This Week in WAC Football-Oct. 16
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSIVE – Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton, a senior from La Vergne, Tenn. (Coffeyville CC), tied a school record with 21 catches for 233 yards and four touchdowns in Louisiana Tech’s 59-57 loss to Texas A&M. He scored three of his four touchdowns in the second half as the Bulldogs rallied from a 27-0 deficit to pull within two points twice in the fourth quarter. The 21 catches are the most by any receiver in the nation this year and one shy of the WAC record of 22 set by BYU’s Jay Miller in 1973.
DEFENSIVE – Utah State linebacker Kyler Fackrell, a freshman from Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS), tied a career-high with 11 tackles (7 solo), including two sacks, in the win at San Jose State. On his second sack, Fackrell forced and recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter to help set up the Aggies final touchdown of the day. In the first quarter, he broke up a pass on third-and-goal from the Utah State eight-yard line to force the Spartans to kick a field goal on San Jose State’s opening drive of the game. Fackrell’s two sacks were part of a school-record 13 in the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS – Texas State punt returner Andy Erickson, a junior from Austin, Texas (Rice), returned five punts for 76 yards in Texas State’s 38-7 win over Idaho. His best return went for 36 yards on the final play of the third quarter and helped set up a touchdown run that gave the Bobcats a 31-7 lead. He also had another return of 25 yards that led to a field goal earlier in the game. Erickson led Texas State in all-purpose yards with 124 as he added three receptions for 48 yards.
Others nominated on offense:
David Fales, Jr., QB, San Jose State - completed 38-of-50 passes for 467 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in the game against Utah State.
Shaun Rutherford, Sr., QB, Texas State - rushed for a season-high 85 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in the win against Idaho. he also completed 14-of-19 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Kerwynn Williams, Sr., RB, Utah State - rushed for 176 yards on 15 carries and scored a career-high three touchdowns in the win at San Jose State. He had an 86-yard TD run that was the eighth-longest in school history. Williams also added four receptions for 30 yards in the game.
Also nominated on defense:
Shakeil Lucas, Jr., DL, Louisiana Tech - recorded seven tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown in the game against Texas A&M.
Craig Mager, So., CB, Texas State - had a game-high eight tackles and broke up a pass in the win over Idaho.
Additional special teams nominations:
Malon Lee, Sr., RB, Louisiana Tech - recovered an onside kick late in the game against Texas A&M.
Austin Lopez, Fr., PK, San Jose State - made both field goal attempts in the game against Utah State and is now 11-for-11 on the season.
Tyler Bennett, Sr., P, Utah State - punted five times for a 42.0-yard average in the win at San Jose State.
WAC TOP NON-AQ CONFERENCE – After seven weeks of play, the WAC is the top non-automatic qualifying conference according to the ESPN Stats & Information College Football Conference Power Rankings. The WAC has a rating of 21.6, trailing the ACC (47.2), but ahead of the Mountain West (20.7), MAC (19.9), Sun Belt (18.7) and Conference USA (16.3). The ratings take into account the AP poll and various computer rankings.
LA TECH/UTSA LEAD NATION – In the most recent NCAA statistics report, Louisiana Tech is the nation’s top scoring team. The Bulldogs are averaging 53.8 points per game, 1.5 points per contest better than Oregon. Both teams have scored 43 touchdowns on the year. UTSA is leading the country in turnover margin with +2.33 per game. The Roadrunners have gained 17 turnovers while committing just three on the season. Louisiana Tech is second in the nation at +2.17 per game.
WILLIAMS CRACKS CAREER TOP 5 – Utah State senior running back Kerwynn Williams has 5,747 yards of all-purpose yards during his career. He is now fifth all-time in WAC history, 944 behind career leader Terance Mathis of New Mexico (1985-87, 89). Williams is the WAC’s active leader in rushing yards with 1,716. He also has 504 career receiving yards, 135 punt return yards and is the WAC’s all-time career leader in kick return yards with 3,392.
NATIONAL WEEKLY AWARDS – Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton was honored by the College Football Performance Awards as the national wide receiver of the week. Other honorable mention CFPA winners were Chuckie Keeton, Utah State (QB); David Fales, San Jose State (QB); Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech (QB); Kerwynn Williams, Utah State (RB); Noel Grigsby, San Jose State (WR); Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech (P); and Kyler Fackrell, Utah State (LB).
JOHN MACKEY MIDSEASON WATCH LIST – The WAC had two players named to the John Mackey midseason watch list. The award goes to the nation’s top tight end. Both Texas State’s Chase Harper and San Jose State’s Ryan Otten were named to the 26-man list. Semifinalists will be announced on Nov. 12.
JOHNSON NAMED LOMBARDI QUARTERFINALIST – San Jose State defensive end Travis Johnson is one of 25 quarterfinalists for the 2012 Rotary Lombardi Award. The award is given to the college football lineman who combines outstanding performance and ability and exemplifies the discipline of the legendary Green Bay Packers two-time Super Bowl winning coach Vince Lombardi, who first gained fame as one of Fordham University football’s “Seven Blocks of Granite” in the 1930’s. Johnson’s 7.5 sacks this season give him 26.5 for his career and ranks the Spartan co-captain tied for first among active players. He is the only player from a non-BCS conference listed among the 25 remaining candidates for the award. Seven semifinalists will be named at the end of October.
TWO NOMINATED FOR THE WILLIAM V. CAMPBELL TROPHY – Lousiana Tech placekicker Matt Nelson and San Jose State defensive lineman Travis Johnson have been nominated for the William V. Campbell Trophy which recognizes the best football scholar-athlete in the nation. Candidates must be in their final year of eligibility and have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
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. His 61 overall victories and 38 conference victories as a WAC head coach are both tied with Boise State’s Chris Petersen for 10th 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.