PULLMAN – Just two starts into his Washington State career, redshirt freshman linebacker Jahad Woods already has the distinction of being named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.
Woods was recognized by the conference for his play in the Cougars’ 30-27 upset of No. 5 USC, as was kicker Erik Powell. Powell was named the Pac-12’s Special Teams Player of the Week Monday afternoon.
It’s the first honor for both players and the first time since 2003 that WSU has claimed multiple conference awards in the same week. Erik Coleman was both the Defensive Player of the Week and Special Teams Player of the week following a win over No. 12 UCLA 14 years ago.
Woods tackled the Trojans more than any other Cougar Friday night at Martin Stadium, recording a team-high nine takedowns. His most timely tackle came with less than a minute to play in the fourth quarter when Woods pulled down USC quarterback Sam Darnold in the backfield and forced the ball out of Darnold’s hand. Derek Moore recovered the fumble to seal the win.
“Well he’s a real physical guy and he’s more physical than you think,” Leach said of Woods. “… Has always just hit a ton. If he hits something it just flies and I think that’s just something natural he’s able to do. Because there’s guys bigger than him that can’t hit things and make them move as dramatically as Jahad can.”
Powell was 3-for-3 on field goals, making a 42-yarder, a 33-yarder and a decisive 32-yarder in the fourth quarter. The senior has made eight kicks this season and his only miss was blocked by Oregon State.
“Well, he’s got a real strong leg,” Leach said. “And then he kicks off beside, and then he punts some. So he’s like the most versatile kicker in the conference, I think.”
Woods is the Cougars’ second DPOW honoree this season. Peyton Pelluer earned the award after the win over Boise State. Luke Falk was named Offensive Player of the Week after the Oregon State game.