College Sports

Belleville West grad keeps racking up yardage, honors at Wyoming

Wyoming running back and Belleville West graduate Brian Hill runs for a touchdown in the second half against Nevada on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes)
Wyoming running back and Belleville West graduate Brian Hill runs for a touchdown in the second half against Nevada on Saturday. (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes) AP

Belleville West graduate Brian Hill continues to rack up yardage and accolades at the University of Wyoming.

A career-high 289-yard rushing performance and three touchdowns Saturday in the Cowboys’ 42-34 road win over Nevada helped the junior running back earn Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.

That was the top rushing effort in the conference this season and the second-highest rushing performance in the nation in 2016. It also was the second-highest rushing day in Wyoming history.

Hill (6-foot-1, 219 pounds) is ranked second in the nation with 1,010 yards rushing and 144.3 yards per game. He has 1,010 yards rushing in seven games.

“Brian really showed his skill,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said Monday during his weekly news conference. “He’s got some great vision combined with speed. He was elusive, but I think the biggest thing was he was relentless. It was a phenomenal day ...you never want to make it an individual performance, but I think we need to note he was exceptional.”

Hill, considered a potential NFL prospect, is Wyoming’s all-time leading rusher with 3,437 yards in less than three full seasons. He also has 24 career touchdowns.

Hill averaged 10 yards on 29 carries and had touchdown runs of 56, 20 and two yards. Nine of his runs were for 10 more yards, including forays through the defense of 56, 41 and 39 yards. The 39-yard run set up the Cowboy’s game-winning touchdown.

According to Robert Gagliardi of Wyosports.net, Hill was playing with flu-like symptoms on Saturday.

Hill’s 302 all-purpose yards was the eighth-best total in the country this season.

This was Hill’s third Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week award. He also achieved the honor as a freshman against Fresno State and as a sophomore vs. UNLV.

Hill’s 39-yard run late in the fourth quarter took the ball down to the Nevada 10-yard line and set up what would be Wyoming’s winning TD run by quarterback Josh Allen three plays later.

Hill is on the Doak Walker Award watch list for the second straight season after being one of 11 semifinalists last season as a sophomore. The award is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate running back.

Wyoming (5-2) is 3-0 in Mountain West play for the first time in history. The Cowboys have one of the biggest home games in recent memory on Saturday against 13th-ranked Boise State (7-0, 3-0).

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders

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