Nov. 23, 2009
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - University of New Mexico sophomore James Aho has been named Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week the league announced this morning. Aho converted all three field goal attempts, including the 27-yard game winner with 12 seconds left to play, in the Lobos' thrilling 29-27 victory over Colorado State at University Stadium on Saturday. It's his third career Athlete of the Week award, but first for UNM this season.
Aho's performance came one week after he missed a career-worst three field goals - two off the upright and one blocked - in a narrow 24-19 loss to No. 22 BYU at University Stadium. The Roswell, N.M. product redeemed himself, however, with a clutch performance against the Rams.
Two of his field goals came in the final 11 minutes of the game after CSU had taken a 27-23 lead. In addition to the game-winner, he also hit a 37-yarder to bring the Lobos to within one with 10:19 to play.
Aho became the third Lobo kicker in the last four years and fourth since 2003 to defeat Colorado State with a field goal in the final seconds.
Junior Wes Zunker hit a 33-yarder as time expired to give the Lobos' a 37-34 victory at University Stadium in 2003. Senior Kenny Byrd was also good from 33 yards on the final play to propel UNM to a 20-19 win in Fort Collins in 2006 and senior John Sullivan downed the Rams the following year in Albuquerque with a 43-yarder as time ran out in a 26-23 victory.
Aho also earned a "Helmet Sticker" from ESPN.com blogger Graham Watson for his performance. He was named MWC Special Teams Player of the Week twice last fall for his effort in Lobo victories over Arizona and New Mexico State.
BYU quarterback Max Hall and Utah safety Joe Dale earned Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week honors, respectively. Hall threw of 377 and five touchdowns in a 38-21 win over Air Force, while Dale had five solo tackles and a 30-yard interception return for a score against San Diego State.