<strong>DENVER</strong> – Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton, San Jose State linebacker Keith Smith and Louisiana Tech return specialist D.J. Banks were named the Western Athletic Conference offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week, respectively.
Keeton, a sophomore from Houston, Texas (Cypress Creek HS), completed 20-of-34 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a career-high 121 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries in Utah State’s 48-41 overtime win at Louisiana Tech. On Utah State’s first offensive play of the game, he threw a career-long 86-yard pass for a touchdown. Keeton set new single-season school records for touchdown passes (25) and total offense (3,538 yards).
Smith, a junior from Covina, Calif. (Charter Oak HS), tied a career-high with 19 tackles in San Jose State’s 20-14 win over Brigham Young. He was also credited with two tackles for a loss 12 yards and two forced fumbles. His biggest play came as Brigham Young had the ball on San Jose State’s 21-yard line late in the fourth quarter. Smith sacked the quarterback and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Spartans. San Jose State was able to run out the clock for their first win over the Cougars in four tries since 1968.
Banks, a junior from West Monroe, La. (Tulane), returned seven kickoffs for 235 yards and two punts for 13 yards in Louisiana Tech’s game against Utah State. Near the end of the third quarter, Utah State took a 41-17 lead before Banks returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown that started a 24-point run for the Bulldogs that forced overtime. Banks set the single-season school record for kickoff return yards in a season with 908.
Others nominated on offense: senior wide receiver Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech; junior wide receiver Noel Grigsby, San Jose State; and junior quarterback Eric Soza, UTSA.
Also nominated on defense: senior linebacker Solomon Randle, Louisiana Tech; sophomore free safety Triston Wade, UTSA; and junior linebacker Jake Doughty, Utah State.
Other special teams nominations included: sophomore placekicker Josh Ward, UTSA; and senior punter Tyler Bennett, Utah State.