Washington State defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa and kicker Erik Powell each earned Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week accolades, conference commissioner Larry Scott announced Monday.
Mata’afa earned his first career defensive player of the week honor after matching a career high with eight tackles while setting career-highs with five tackles-for-loss, three sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in the Cougars 33-25 win at Utah.
The redshirt-junior from Lahaina, Hawaii tied for the second-most tackles-for-loss in WSU single-game history while the Cougar defense forced seven turnovers to improve to 9-2 on the season. Mata’afa’s 21.5 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks in 2017 pace the Pac-12 in both categories while his TFL total is second-most in WSU single-season history. Cougars are now tied for national lead with 27 takeaways.
Powell picked up his third Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week award of the season, becoming the first Cougar to win three player of the week awards in the same season since Luke Falk in 2015. Powell tallied 15 points in the win at Utah, hitting 4-of-5 field goal attempts (44, 32, 28, 33) and all three of his PAT attempts.
The redshirt-senior from Vancouver, Wash. enters the bye week leading the Pac-12 with 99 points and second in the league with 19 field goals. Other Cougars to earn three special teams weekly honors in their career were punter Kyle Basler and kicker Drew Dunning while kicker Jason Hanson claimed the most with four.