Sept. 3, 2012
After helping East Carolina to a season-opening win over Appalachian State, sophomore LB Jeremy Grove has been named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week. The Offensive Player of the Week honor went to UTEP sophomore RB Nathan Jeffery, who ran for 177 yards and scored a touchdown against No. 4 Oklahoma. Special Teams recognition went to Rice junior LB Cameron Nwosu, who set an NCAA single-game record by blocking three extra-point attempts against UCLA. C-USA Football Players of the Week are voted on by a panel of the league's media.
Grove, a 2011 Freshman All-America performer, opened the 2012 campaign with nine tackles and a career-best two forced fumbles to help East Carolina record a season-opening 35-13 win over Appalachian State. He helped account for the Pirates first touchdown of the season by stripping ASU QB Jamal Jackson near midfield, resulting in a 45-yard fumble return by strong safety Chip Thompson. Grove recorded the other forced fumble on ASU's next series.
Jeffery ran for a career-best 177 yards on 21 carries for UTEP against fourth-ranked Oklahoma. Jeffery set a school record for rushing yards in a season opener, eclipsing the mark of 164 set in 1976. Five of Jeffery's carries were for more than 10 yards, including a 71-yard run that marked the fourth-best effort in the Mike Price era and the longest by an underclassman at UTEP since 2001. The Miners only touchdown of the game came at the hands of Jeffery, who returned a block punt 24 yards to reach pay dirt in the opening quarter. The Texas native compiled 219 all-purpose yards.
Nwosu broke the NCAA record by blocking three UCLA extra point attempts on Thursday night. Nwosu tied the NCAA and C-USA marks in the first five minutes of the season, blocking each of the Bruins' first two PAT attempts. He set the record by deflecting his third PAT attempt just before halftime. Nwosu was credited with nine tackles in the game and also picked up his first career interception in addition to his three blocked kicks.