior running back Kerwynn Williams has 5,224 yards of all-purpose yards during his career. He is 11th all-time in WAC history and needs 151 more yards to crack the top 10. Williams is the WAC’s active leader in rushing yards with 1,409. He also has 288 career receiving yards, 135 punt return yards and is already the WAC’s career leader in kick return yards with 3,392.
COACH TO CURE MD – The AFCA will hold its fifth annual Coach to Cure MD effort with the games of September 29. All WAC coaching staffs will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches this week to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. Fans are encouraged to donate online at www.CoachtoCureMD.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.
TWO NAMED SENIOR CLASS CANDIDATES – Louisiana Tech offensive lineman Stephen Warner and San Jose State defensive end Travis Johnson are two of 30 FBS candidates for the 2012 SENIOR Class Award to be awarded by the NCAA during the 2012-13 bowl season. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I FBS senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of candidates follows this release. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season.
NEW ERA – The WAC began a new era this year with the additions of Denver, Seattle, UT-Arlington, UTSA and Texas State with only the latter two competing in football. The WAC consists of a total of 10 schools for the 2012-13 season, but just seven play football. Both UTSA and Texas State are eligible to compete for the WAC championship, but UTSA is not eligible for a postseason bowl game in 2012 due to the two-year process of transitioning from FCS to FBS. Texas State began the process last year and is bowl eligible if there are not enough eligible teams to fill the 70 bowl slots this year. For their opponents, wins against Texas State this year count toward bowl eligibility while those against UTSA do not.
ALL COACHES RETURN – The WAC is the only FBS conference to return all of its head coaches from a year ago. Idaho’s Robb Akey is the senior member of the group going into his sixth year with the Vandals. New members UTSA and Texas State have coaches that are in their second year with the school though Texas State’s Dennis Franchione coached an additional two years with the Bobcats in 1990 and 1991. Franchione had two previous stints in the WAC with New Mexico and TCU and his 59 wins as a WAC head coach are the 11th most in conference history. UTSA’s Larry Coker won a National Championship in his first year with Miami (Fla.) in 2001.
PRESEASON FAVORITES – Defending WAC champion Louisiana Tech was picked as the favorite by both the media and coaches for the 2012 season. Utah State was second in both polls and San Jose State was third. As selected by the media, Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton was voted the preseason Offensive Player of the Year while San Jose State defensive end Travis Johnson was picked as the Defensive Player of the Year. Patton, a senior, was a first-team all-WAC selection last year after catching 79 passes for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first season with the Bulldogs. Johnson, a senior, earned first-team all-WAC honors after finishing second in the WAC with 9.5 sacks last year. He enters this season with 19 career sacks, the third most of any active player in the country.
FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL – The WAC continues its affiliation with the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl this year. The WAC champion (unless its UTSA or Texas State) will play an opponent from the Mid-American Conference. The WAC has played in the bowl game every year since 2000.
BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES – Since 1997, the WAC has been an official part of the Bowl Championship Series. The WAC’s champion will receive an automatic berth in one of the five BCS bowl games if ranked in the top 12 of the BCS Standings (and is the highest ranked team from a conference without an automatic bid) or if ranked in the top 16 of the BCS Standings and its ranking is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls. The BCS Standings are determined by a formula involving polls and computer rankings. Next year’s National Championship Game will be played in Miami on Jan. 7, 2013.