Welcome back to our weekly player of the week installment. If you'd said at halftime of the Wyoming game that a defensive player would wind up winning this award, I'd have laughed, heartily. As the teams headed to the locker room, Wyoming had amassed 263 yards of offense, and was averaging over seven yards per play. Once again, the WSU defense could do little to nothing right.
The tide turned again after halftime, just as it had the first two games. However, instead of WSU's defense regressing after halftime, the opposite happened. While the offense moved in fits and starts, the defense bowed up considerably. After an interception at midfield early in the third quarter, Wyoming faced fourth and two at the WSU 28. Craig Bohl opted to go for it, hoping to tie the score. On fourth down, Brian Hill got the ball. He may have ended the game with 139 yards, but on this play, Peyton Pelluer knifed through the line and stopped him for a loss of two yards.
Wyoming never got past the WSU 41 yard line after that stop, and WSU was able to pull away thanks in large part to a Jeremiah Allison interception, which handed the offense the ball at the Wyoming 12. The Cougs converted that field position into a touchdown, and the game was no longer in doubt. With that, let's take a look at this week's honorees.
2nd Runner-Up: Shalom Luani
Luani seems to be coming on quite well at safety, which is pretty impressive considering he didn't show up until fall camp. You can tell that he loves to make the big hit. While the coverage skills need a good amount of work, his hitting ability was on full display when he jarred the ball loose from Tanner Gentry on the first play of the fourth quarter. The ensuing drive ended in an Erik Powell field goal, which gave WSU its first double digit lead of the game. Luani finished second on the team in tackles with 11, and provided one of the game's biggest plays with that forced fumble.
1st Runner-Up: Keith Harrington
Keith's dad isn't the only one who's excited about #24. That kid is one of those players who makes you stop and watch every time he touches the ball. He scored his third touchdown in three games Saturday, this time on a dazzling 36 yard run around the left side that gave WSU its first lead of the game. He totaled 68 yards on just six carries Saturday, and showed us all once again that he will be an offensive mainstay for the foreseeable future.
Winner: Peyton Pelluer
Aside from his huge fourth down play, Pelluer basically made a living in Wyoming's backfield Saturday, ending up with 3.5 tackles for loss among his 14 stops. On Wyoming's first drive of the second half, he was in on every tackle, and Wyoming went three-and-out. Like the entire defense, Pelluer took a while to get going, but stepped up his game dramatically after halftime. If that wasn't enough, he also raced down on a kickoff and made a tackle at the 15 yard line. You read that correctly. A guy on the kick coverage team made a solid tackle, preventing the returner from getting a good return. That alone makes Peyton Pelluer a standout. Congratulations, Peyton.