HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) – Marquese Wheaton, a Southern Miss senior defensive back from Phoenix, Ariz., has garnered the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week award in a voting of media that covers league schools and released Monday morning.
Wheaton recorded five tackles (four solos) including a half tackle for loss, a pass breakup and two fourth-quarter interceptions in Southern Miss' 27-3 win over SMU that vaulted the Golden Eagles into the Top 25.
The first interception was notched in the end zone, which thwarted a Mustangs drive in the red zone and then the second one came halfway through the final quarter as he stepped in front of a J.J. McDermott pass in the flat and went 41 yards for his first touchdown via an interception.
It was the third straight game that he has registered a non-offensive touchdown as he collected a 75-yard fumble return against Rice and a 79-yard blocked field goal return against Navy. It marked the first time a Southern Miss player intercepted two passes in a game since Justin Wilson had two against Marshall on Nov. 14, 2009.
Wheaton is the first C-USA Player to win Player of the Week awards in two different categories in the same season since Houston WR/KR Donnie Avery won an Offensive Player of the week honor and a Special Teams Player of the Week honor in 2007.
For the season, the Golden Eagles have garnered six C-USA Player of the Week awards, the most since 2004 when the Black and Gold won nine times.
Joining Wheaton among the weekly winners was East Carolina senior quarterback Dominique Davis and UAB freshman kicker Ty Long, which captured the offensive and special teams awards, respectively.