Groce Named SBC Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week

By NU Athletic Communications
Photo by None

Dallas, Texas -- Nebraska cornerback and punt returner DeJuan Groce was selected as the SBC Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against Missouri on Saturday.

It was the fifth Big 12 Player of the Week award for the Huskers and the third time Groce has been honored this season. He was also named the special teams player of the week following his two punt returns for touchdowns against Troy State, while being tabbed as the defensive player of the week for his performance against Utah State.

Groce is the second Husker to earn Big 12 POW honors three times in one season, joining quarterback Eric Crouch, who was named offensive player of the week three times in 2001. It also marked the second straight year Groce has been named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against Missouri.

Colorado running back Chris Brown and Oklahoma running back Quentin Griffin were selected as co-offensive players of the week, while Iowa State?s Matt Word was tabbed as the defensive player of the week.

Groce returned his third punt for a touchdown this season with an 89-yard romp in the third quarter of the Huskers? 24-13 win over Missouri. The touchdown was the third-longest punt return in NU history and the second of 89 yards or more in the past three seasons against Missouri. Bobby Newcombe set a school record against the Tigers in 2000 with a 94-yard punt return.

Groce?s three punt return touchdowns this season ties NU?s school record, set by Johnny Rodgers in 1971, and is just one shy of the NCAA record of four that is held by eight players. With his 114 punt return yards on Saturday, Groce moved into second place on the NU charts with 885 career yards. He trails only Rodgers? 1,515 yards from 1970 to 1972 in Husker annals. Groce also had four tackles, including one for a two-yard loss.

Griffin rushed for 248 yards on 32 carries and a touchdown in Oklahoma?s 35-24 win over Texas. He also had one catch for three yards, earning him The Sporting News National Offensive Player of the Week. Brown, who leads the nation in rushing with 987 yards, carried 25 times for 309 yards and two touchdowns in the Buffs? 53-29 win over Kansas. It was the third-best single-game rushing day in Colorado football history.

ISU?s Word made 17 total tackles, including two TFLs and a forced fumble in the Cyclones? win. The Iowa State linebacker topped his career high of 14 stops in 2001 against Ohio and helped ISU move to ninth in this week?s Associated Press poll.


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