Dec. 5, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State football player Robert Turbin was named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and was one of six Aggies on the all-WAC first and second-teams, which were selected by the league's coaches and announced Monday by the conference office.
Junior running back Turbin was joined on the first-team by senior linebacker Bobby Wagner, senior offensive guard Philip Gapelu and sophomore center Tyler Larsen Senior defensive end Levi Koskan and senior tight end Tarren Lloyd were second-team selections.
"We are the second-place team in the league, no matter how you cut it. You can say what you want, but we are the second-place team in the league and they should have some kids on all-conference on that team and we do have some all-conference kids on the team. This is a very good conference with some very talented young men," USU head coach Gary Andersen said.
Both the three first-team all-WAC selections and the six overall honorees is the most all-WAC selections for USU in its seven years in the league and is Utah State's most overall all-conference players recognized since 2003 when the Aggies had nine in the Big West.
"It's just another blessing. Words can't really describe the feeling. It's a great honor to be recognized like that. I still kind of feel like I could have done more. There are times I could have done better. There are games I don't necessarily wish I had back, but could have done things better. To be noticed and have that honor is great. It just shows the respect coaches have for me is cool. There are a lot of offensive players, and a lot of good ones, so for them to put me at the top means a lot. The one main goal I set was to be the best. To be the best you have to win, and we've done that as a team. To be the best you have to be noticed as one of the best," Turbin said.
Turbin is USU's first WAC Offensive Player of the Year award recipient and just the Aggies' second WAC individual honor, joining Paul Igboeli's WAC Freshman of the Year honor in 2006. Overall, Turbin is just the second USU player to earn a conference Offensive Player of the Year honor, joining Kendal Smith who was the 1998 Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
"It is a great honor for Robert, well deserved in my opinion. He had a tremendous year," Andersen said. "It is great to see a kid go through the adversity he had to go through, to come back be a conference player of the year, that is a great accomplishment. I am very, very proud of him. I am happy for Robert Turbin."
A native of Fremont, Calif. (Irvington HS), Turbin is 10th in the nation in rushing with 118.0 yards per game and is fifth in scoring with 11.5 points per contest. Turbin has rushed for 1,416 yards and 19 touchdowns on 229 attempts for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. He has caught 16 passes for 164 yards and four more touchdowns. His 138 points scored this season are currently the seventh most in WAC history. The 1,416 yards ranks Turbin fifth on USU's single-season rushing yardage list, needing just 120 more for the No. 1 spot of 1,536 yards, currently held by Demario Brown in 1999. Turbin is already the USU record holder for single-season rushing TDs (19), single-season total TDs (23) and single-season scoring (138).
"The first thing Robert is going to do is tell everybody that it was the people around him that got it for him, which he should because he had a supporting cast around him that did a tremendous job of blocking, giving and creating him holes. He is a tremendous talent, it is special to see," Andersen said. "There is a lot of special stories on this team, there are many, many of them and he is one of them. I am glad to see him get rewarded."
Wagner, a native of Ontario, Calif. (Colony HS), led the WAC and ranks eighth in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in tackles with 11.7 per game, totalling 140 (62 solo, 78 assists) this season, moving up to No. 9 on the WAC's single-season tackles list and tying for No. 6 on USU's single-season stops list. Leading the USU defensive unit with 10.5 tackles for loss, Wagner added four sacks and also leads the Aggies with two interceptions. He also has one fumble recovery on the season.
Gapelu, a Lynwood, Calif. (Lynwood HS) native and Larsen, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan HS), anchored an Aggie offensive line that cleared the way for the USU running attack to total a school-record 3,330 rushing yards on the season, bettering the previous record of 3,120 yards set in 1960. USU's 35 rushing TD's are currently second in school history behind the 39 set in 1961. Gapelu and Larsen are also anchors of the Aggie offense that ranks second in the WAC and 20th in FBS in total offense at 458.7 ypg, while also ranking second in the conference and tied for 36th in the country in sacks allowed (1.4 pg). The offensive line duo are the first pair of Aggie offensive linemen to earn first-team all-conference honors since 1997 when Mauricio Jourdan and Mark Rommel earned first-team all-Big West accolades together.
Koskan, a native of Smithfield, Utah (Sky View HS), is tied for sixth in the league and tied for 70th in the nation in sacks with 0.5 pg, while also ranking ninth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.9 pg). Leading the team with 5.5 sacks, Koskan has matched his jersey number of 47 with total yards lost on sacks, while adding 10 tackles for loss for a team-high 71 yards lost. Koskan added one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, which came in same game on the same play in the San Jose State game, as well as six QB hurries.
A native of Bountiful, Utah (Viewmont HS), Lloyd has 11 catches for 96 yards (8.7 ypc) with one TD, and was also an integral blocker for the school-record Aggie rushing attack, and nationally-ranked total offense. He had a season-best three catches for 25 yards in the season opener against Auburn. Lloyd caught his lone TD of the season in the win against Wyoming, one of nine Aggies to catch a TD pass so far this season. He also had a blocked field attempt against San Jose State as time expired to preserve the Aggies' win on Nov. 12.
For the first time since 1979, Utah State football has seven regular-season wins as the navy Aggies won another thriller with a 24-21 win over New Mexico State Saturday afternoon at Las Cruces, N.M. The win improves USU to 7-5 overall on the season, the first time that seven wins have been in USU's win column in a season since 1993, when the seventh victory was the Aggies' win in the Humanitarian Bowl. It is the first seven-win regular season for Utah State since 1979, and just the 21st time in 113 seasons of football of having at least seven wins.
It was also USU's fifth WAC win of the season, the Aggies' most victories in their seven years in the league. It is Utah State's best conference mark since a 4-1 Big West record in 2000 and first five conference win season for USU since 1993.
Saturday was Utah State's fifth win in a row overall, including third-straight road win, the first three-game win streak away from home, winning the last two road games of the regular-season and the Las Vegas Bowl. It is the Aggies' first three-game true road game win streak since 1989. The five-game win streak overall is the most wins in a row since 1993, as 2011 is looking more and more identical to that bowl-winning season, as the 1993 squad won its last five games of the regular-season, and capped its six-game win streak with the Las Vegas Bowl victory.
The Aggies will be making their first bowl appearance since 1997 when they face Ohio University from the Mid-American Conference in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 3:30 p.m. (MT) at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho, announced Sunday afternoon by the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is the second game of the entire bowl calendar and the only one in its timeslot. The Bowl will be telecast nationally on ESPN and broadcast on ESPN Radio. Five of the previous seven games have been decided on the last drive, with an average score of 38-25 over the past 14 Bowls.
For more Aggie Football Famous Idaho Potato Bowl ticket information, fans can contact the USU Ticket Office at 1-888-USTATE-1 (1-888-878-2831) or 435-797-0305, in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
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