Utah State football players Chuckie Keeton and Tyler Bennett were honored by the Western Athletic Conference Monday as Keeton was named the league’s offensive player of the week, and Bennett was named the conference’s special teams player of the week.
For Keeton, it is the second time in his career he has garnered WAC Player of the Week accolades, while Bennett is receiving the honor for the first time in his career. The last time USU had a WAC special teams player of the week was during the 2007 season when Kevin Robinson won the award as a kick returner.
Keeton was also named the America First Credit Union Utah State Student-Athlete of the Week for the period ending Sunday, Sept. 9, an award that is voted on by a state-wide media panel. It is the second time in as many weeks and fourth time in his career that Keeton has received USU student-athlete of the week honors.
Keeton, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore quarterback from Houston, Texas (Cypress Creek HS), completed 22-of-32 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns in Utah State’s 27-20 overtime home win against Utah, snapping a 12-game losing streak to the Utes. The 22 completions and 32 attempts both tied previous career-highs. Keeton also carried the ball a career-high 17 times for a career-high 86 yards, including a 23-yard scramble in overtime to set up the winning touchdown.
On the season, Keeton ranks first in the WAC and 11th nationally in passing efficiency (173.5), second in the WAC and tied for 15th nationally in passing yards per game (260.0) and second in the WAC and 25th nationally in total offense (304.50).
Bennett, a 5-foot-11, 218-pound senior punter from Phoenix, Ariz. (North Canyon HS/Phoenix CC), had a career-high nine punts against Utah for an average of 45.3 yards per kick with a long of 59. Bennett also had four punts downed inside the 20-yard line, which is also a career-high.
On the season, Bennett ranks first in the WAC and 22nd in the nation with an average of 44.5 yards per punt.
Utah State, who is 2-0 to start a season for the first time since 1997, returns to action Saturday, Sept. 15, when it plays at Wisconsin (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten) in its first road game of the year. The game will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network (Dish Ch. 439; DirecTV Ch. 610; Comcast HD Ch. 754).
Nominees from other sports for USU Student-Athlete of the Week included:
MEN’S GOLF – Junior Tanner Higham (Shelley, Idaho) recorded his best-ever finish as he tied his 54-hole collegiate low with a 1-under par 215 to place fifth at the Weber State hosted Battle in the Tetons held at the Headwaters Golf Club in Teton Springs, Idaho. Utah State tied for third out of eight teams with a 24-over 888 (307-286-295). Higham shot a final round of 2-under 70 after carding rounds of 74 and 71 to record his 1-under 215.
SOCCER – Senior goalkeeper Ashlyn Mulford (West Valley City, Utah) earned Defensive Most Valuable Player honors at the Portland State hosted Viking Classic after leading Utah State to a pair of shutouts against Eastern Washington (W, 1-0) and the host Vikings (T, 0-0 OT). Mulford made six saves against EWU and had nine saves against PSU as she played all 200 minutes in the two matches.
VOLLEYBALL – Senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen (North Ogden, Utah) posted 20 kills as Utah State lost a pair of three-set matches to Saint Mary’s and No. 22 Kansas State in a tournament hosted by the Wildcats. Against the Gaels, Sorensen had 12 kills, six digs and five total blocks as she hit .292 (12-5-24). Against the Wildcats, she had eight kills, four digs, four block assists and one service ace. For the week, Sorensen hit .155 (20-11-58).
2012-13 Utah State Athlete of the Week Winners
Aug. 27 – Josselyn White, Volleyball
Sept. 3 – Chuckie Keeton, Football
Sept. 10 – Chuckie Keeton, Football
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.