TYLER HORN, DEFENSIVE END
Horn drew his first career start last week with Demarcus Lawrence suspended. It was a chance for Horn, who plays about half the snaps as a backup, to step into the spotlight and show how far his game has come since a quiet true freshman season in 2011.
Horn has 12 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery this season. He recorded his second sack last week. He made seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks last year.
That freshman year, especially in that D-line, things can be kind of tough, coach Chris Petersen said. Hes starting to take the next step in terms of details and actually getting off of blocks and chasing the quarterback.
Said Horn: I just feel more confident in what Im doing. Thats helping me play faster.
JAMAR TAYLOR, CORNERBACK
Taylor has built a case for the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year award. Hes second on the team with 39 tackles, tied for first with three forced fumbles, tied for first with two interceptions, first with four pass breakups and tied for third with two sacks.
Hes done all that as one of the leaders of the leagues best defense.
Before the season, new defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake chided Taylor over his turnover production three interceptions and three forced fumbles in three seasons. Taylor nearly has matched that total in seven games.
I wish I had more interceptions, Taylor said, but Ill take it.
Two of his forced fumbles have come on sacks.
If we see the quarterback with the ball high, were definitely just trying to get it out, he said.
JOE KELLOGG, LEFT GUARD
Kellogg made a simple but lofty preseason goal. He wanted to stay healthy.
He missed the Sept. 20 game against BYU and came off the bench the next week against New Mexico.
Hes expected to make his 28th start Saturday second-most on the team.
It was a pretty tough goal to achieve in the first place, but I try to set those goals high, he said, with the usual post-practice ice on his knees. Hes part of a line that has bounced back from a rough start to produce 4.4 yards per carry while allowing four sacks.
We continue to get better every week, Kellogg said. (Offensive line coach Chris Strausser) has a very high expectation for us and we have yet to reach that. If we continue to practice hard like we have the last couple weeks well ... be that offensive line we know we can be.