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Utah State football: Robert Turbin named WAC Offensive Player of the Year

Published: Monday, Dec. 5 2011 12:44 p.m. MST

DENVER — Utah State running back Robert Turbin was named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year on Monday, while Louisiana Tech's Adrien Cole earned Defensive Player of the Year honors and Nevada's Cody Fajardo was named the Freshman of the Year.

Louisiana Tech's Sonny Dykes was voted the WAC's Coach of the Year.

Turbin, a junior running back from Fremont, Calif., is 10th in the nation in rushing with 118.0 yards per game and is fifth in scoring with 11.5 points per contest. Turbin has rushed for 1,416 yards and 19 touchdowns on 229 attempts for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. He has caught 16 passes for 164 yards and four more touchdowns. His 138 points scored this season are currently the seventh most in WAC history.

"It's just another blessing," Turbin said. "Words can't really describe the feeling. It's a great honor to be recognized like that.

"I still kind of feel like I could have done more. There are times I could have done better. There are games I don't necessarily wish I had back, but could have done things better. To be noticed and have that honor is great. It just shows the respect coaches have for me is cool. There are a lot of offensive players, and a lot of good ones, so for them to put me at the top means a lot.

"The one main goal I set was to be the best," Turbin said. "To be the best you have to win, and we've done that as a team. To be the best you have to be noticed as one of the best."

USU head coach Gary Andersen was proud of his star running back.

"It is a great honor for Robert, well deserved in my opinion. He had a tremendous year," Andersen said. "It is great to see a kid go through the adversity he had to go through, to come back be a conference player of the year, that is a great accomplishment. I am very, very proud of him. I am happy for Robert Turbin.

"The first thing Robert is going to do is tell everybody that it was the people around him that got it for him, which he should because he had a supporting cast around him that did a tremendous job of blocking, giving and creating him holes.

"He is a tremendous talent, it is special to see," Andersen said. "There is a lot of special stories on this team, there are many, many of them and he is one of them. I am glad to see him get rewarded."

USU sophomore center Tyler Larsen and senior offensive guard Philip Gapelu and senior linebacker Bobby Wagner were also named all-WAC first-team performers, while senior defensive end Levi Koskan and senior tight end Tarren Lloyd were second-team selections.

Wagner led the WAC and ranks eighth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in tackles with 11.7 per game, totalling 140 (62 solo, 78 assists) this season, moving up to No. 9 on the WAC's single-season tackles list and tying for No. 6 on USU's single-season stops list.

Gapelu, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan High School), anchored an Aggie offensive line that cleared the way for the USU running attack to total a school-record 3,330 rushing yards on the season, bettering the previous record of 3,120 yards set in 1960.

Koskan, a native of Smithfield, Utah (Sky View High), is tied for sixth in the league and tied for 70th in the nation in sacks and also ranks ninth in the WAC in tackles for loss.

A native of Bountiful, Utah (Viewmont High), Lloyd has 11 catches for 96 yards (8.7 ypc) with one TD, and was also an integral blocker for the school-record Aggie rushing attack, and nationally-ranked total offense.

Utah State, with seven regular-season wins for the first time since 1979, will make its first bowl appearance since 1997 when it plays Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise on Dec. 17.

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