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Vizzi, Whittaker Earn National & Conference Awards

Tim Vizzi (pictured) and J.J. Whittaker each picked up national and conference weekly awards on Monday.
Tim Vizzi (pictured) and J.J. Whittaker each picked up national and conference weekly awards on Monday.

Nov. 25, 2013

SAN DIEGO - San Diego State football players Tim Vizzi (Moorpark, Calif./Ventura College) and J.J. Whittaker (Oceanside, Calif./Oceanside HS) have each been named Mountain West Players of the Week, the league announced today. Vizzi was chosen as the MW Special Teams Player of the Week, while Whittaker was picked as the MW Defensive Player of the Week.

Additionally, Vizzi was named the national CFPA Punt Returner of the Week and Whittaker an honorable mention CFPA Defensive Back of the Week.

A senior, Vizzi returned one punt for a 41-yard touchdown in the Aztecs' 34-31 victory over Boise State on Saturday night. The touchdown tied the game at 28-28 with just 4:04 left in the fourth quarter, forcing overtime. The punt return for a touchdown was the first by an SDSU player since Kyle Conerly had an 87-yard return vs. UNLV on Oct. 26, 2002. Vizzi also added a 16-yard catch on offense.

On the season, Vizzi has returned 13 punts for 116 yards (8.9 avg.) and a touchdown. He also has 14 receptions for 256 yards (18.3 avg.), a 5-yard rushing touchdown and four kick returns for 58 yards.

Whittaker, a junior, finished with two tackles, two pass breakups and two interceptions, including one for a touchdown, in the win on Saturday. The 18-yard interception return for a touchdown tied the game at 21-21 and was the first score of the fourth quarter. The two interceptions in a single game are tied for a league high this season and the fourth most in the nation. He became the first San Diego State player with two interceptions in a game since Derek Largent had two against Colorado State on Oct. 12, 2012 and the first Aztec with an interception returned for a touchdown since both Leon McFadden and Eric Pinkins had one apiece at Fresno State on Sept. 29, 2012.

For the season, Whittaker has 31 tackles (23 solo), three interceptions, 11 pass breakups, a forced fumble and a tackle for loss. He ranks in a tie for third in the MW and 20th in the nation with 1.27 passes defended per game and tied for eighth in the league with 0.27 interceptions per contest.

Winners of four consecutive games, seven of the past eight and eight straight in November, the Aztecs (7-4, 6-1 MW) travel to UNLV (6-5, 4-3 MW) on Saturday (Nov. 30) for a West Division showdown. The game is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU, The Mighty 1090 and 105.7 The Walrus.