HOUSTON – Houston’s D.J. Hayden was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week the league announced Monday. The honor comes after Hayden picked off two passes, including one that he returned 97 yards for a touchdown, in Houston’s 45-35 win Saturday over UTEP.
Monday’s honor marked the fifth Conference Player of the Week honor for the Houston program this season. David Piland and Charles Sims have previously received offensive honors, while Phillip Steward also earned a defensive honor and Matt Hogan was named the special teams player of the week on Oct. 15.
Houston’s five player of the week honors from the conference ties East Carolina for the most in the league this season.
One week after recording a pick-six against SMU, Hayden ended a pivotal UTEP drive with his 97-yard return to put Houston up 28-7. The return was Hayden’s second pick of the game after he ended UTEP’s third drive on just one play, picking off Nick Lamaison on Houston’s39-yard line. The Cougar offense would turn the interception around into a touchdown and an early 14-0 lead.
Hayden also finished with four tackles and one pass break up.
Hayden and the rest of the Cougars return to action this Saturday when they travel to Greenville, N.C., to face East Carolina at 11 a.m.
The game will be televised by FSN.