Utah State LB Kyler Fackrell gets Mountain West weekly honors
Logan • Looking back at the tape of his 99-yard interception return, Kyler Fackrell took really just one observation out of it.
"I saw me just losing gas a little bit in the last 30 yards," he quipped Monday morning. "But it was an awesome effort from the whole defense. I had a whole crowd of guys looking to block for me, and I just had to make the one cut and run as fast as I could."
The third-quarter touchdown, one of the longest in school history, was the crown jewel of Fackrell's game in Saturday's 47-10 win over Hawaii. The sophomore linebacker earned Defender of the Week honors from the Mountain West for his performance.
Fackrell also had nine tackles and half a tackle for a loss against the Rainbow Warriors, but his conference nod is a tribute to his effort on one outstanding individual play. After Utah State turned the ball over and let Hawaii get inside the five yard line on the return, Fackrell snatched a game-changing play from the Warriors for a SportsCenter-worthy highlight.
Detailing the play, Fackrell said he was playing his responsibility on the running back, and when he saw the ball come out of the quarterback's hand high, he leapt up for the grab. It was the third pick of the day in a particularly plucky defensive effort.
On Saturday, Darell Garretson, who threw the initial pick to Hawaii, said it felt like "a 300-pound weight coming off my shoulders." On Monday, lineman Tyler Larsen said he found the play as shocking as Hawaii did.
"I don't even know how that happened. I was sitting with the O-line and we were talking about the previous drive we had. All of a sudden, I look up, and Fackrell's at the 50 yardline and no one's around him. I didn't know he had that much speed."
Coach Matt Wells called it the finishing move of the game.
"We always say around here, 'Players make plays,' and he made a huge one," Wells said. "It shifted momentum. It was checkmate. I thought the game was over at that point."
Fackrell scored his first career defensive touchdown of his career, but he's also caught a touchdown pass this season. It's believed to be the first time a Utah State player has scored both an offensive and defensive touchdown in 49 years.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon