Utah State football player Bobby Wagner has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in USU’s win over Nevada Saturday, the Aggies’ fourth-straight win that made USU bowl eligible for the first time since 1997 with the Aggies’ sixth win of the season, their first six-win ledger since 1997.
The senior linebacker was also selected as the America First Credit Union Utah State Student-Athlete of the Week for the period ending Sunday, Nov. 27, an award that is voted on by a statewide media panel.
Wagner, a native of Ontario, Calif. (Colony High School), posted a game-high 15 tackles, including half a tackle for loss, and recovered a fumble. Wagner’s fumble recovery came on a 4th-and-1 play from the USU 12 with just over five minutes left, as Nevada was driving for the go-ahead score. Wolf Pack quarterback Tyler Lantrip ran an option play, and had the first down, but was stripped of the football, and Wagner recovered it to thwart the threat.
With 15 tackles Saturday, Wagner moved up to second on the USU career tackles list with 433. Wagner is also now tied for third with San Jose State’s Matt Castelo (2004-07) in career tackles in the WAC. Wagner now has nine double-digit tackle outings this season and 23 for his career.
On Sunday, Wagner was recognized by College Sports Madness as its WAC Defensive Player of the Week.
Wagner, who leads the WAC and ranks third in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), collects his first WAC Defensive Player of the Week honors this season. It is his second weekly WAC honor of his career, earning it last season on Nov. 8, 2010.
It is Utah State’s fourth weekly WAC honor this season, as junior running back Robert Turbin collected the offensive accolade last week while freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton earned the honor on Oct. 10 and junior wide receiver Stanley Morrison earned the conference Special Teams Player of the Week on Nov. 7.
Wagner’s honor is Utah State’s 13th WAC weekly award in the Aggies’ seven seasons in the league. It is also the fifth defensive award collected, joining Calderwood’s Oct. 9, 2006, and Dec. 1, 2008, honors as well as Paul Igboeli’s Nov. 3, 2008, honors and Wagner’s award last year on Nov. 8, 2010.
This is also Wagner’s first USU weekly honor of the season and the sixth time this season for an Aggie football player to earn the weekly honor. Turbin has collected the award three times (Sept. 12, Oct. 3 and Nov. 21) while Keeton was the recipient on Sept. 5 and Oct. 10.
The Aggies will put their four-game win streak on the line when they take their 6-5 overall record and 4-2 WAC mark on the road to Las Cruces, N.M., on Saturday, Dec. 3, finishing out regular-season action against New Mexico State. The all-Aggie affair kicks off at 1:30 MST and will be televised on KCSG (Comcast Ch. 116/DirectTv Ch. 44/Dish Network Ch. 37).
USU will be going for its first seven-win season since 1993, and the navy Aggies will be going for their first five-game win streak since that same season, which is also the last time that Utah State won a bowl game, winning the Las Vegas Bowl, 42-33, over Ball State. USU’s only other bowl appearance since that time was the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl, where the Aggies lost to Cincinnati, 35-19. Overall, USU has been to six bowls, as the Aggies played in the 1946 Raisin Bowl, the 1947 Grape Bowl, the 1960 Sun Bowl, the 1961 Gotham Bowl, the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl and the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl.
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.
Nominees from other sports for USU Student-Athlete of the Week included:
Men's basketball — Senior forward Morgan Grim (Riverton, Utah) helped Utah State to a 1-1 road record last week as it lost at Texas A&M at Corpus Christi (58-55 OT) and won at Idaho State (75-62). Against the Islanders, Grim recorded his first-ever double-double as he recorded a career-high 20 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in a career-best 42 minutes. Grim also tied his career-high with two assists in the game. Against the Bengals, Grim scored in double-figures for the third time this season as he finished with 11 points and six rebounds. He also tied his career-highs with two assists and two blocks in the game. For the week, Grim averaged 15.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 blocks and 0.5 steals per game, while shooting 40.0 percent from the field (10-25) and 73.3 percent at the free-throw line (11-15).
Women's basketball — Senior guard Brooke Jackson (Mesa, Ariz.) helped Utah State win a pair of home games last week against Boise State (97-86) and UC Riverside (71-68). Against the Broncos, Jackson scored a career high 27 points on 9-of-11 shooting to go along with five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Against the Highlanders, she scored 11 points to go along with six assists, five rebounds and two steals. For the week, Jackson averaged 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.5 steals, while shooting 70.6 percent from the field (12-17), 44.4 percent from three-point range (4-9) and 71.4 percent from the free-throw line (10-14).
2011-12 UTAH STATE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK WINNERS
Aug. 29 — Shantel Flanary, soccer
Sept. 5 — Chuckie Keeton, football
Sept. 12 — Robert Turbin, football
Sept. 19 — Brian McKenna, cross country
Sept. 26 — Marcus Fritz, men’s tennis
Oct. 3 — Robert Turbin, football
Oct. 10 — Chuckie Keeton, football
Oct. 17 — Liz McArthur, volleyball
Oct. 24 — Jennifer Flynn, soccer
Oct. 31 — Brian McKenna, cross country
Nov. 7 — Molli Merrill, soccer
Nov. 14 — Brockeith Pane, men’s basketball
Nov. 21 — Robert Turbin, football
Nov. 28 — Bobby Wagner, football
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University.
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