Louisiana Tech running back Hunter Lee, Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner and Louisiana Tech punt returner Craig Johnson were named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week, respectively.
Lee, a freshman from Flower Mound, Texas (Flower Mound HS), rushed for a career-high 148 yards and three touchdowns in Louisiana Tech’s 44-0 win over New Mexico State. He had 26 carries to average 5.7 yards per attempt and also caught two passes as the Bulldogs clinched their first WAC title since 2001.
Wagner, a senior from Ontario, Calif. (Colony HS), made a game-high 15 tackles in Utah State’s 21-17 win over Nevada that enabled the Aggies to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1997. Wagner also recovered a fumble that came on a 4th-and-1 play from the Utah State 12-yard line with just over five minutes left in the game to help preserve the victory. He moved up to second place on the school’s career tackles list with 433.
Johnson, a junior from Harvey, La. (Arkansas Baptist), returned just one punt in the game against New Mexico State, but it went for 82 yards and a touchdown as Louisiana Tech earned an invitation to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. As the seventh-string punt returner, Johnson was forced into action on special teams due to injuries during the course of the year.
Others nominated on offense: junior running back Robbie Rouse, Fresno State; sophomore quarterback David Graves, Hawai‘i; senior wide receiver Rishard Matthews, Nevada; junior running back Kenny Turner, New Mexico State; senior quarterback Matt Faulkner, San Jose State; and junior wide receiver Matt Austin, Utah State.
Also nominated on defense: senior linebacker Corey Paredes, Hawai‘i; senior linebacker Adrien Cole, Louisiana Tech; senior linebacker Brandon M. Marshall, Nevada; and junior safety Cullen Newsome, San Jose State.
Other special teams nominations included: senior placekicker Kevin Goessling, Fresno State; sophomore defensive back John Hardy-Tuliau, Hawai‘i; junior punter Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech; senior placekicker Jens Alvernik, San Jose State; and junior punter Tyler Bennett, Utah State.