LOGAN, Utah – Justin Rice’s dominant effort in Utah State’s 49-45 Mountain West-opening win at Air Force has earned him Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week honors, it was announced Monday by the conference office.
This is the second time this season, including second week in a row, and third time in his career that the graduate senior inside linebacker from Modesto, California, has won the MW weekly award. Overall, this is Utah State’s third weekly honor of the season and its 37th in its ninth season in the league.
For his career, Rice has now been named the Defensive Player of the Week in his conference four times, as he was honored by the Sun Belt in 2020.
In the Aggies’ come-from-behind victory against the Falcons, Rice posted his first double-digit tackle outing of the season and the 11th of his career with a career-high-tying 14 tackles, including 2.0 tackles for loss, to go along with an interception and forced fumble.
Rice’s interception was in the end zone and led to a USU touchdown, while his forced fumble was on the Falcons’ last drive of the game to secure the win. For Rice, he is the first Aggie to have interceptions in back-to-back games since DJ Williams in 2018.
Rice and the Aggies (3-0, 1-0 MW) return to action this weekend when they welcome Mountain Division-rival Boise State (1-2, 0-0 MW) to Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 10 a.m. The game will be nationally televised on CBS.
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