Dec. 8, 2008
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TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona’s Mike Thomas has been named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week following last Saturday’s win over Arizona State, 31-10, the league office announced today.
Thomas, a senior playing in his final game in Arizona Stadium, electrified the sixth-largest crowd in Arizona Stadium history with a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown. The return, Thomas’ second for a score this season, capped a 21-point third quarter for the Wildcats, who trailed 10-7 at halftime. It marked the fifth time this season that the Wildcats scored 21 or more points in a quarter.
A native of DeSoto, Texas, Thomas added nine receptions for 75 yards in the game in addition to his big punt return. He stands No. 2 all-time in the Pac-10 for career receptions with 255, trailing only former ASU receiver Derek Hagan who caught 258 passes in his career.
The Wildcats will play Brigham young University on Dec. 20 in the Pioneer Las Vegas bowl, which will mark the school’s first postseason appearance since 1998 when it defeated Nebraska, 23-20, in the Holiday Bowl. The game will allow Thomas one more opportunity to take over the career mark in receptions in the Pac-10, as bowl games now count in team and individual statistics – something that was not the case the last time UA played in a bowl.
Thomas was named Pac-10 Special Teams player of the week earlier this season as the Wildcats defeated UCLA in Los Angeles, 31-10.
The special teams honor is the third for the Wildcats this season, as Keola Antolin also won the award following UA’s 41-16 win over Toledo in the second game of the season. Antolin also picked up Offensive Player of the Week honors for his 143-yard rushing effort against California, and Corey Hall earned Defensive Player of the Week honors following his outstanding performance at UCLA.