(UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. – The play of Wyoming junior strong safety Andrew Wingard in a 28-21 overtime win over Hawai’i last Saturday was recognized by the Mountain West Conference on Monday as he was named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Week. It is Wingard’s first MW Player of the Week honor this season and the second of his career.
Wingard had nine tackles in the win over the Rainbow Warriors, including six solo tackles, one tackle for a loss for a minus four yards, one interception for 22 yards and two pass breakups
He was the leader of a Cowboy defense that was critical in Wyoming capturing the 28-21 overtime win and starting conference play off with a victory.
Wingard had a huge impact in making key plays in defending both the Hawai’i running and passing games. His biggest play of the game came in the third quarter when he forced the first Hawai’i turnover of the game. Wingard intercepted a Hawai’i pass on the Cowboys’ own two-yard line to end a key scoring threat for the Rainbow Warriors. Hawai’i had driven 62 yards in 10 plays and had a first-and-goal at the Wyoming seven-yard line when Wingard made the interception. He returned it 22 yards to the Wyoming 24. That preserved a 7-7 tie at the time.
He also broke up two other passes, including one with less than four minutes to play in the fourth quarter when it appeared that Hawai’i quarterback Dru Brown had completed a pass to wide receiver Dylan Collie, but Wingard’s hit on Collie knocked the ball loose for an incomplete pass.
Wingard’s contributions in defending the run were also key, and included tackles for gains of only 1, 3, 4 and a -4 yards on four of his nine tackles on the day.
Prior to the start of the 2017 season, Wingard was voted by conference media members as the 2017 Preseason Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. He earned First Team All-Mountain West honors as a sophomore in 2016 in voting by conference head coaches and media. A native of Arvada, Colo., Wingard played at Ralston Valley High School.