Giza and Nelson Earn Third Team All-West Region Honors

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University football players Tyson Giza (Sr., CB, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) and Jack Nelson (Jr., ILB, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS) have been named All-West Region by D3football.com for the 2013 season. Giza was named to the Third Team as a kick return specialist on offense and as a cornerback on defense. Nelson was chosen for the Third Team as a linebacker on defense.

Overall, 77 players were named to fill 79 spots on the All-West Region Team. There were 26 spots on the First Team, with 26 more on the second team and 27 on the Third Team.

Giza was one of just two players selected at more than one position. Hakeem Bourne-McFarlane from Augsburg College (Minn.) was named to the First Team as a kick return specialist and to the Third Team as a safety.

Since 2005, when D3football.com began choosing All-Region teams, the Bearcats have been represented by 17 players earning 21 All-Region honors. The 2013 All-West Region Team was selected by sports information directors at colleges and universities in the West Region along with the D3football.com staff. A total of 202 nominations were received.

Willamette finished the 2013 season with a 7-2 overall record, including 4-2 in the Northwest Conference (3rd place). The Bearcats were ranked #25 in the final regular season NCAA Division III Coaches Poll released by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).

Head Coach Glen Fowles, in his second season leading the Bearcats, advanced his record to 15-4 (.789). The Bearcats averaged 41.1 points and 471.9 yards per game, while forcing opponents into 21 turnovers and earning 27 sacks on defense.

Third Team All-West Region

Tyson Giza Tyson Giza (Sr., CB) was named First Team All-NWC at defensive back and kick returner this season. He previously earned Second Team All-NWC honors at defensive back in 2012 and was an Honorable Mention selection in 2011.

Giza returned 20 kickoffs a total of 573 yards to rank 17th in NCAA Division III and first in the NWC with 28.7 yards per return. He scored touchdowns on an 85-yard kickoff return versus Hardin-Simmons University and an 84-yard kickoff return against Pacific Lutheran University. He also gained an average of 9.7 yards on seven punt returns.

Overall, he achieved 641 return yards and 840 all-purpose yards. His all-purpose yardage included 129 yards – and a 45-yard touchdown -- on six catches as a wide receiver in his final game. He played on offense, defense and special teams against the University of Puget Sound on Nov. 16.

During his Willamette career, Giza gained a school record 1,537 kickoff return yards. He broke the previous record of 1,348 set by Jose Green ('11) from 2007-10.

On defense, Giza earned 42 total tackles this season, including 33 unassisted. He concluded his career with 110 total tackles on 77 solo tackles and 33 assists.

He led the Bearcats and ranked second in the NWC with four interceptions this fall, which he returned a total of 70 yards. He also led Willamette with 11 pass break-ups.

Among all players on the 242 teams in NCAA Division III, Giza ranked 13th in passes defended per game with 15 in nine games (1.7 avg.).

Giza finished his career with 13 interceptions and 24 pass break-ups in 37 games played. He recovered two fumbles, forced a fumble and blocked a kick.

Jack Nelson Jack Nelson (Jr., ILB) was named First Team All-NWC for the second season in a row. He also received First Team Capital One Academic All-District recognition for his success on the field and in the classroom.

Nelson led the NWC in defensive plays this season, as he achieved 112 total tackles, on 67 solo stops and 45 assists. He ranked seventh in NCAA Division III in solo tackles per game (7.4 avg.) and was ninth in the nation in total tackles per game (12.4 avg.).

He tied for the team lead with 9.5 tackles for loss (37 yards), including 2.5 quarterback sacks (21 yards). He also intercepted two passes, broke up two passes, recovered two fumbles and forced a fumble.

During the season, Nelson recorded at least 10 tackles in all nine games. He registered 15 tackles against nationally-ranked Linfield College and contributed 14 tackles in each of three other games.

He has been a team leader since moving into a starting role midway through his sophomore season. He provided the Bearcats with a career-high 19 total tackles against Lewis & Clark College on Oct. 13, 2012. He has reached double-digit tackles 12 times in the past 15 games. He has earned NWC Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week honors three times.

Nelson has accumulated 211 total tackles in his career on 128 unassisted stops and 83 assists. He has achieved 16.0 tackles for loss and 6.0 quarterback sacks, while intercepting three passes and breaking up six passes.

COMPLETE LIST

D3football.com
2013 All-West Region
Football Team

Senior cornerback Tyson Giza averaged 28.7 yards per kickoff return to rank 17th in NCAA Division III this season. He also intercepted four passes and earned 11 pass break-ups.

Senior cornerback Tyson Giza averaged 28.7 yards per kickoff return to rank 17th in NCAA Division III this season. He also intercepted four passes and earned 11 pass break-ups.

Junior linebacker Jack Nelson recorded 112 total tackles in 2013, including 67 unassisted stops. He ranked 9th in NCAA Division III in total tackles per game.

Junior linebacker Jack Nelson recorded 112 total tackles in 2013, including 67 unassisted stops. He ranked 9th in NCAA Division III in total tackles per game.