Nov. 1, 2004
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - University of New Mexico senior linebacker Nick Speegle was named Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week this morning, while senior kicker Wes Zunker earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors for the second time this season and third time in his career. A strong all-MWC candidate, Speegle was selected for the first time in his career and is the second straight Lobo to earn Defensive P.O.W. honors. Utah quarterback Alex Smith was named Offensive Player of the Week, while Wyoming safety John Wendling shared defensive honors.
Speegle is the fifth first time honoree for the Lobos this year, joining safety Josh Bazinet (vs. Texas Tech), quarterback Kole McKamey (vs. Texas Tech), punter Tyler Gaus (vs. UNLV) and defensive end Evroy Thompson (vs. San Diego State). Zunker, meanwhile, is the first repeat winner for the Lobos this season and the first UNM placekicker ever to earn Player of the Week honors three times in his career.
Zunker tied a career-high with four field goals at Colorado State, including a 50-yard kick to give UNM a more comfortable 26-17 lead with 3:26 left in the game. The final field goal was his second from 50 yards or more in his career, but first since booting a 51-yarder versus UTEP on the first attempt of his career as a true freshman in 2001. Zunker is just the third Lobo to make two or more field goals from at least 50 yards in a career (2-3), joining Rick Walsh (3) and Jason Bloom (3). Zunker's five attempts against CSU, including a missed 48-yarder, were also a career-high. It was his second multiple field goal game of the season and sixth of his career. Zunker also converted from 46, 21, and 30 yards out. The New Braunfels, Texas native moved into fourth place on UNM's all-time list with 29 career field goals and ranks No. 3 at UNM with a career accuracy of 74.3% (29-39).
Speegle had eight tackles (seven solo), including two stops for eight yards in losses and a pass deflection on third down in the Lobos' 26-17 victory at CSU. Speegle's effort helped UNM hold the Rams to their lowest rushing total (35 yards) in five years. The Albuquerque La Cueva product continues to lead the team in tackles (71) and tackles for loss (11). A starter 40 times in his Lobo career, including 39 straight, Speegle now has 296 tackles at UNM which is good for 18th place on the all-time list.
New Mexico athletes have earned the MWC player of the week awards six times through nine games this season, matching the team's 12-game total of a year ago. UNM earned player of the week honors seven times in 2001, its highest number since joining the Mountain West in 1999. Speegle is the tenth defensive player to win the P.O.W award under seventh-year head coach Rocky Long. UNM has won the MWC's Defensive Player of the Week award 14 times since 1999.