Last week, when the WSU offense stood head and shoulders above the defense, it was pretty easy to come up with several candidates for Player of the Week. This week the defense performed better, while the offense couldn't get out of its own way. As such, it should have been easy to select a defender for the top spot. Not so fast.
Any time one looks to select a defensive player for the top spot, such a reward usually comes after he forced a key turnover, collected a couple sacks, or was generally disruptive throughout the game. While the defense was solid for most of the game, nobody made that game-changing play that could have possibly turned the team's fortunes around and possibly set the Cougs on a path toward a win.
Given the lackluster offensive performance and unspectacular defensive effort, there were only two nominees this week.
First Runner-Up: Robert Lewis
When we got the news that River Cracraft wouldn't play, there was considerable consternation among WSU fans. Cracraft is gifted at being in the right spot, and has great hands. On the flip side, Robert Lewis had been a relative unknown outside of practice reports. We knew he was small, fast, and could sometimes get a case of the dropsies. In his first game seeing significant action, he was tied for second in catches. More impressively, he took a couple wicked shots and hung on to the ball. While Cracraft was missed, the dropoff wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.
Winner: Daquawn Brown
While Brown didn't make the game-changing play that WSU desperately needed, he was instrumental in run support against a run-centric Nevada offense. He actually led the team in tackles with 13. While I've rarely looked at defensive stats after WSU games (I prefer to avoid sobbing if I can), I'll go out on a limb and say it's rare for a corner to lead the team in tackles. Brown was also decent in pass coverage, though he was flagged for pass interference that extended a Nevada drive, which ended in a touchdown. Far as I could tell, the officials found him guilty of coughing in the receiver's general direction. As always, he was the runaway winner of the Jason David "I talk trash whether I get a pick six or give up an 80 yard touchdown" award.
Those were the two players who stood out to me. What do you think?