Utah State's Morrison named WAC Special Teams Player of the Week

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 8 2011 12:48 p.m. MST

Utah State football player Stanley Morrison was named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in Saturday’s comeback win at Hawaii, as selected and announced Monday by the conference office.

Morrison’s honor is Utah State’s first conference special teams award since kick returner Kevin Robinson on Sept. 24, 2007. Overall, it is the Aggies’ fifth WAC special teams honor, including getting three in 2005, as kick and punt returner Tony Pennyman earned the award twice, on Sept. 26 and Nov. 21 of 2005, sandwiched around Robinson collecting the accolade on Oct. 10, 2005.

Morrison, a senior wide receiver from Denison, Texas (Denison High School), successfully executed not one but two fake punts to keep drives alive for USU, one of which resulted in a touchdown as part of the Aggies’ 28 second-half points to overcome a 28-7 first-half deficit for a wild 35-31 win over the Warriors of Hawaii for USU’s first win at Honolulu since 1966. The USU win dealt Hawaii its first home loss in its last nine regular season home games and was its first WAC loss since 2009, losing to Boise State, snapping a seven-game home WAC unbeaten streak.

On a 4th-and-4 play in the second quarter, Morrison had an eight-yard gain to keep USU’s drive alive, but it later stalled. However, in the third quarter, Morrison again was the key cog in a fake punt, passing to Joe Hill for a 23-yard gain on 4th-and-5, on a tipped pass by teammate Bobby Wagner that Hill corralled for the first down. Three plays later, USU scored a TD to pull to 31-21 with 2:16 left in the third frame.

Morrison also had his first 100-yard receiving outing of the season with two catches for 105 yards, including a 71-yard TD catch in which he made a spectacular catch between two UH defenders and then dashed to the end zone. It was Morrison’s second career 100-yard outing.

Morrison’s 105 yards receiving was his first 100-yard receiving outing of the season, becoming USU’s first 100-yard receiver this season and the Aggies’ first since TE Kellen Bartlett had five catches for 121 yards last year at Nevada. It was Morrison’s second career 100-yard game, joining his career-best 126-yard receiving outing at Texas A&M in 2009.

The 71-yard TD catch was the second-longest of Morrison’s career, behind a 75-yarder at Idaho in 2009. The 71-yard TD catch was his second scoring catch of the season and fifth of his career. Morrison now has at least one catch in 32 straight games, which leads the WAC.

This is Morrison’s first WAC Player of the Week award of his career and is the Aggies’ second this season as freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton garnered the Offensive Player of the Week honor on Oct. 10.

USU’s comeback from a 28-7 deficit was its largest since 2001, rallying from a 27-0 deficit vs. Idaho State, and was the Aggies’ largest comeback against an FBS team since at least 1990, according to available records.

Utah State returns to the friendly confines of Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium to host San Jose State on Saturday, Nov. 12, in a 1 p.m. kickofff.

Ticket packages for the SJSU football game Saturday with the BYU men’s basketball game are available through the USU athletics ticket office.

To purchase the ticket packages, or for more Aggie athletics ticket information, fans can contact the USU ticket office at 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305, in person at the USU ticket office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or online 24 hours a day at www.utahstateaggies.com by clicking on the “tickets” button.

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University.

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