DENVER Nevada running back Vai Taua, Louisiana Tech cornerback Terry Carter and Fresno State kick returner A.J. Jefferson were named the Western Athletic Conference offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week, respectively.
This is the first career WAC honor for Taua and marks the second time this season that a Nevada player has been honored by the WAC as sophomore quarterback Colin Kaepernick won the award after the UNLV game. Since Nevada joined the WAC in 2000, Wolf Pack players have been honored 39 times in the WAC weekly awards.
Taua, a sophomore from Lompoc, Calif. (Cabrillo HS), rushed for a career-high 263 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries in Nevada’s 41-28 win at Fresno State on Friday night. His touchdown run went for 25 yards and came in the fourth quarter to give the Pack a 38-21 lead. His total is the fifth most by any FBS running back in the nation this season and is the sixth best in school history. He is the first WAC running back to top 1,000 yards on the season and currently has 1,159.
Carter, a freshman from West Monroe, La. (West Monroe HS), made three tackles and scored on an interception in Louisiana Tech’s 21-0 win at San Jose State. With the Bulldogs leading 7-0 in the second quarter, he picked off a pass and ran 50 yards for his first career collegiate touchdown. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, San Jose State completed a 62-yard pass, but Carter chased the receiver down and made the tackle at the seven yard line. Tech’s defense went on to hold on four downs leading to an 84-yard touchdown drive and preserving the Bulldogs’ first shutout in 148 games.
Jefferson, a junior from Bakersfield, Calif. (West HS), returned six kicks for 241 yards and a touchdown in Friday’s game against Nevada. After a couple of 38-yard returns, Jefferson broke free in the fourth quarter with a 92-yard return for a touchdown. It was his first kick return for a touchdown this year and third of his career.
Others nominated on offense: junior wide receiver Jeremy Childs, Boise State; junior wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu, Fresno State; junior quarterback Greg Alexander, Hawaii; senior running back Patrick Jackson, Louisiana Tech; and senior wide receiver Chris Williams, New Mexico State.
Also nominated on defense: sophomore safety Jeron Johnson, Boise State; sophomore linebacker Ben Jacobs, Fresno State; senior defensive back Ryan Mouton, Hawaii; freshman linebacker James-Michael Johnson, Nevada; senior defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State; and senior linebacker Jake Hutton, Utah State.
Other special teams nominations: sophomore punter/placekicker Kyle Brotzman, Boise State; sophomore return specialist Phillip Livas, Louisiana Tech; and sophomore punter Brad Langley, Nevada.