UCLA's Jerry Neuheisel and Ishmael Adams earn PAC-12 Player of the Week honors

September 15, 2014

Things were looking bleak for UCLA Saturday night in Arlington, Texas, as Heisman candidate quarterback Brett Hundley had been knocked out of the game with an arm injury, the team was down 17-13 to an upset-minded Texas Longhorns squad, and the Bruins' offense had just turned the ball over with a late fourth fumble.

Despite those dire circumstances, the Bruins would manage to pull off an inspirational late rally to win the game 20-17, earning backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel and defensive back Ishmael Adams PAC-12 offensive and special teams Player of the Week honors in the process.  Linebacker Shaq Thompson of Washington was named the Conference's defensive Player of the Week as well.

Neuheisel, a sophomore from Los Angeles and the son of former Bruins quarterback and head coach Rick Neuheisel, came off the bench after Hundley's first-quarter injury and threw two touchdowns.  He also directed three scoring drives in the second half to rally the Bruins from a 10-3 halftime deficit.

The second of Neuheisel’s scoring passes was the game-winner, a 33-yard toss to Jordan Payton with 3:00 remaining in the contest to put the Bruins up 20-17.  Credit the Bruins coaching staff with a smart play call as well, as Payton fooled the defense and ran a nice stop-and-go route to get wide open down the sidelines.  UCLA had been calling shorter routes throughout the evening to set up that final play.

Neuheisel’s first touchdown pass of his career, a three-yarder to Nate Iese, came on the initial drive of the second half and evened the score at 10-all. He also led the Bruins on a 16-play, 71-yard field goal drive which had put UCLA up 13-10 early in the fourth quarter.  For the game, Neuheisel completed 23-of-30 passes for 178 yards, two scores, and no interceptions.

Adams, a junior from Woodland Hills, California, returned a late fourth quarter punt 45 yards to the Texas 33-yard line to help set up Neuheisel's game-winning touchdown throw.  Neuheisel and Payton would link up the very next play.  Adams, who also had three tackles in the game, returned three punts for 62 yards, and one kickoff for 14 yards.

Thompson, a junior from Sacramento, scored two defensive touchdowns in Washington's 44-19 win over Illinois. In the first quarter, he intercepted a pass and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown to give Washington a 21-3 lead. It was the first interception of the season by a UW player. In the second quarter, he scooped up a fumble and ran it 52 yards for another score, making it a 35-5 game. He also had four tackles in the game while rushing for 16 yards on three carries as a running back.

Also nominated for Offensive Player of the Week: Nick Wilson, RB, ARIZ; D.J. Foster, RB, ASU; Byron Marshall, RB, ORE; Devon Cajuste, WR, STAN; Isiah Myers, WR, WSU

Also nominated for Defensive Player of the Week: Scooby Wright, LB, ARIZ; Jordan Simone, LB, ASU; Erick Dargan, S ORE; Blake Martinez, LB, STAN; Eddie Vanderdoes, DL, UCLA; Cyrus Coen, LB, WSU

Other PAC-12 News

  • Conference Comparison:  In comparing the Power 5 offenses, the Pac-12 boasts the top total offense numbers, averaging 500.7 yards per game. Thanks in large part to WSU’s 1,551 passing yards (517.0 avg), the Pac-12 tops the list with 304.5 passing yards per game.

  • Ground Attack:  Arizona and ASU have piled up the yards on the ground this season as they rank 1-2 in the league in rushing at 304.3 ypg and 268.3 ypg, respectively. Sun Devil junior D.J. Foster has three straight 100-yard games, and five in his last six games. Meanwhile, Wildcat freshman Nick Wilson also has posted three consecutive 100-yard rushing games as Arizona’s streak of having a ball carrier rush for 100 yards in a game has reached 20 straight games. Foster currently ranks third in the FBS with 510 yards (170.0 ypg), while Wilson is right behind in fourth with 449 yards (149.7 ypg).

  • Underclassmen Getting Playing Time:  Looking at the starting lineups for each Pac-12 team’s last game, quite a few freshmen (30) and sophomores (65) are getting starting assignments. UCLA led the way with 14 underclassmen (11 sophomores/3 freshmen) who started against Texas, followed by Colorado with 12 (10 sophomores/2 freshmen) against Arizona State, and Arizona with 10 (6 sophomores/4 freshmen) against Nevada. WSU had the most freshmen starters with five in its win over Portland State.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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