WALNUT CREEK, Calif.–Running back Stepfan Taylor of STANFORD, defensive end Ben Gardner of STANFORD and punter Tom Hackett of UTAH have been named Pac-12 Players of the Week in football.
Taylor, a senior from Mansfield, Texas, recorded a career-high 213 all-purpose yards (153 rushing, 60 receiving) and two touchdowns in leading No. 21 Stanford to a 21-14 victory over No. 2 USC. He posted a 59-yard touchdown run to put Stanford on the board in the first quarter, then added a 23-yard touchdown reception on screen pass to tie the game late in the third quarter. He finished the night with 153 yards rushing on 27 carries (5.7 avg), which none were stopped for a loss. He collected 60 yards on five receptions (12.0 avg).
Gardner, a senior from Mequon, Wis., was instrumental in the Stanford defense holding USC to 26 total yards rushing, en route to the Cardinal’s 21-14 win. Among his six total tackles, Gardner recorded 3.5 tackles for loss and a quarterback sack to lead the overall defensive effort of 12.0 tackles for loss and four sacks against USC. After halftime, the Stanford defense knocked back USC with minus-13 total rushing yards and six scoreless possessions, including four three-and-outs.
Hackett, a freshman from Melbourne, Australia, who is playing football for the first time in America, showed off his ability to place the ball inside the 10-yard line during Utah’s 24-21 victory over No. 25 BYU. He punted three times and all three punts were downed inside the BYU 10-yard line. Hackett, who averaged 35.7 yards a punt, was able to pin BYU at their own 5-yard line, and twice on its 8-yard line. The last came with 1:11 remaining in the fourth quarter when his 30-yard punt was downed at the Cougar 8-yard line.
Also nominated for offensive player of the week honors were quarterbacks Matt Scott of Arizona and Connor Halliday of Washington State, running backs Brendan Bigelow of California and Johnathan Franklin of UCLA. Also nominated on defense were defensive back Jonathan McKnight of Arizona and Sheldon Price of UCLA, defensive tackle Star Loutulelei of Utah, safety Shaq Thompson of Washington, and linebackers Brandon Magee of Arizona State and Travis Long of Washington State. Also nominated for special teams play were kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn of UCLA and cornerback Tre Watson of Washington.