WSU's Stone, Hicks get national notice

Sep. 13—Two national weekly awards, a player leaving the program, huge TV ratings, injury updates — a lot has happened in the couple days since the Cougars upset No. 19 Wisconsin on Saturday, some good, some bad.

Here's a look:

Stone named Nagurski, Pac-12 player of the week

WSU senior edge Ron Stone Jr.'s big defensive day against the Badgers didn't go unnoticed by national award givers.

Stone was named the Bronko Nagurski Trophy's national player of the week, the Football Writers Association of America announced Tuesday.

He was also named the Pac-12 Conference's defensive player and defensive lineman of the week.

Stone made five tackles including two sacks and two forced fumbles in the 31-22 win over Wisconsin, with one of the fumbles resulting in a defensive touchdown by fellow senior edge Brennan Jackson.

It was a play that is sure to show up on Cougar highlight reels for years to come.

Jackson is on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy preseason watch list and Stone will now join him on that list going forward. The award is presented annually to the best defensive player in college football.

"I'm proud of RJ because he's playing the way he needs to play," WSU coach Jake Dickert said. "RJ is a power player and he played with power and had some great moves."

Hicks named Bednarik defensive player of week

Stone wasn't the only Cougar to nab a national defensive honor.

Sophomore safety Jaden Hicks was named the Bednarik Award's defensive player of the week, the Maxwell Football Club announced Tuesday.

Hicks did a bit of everything in the Saturday win, collecting nine tackles (seven solo), a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and two passes defended. He was a big reason why the Cougars held the Badgers' potent rush offense to just 90 rushing yards.

The Las Vegas natives' biggest play came midway through the fourth quarter when he stripped Wisconsin running back Chez Mellusi, forcing a fumble that led to a Cougar touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Hicks was the highest-graded Power Five safety in Week 2, according to analytics organization PFF College.

The Chuck Bednarik Award is presented annually to the most outstanding defensive player in college football.

In other honor announcements, WSU wide receiver Lincoln Victor was named to the Paul Hornung Award's honor roll, an award that goes to the most versatile player in major college football. The winner will be announced in March.

Wide receiver DT Sheffield leaves program

Slot wide receiver DT Sheffield has left the team, Dickert announced.

The junior college transfer from Northwest Missouri Community College had four catches for 26 yards starting in the slot in WSU's first two games. He was one of the fastest players on the team.

Against Wisconsin, there was a pivotal play in the second half when Sheffield made contact with fellow wideout Kyle Williams on a pass intended for Williams that resulted in an incompletion.

Williams was noticeably upset with Sheffield after the play.

Dickert said senior transfer Isaiah Hamilton will back up Lincoln Victor at the slot position going forward.

"DT Sheffield has made a decision to leave the program," Dickert said. "That is his decision and his decision only and we'll continue to coach and be excited about the guys that are here on the team, and we're not going to flinch and keep moving forward."

WSU-Wisconsin game drew 2.28 million viewers

The WSU vs. Wisconsin game was the eighth-most-watched college football game of the weekend, according to a report by Sports Media Watch.

The game on ABC — WSU's first home game on the national network since its 2004 Apple Cup win — drew 2.28 million viewers.

The only Pac-12 team to beat out the Cougars was then-No. 13 Oregon in its game against Texas Tech. That game drew 2.55 million viewers on Fox.

The highest-rated game was No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 11 Texas with 8.76 million viewers on ESPN.

Training room

WSU edge Quinn Roff is "going to be out for a while" after suffering an undisclosed injury late against the Badgers.

Roff was down on the field for several minutes before walking off under his own power.

Dickert said Roff had an MRI and more information will be available at a later date.

The junior had 29 tackles, 7.5 tackles-for-loss with 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last season as is a primary backup for Stone and Jackson.

Quote of note

"Last year, unfortunately that win at Wisconsin kind of peaked our season. We want this to be the starting point of where we can go. And obviously we know how hard the Pac-12 is, so it's going to be a weekly challenge." — WSU coach Jake Dickert

Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2277, or on Twitter @StephanSports.