Giza Chosen as NWC Special Teams Student-Athlete of the Week

Blocks Punt, Returns Kickoff for Touchdown Against PLU

By Timothy Walsh, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University's Tyson Giza (Sr., CB, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) has been named the Northwest Conference Football Special Teams Student-Athlete of the Week for his efforts in the Bearcats' 35-24 loss to Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Oct. 26.

Giza blocked a punt in the third quarter and returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to keep the Bearcats in the game.

On the blocked punt, Giza burst through the center of PLU's line, taking the ball nearly off Lutes punter James Swinyard's foot.

The ball traveled nearly straight backwards, and was recovered on the run by a Willamette player at the PLU 10-yard line. However, the ball was knocked out of his hands as he reached the end zone, and the play was ruled a touchback for the Lutes.

Had the play been ruled a touchdown before the fumble, the Bearcats would have pulled with 28-16 prior to an extra point with 6:12 left in the third quarter.

With 10:20 remaining in the fourth quarter and Willamette trailing 35-17, Giza came up with yet another big play.

Fielding Nick Kaylor's kickoff on the near hash mark, Giza advanced to the 22-yard line before cutting across the field to his left. Just after passing the far side hash marks, he turned upfield, evaded one tackle, and then simply outran three PLU defenders to the end zone.

Overall, Giza returned three kickoffs for a total of 123 yards while achieving three tackles and recovering one fumble on defense.

Willamette, which is currently ranked #25 nationally by D3football.com, will host archrival Linfield College this Saturday at McCulloch Stadium. Kickoff against the Wildcats is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (PDT).

Senior Tyson Giza blocked a punt and returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown in Willamette's 35-24 loss to Pacific Lutheran.

Senior Tyson Giza blocked a punt and returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown in Willamette's 35-24 loss to Pacific Lutheran.