woodward

Utah State linebacker David Woodward tackles Stony Brook quarterback Tyquell Fields during a game earlier this season. Woodward was one of three Aggies to garner first-team all-conference honors.

There’s no doubt the loss of standout linebacker David Woodward to a season-ending injury was a huge blow for the Utah State football team.

That did not go unnoticed by those who select the all-Mountain West teams.

Despite missing five games during the 2019 campaign, Woodward was still awarded a spot on the all-MW first team. The all-conference teams were announced Wednesday afternoon and Woodward, plus Aggie teammates Dominik Eberle (kicker) and Savon Scarver (kickoff returner), were named to the first team.

A total of 10 Aggies received all-Mountain West recognition. Tipa Galeai (defensive end) and Siaosi Mariner (wide receiver) were second-team all-league selections, while Christopher ‘Unga (defensive tackle), Jordan Love (quarterback), Gerold Bright (running back), Caleb Repp (tight end) and Shaq Bond (safety) were tabbed honorable mention all-MW honorees.

This is the third straight season Eberle has garnered all-Mountain West accolades, while Scarver, Galeai, Unga, Love and Woodward have been honored in back-to-back seasons. Additionally, Eberle and Scarver are the 37th and 38th players in program history to be selected to an all-conference first team twice. Eberle was a first-team all-MW selection as a sophomore and a honorable mention honoree as a junior.

Mountain Division champion Boise State led the way with 19 all-Mountain West honorees, while Air Force and San Diego State were tied for second with 14 each. West Division titleist Hawaii had 11 athletes secure all-MW accolades, and the Warriors were followed by USU, Wyoming (eight), San Jose State (seven), Colorado State (six), Fresno State (six), Nevada (six) and New Mexico (five).

Even though he was sidelined the final five games of the regular season, Woodward is still USU’s leading tackler with 93, which ranks 11th in the Mountain West. The junior is still tied with Fresno State linebacker Justin Rice for the top position in the league with four forced fumbles. Woodward, a second-team all-league pick as a sophomore, returned one of those fumbles for a touchdown against Colorado State.

This is the second consecutive season Scarver has occupied the top spot in the MW in kickoff return average (29.3 yards) and kickoff return touchdowns (two). Both of the junior’s kickoff returns to the house took place against Mountain West opposition (Colorado State and Nevada).

Eberle is currently tied with SJSU kicker Matt Mecurio for first place in the conference with 97 points. The senior has split the uprights on 19 of 22 field goal attempts this season and has been successful on all 40 of his PATs. Eberle, a three-time all-MW Special Teams Player of the Week in 2019, has never missed an extra point during his collegiate career and is USU’s career record-holder in field goals (62), field goals of 50 or more yards (four) and points (348).

Galeai leads the Aggies in sacks (5.0), tackles for loss (8.5) and quarterback hurries (7.0). The two-time second-team all-MW recipient is tied for fifth in the league in sacks. Galeai has made 48 tackles in ‘19 and has also recovered a fumble.

Mariner is USU’s leaders in receptions (56), receiving yards (874) and receiving TDs (eight) this season. The University of Utah graduate transfer ranks third in the Mountain West in receiving TDs and is fourth in receiving yards an outing (72.8).

Bright has carried the ball 161 times for a team-high 827 yards and eight touchdowns in ‘19. The senior ranks seventh in the conference in rushing TDs, and has also hauled in 31 receptions for 207 yards and a TD this season.

Only one tight end in the MW has more receptions and receiving yards than Repp’s 36 and 455. The Utah graduate transfer is also tied for the No. 1 spot among tight end with his four TDs.

Love currently holds down the No. 3 position in the MW and is 26th nationally with his 257.1 yards passing per game. The junior, an all-conference second-team selection a year ago, has completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 3,085 yards, 17 TDs and 16 interceptions.

Bond is USU’s leader in INTs with three, and he also ranks fourth on the squad in tackles (75) and passes broken up (five). The junior scored on his interception against San Diego State.

‘Unga, who was also a honorable mention honoree last year, led all Aggie defensive tackles with 43 tackles. The senior has chipped in with 2.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and recovered a fumble, to boot.

Of the five Mountain West specialty awards, three went to Boise State players in defensive end Curtis Weaver (Defensive Player of the Year), Avery Williams (Special Teams POTY) and George Holani (Freshman of the Year). San Jose State signal caller Josh Love was the league’s Offensive POTY, while Hawaii’s Nick Rolovich was the Coach of the Year.

Weaver led the Mountain West in sacks (13.5) and tackles for loss (17.0), and he ranks fifth among all FBS players in both categories. The junior, the MW’s career sacks leader, has also chipped in with 47 tackles, one forced fumble and one INT this season.

Williams has been a huge special teams weapon for the Broncos this year. The junior brought back punts for TDs against USU and SJSU and returned an on-side kick to the house against UNLV. Williams has also blocked a pair of kicks.

Holani, a true freshman, ranks third in the Mountain West in rushing yards (912) and fourth in rushing yards an outing (76.0). Holani has found paydirt nine times in ’19.

Josh Love had a breakout season for the Spartans, who won three more games than they did a year ago. The senior ranks third nationally in passing yards (3,923) and passing yards per game (326.9). He completed 60.8 percent of his passes and tossed 22 TDs, vs. eight INTs.

Rolovich helped propel Hawaii to the West Division title and a 9-4 regular season record. The Warriors beat Pac-12 Conference teams Arizona and Oregon State, plus a nine-win SDSU squad. He is the first Hawaii coach to receive this award.

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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