IRVING, Texas - After playing a key role securing East Carolina's 28-18 victory over UTEP Saturday, junior strong safety Chip Thompson was named Conference USA Defensive Player-of-the-Week according to an announcement Monday by league officials.
It is the initial weekly league award of Thompson's career and the third for a Pirate defender this season after inside linebacker Jeremy Grove and outside linebacker Montese Overton were cited for their play following the Appalachian State and Southern Miss contests, respectively.
Thompson tallied eight tackles, netted two fourth quarter interceptions and recorded another pass breakup to spark a Pirates' defensive unit that surrendered only 10 points. He halted a potential Miner scoring drive at the ECU 18-yard line by picking off a Nick Lamaison pass with 11:16 remaining before adding another pass theft at the UTEP 45-yard line and returning it 22 yards to set up a game-securing touchdown with 4:54 left. Of Thompson’s eight tackles, four were solo stops. Additionally, his pair of interceptions were the first by a Pirate in the same game since Van Eskridge picked off Houston quarterback Case Keenum twice in the 2009 Conference USA Championship Game (Dec. 5) – a span of 31 games.
Joining Thompson as Conference USA honorees are offensive player-of-the-week Tommy Shuler, a sophomore wide receiver at Marshall, and special teams player-of-the-week Autrey Golden, UTEP's freshman kickoff returner.
Thompson and the Pirates (3-2, 2-0 C-USA) return to action Thursday at 8:00 p.m., when they travel to Orlando to face UCF (2-2, 0-0). The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network with Dave Ryan, Doug Chapman and Evan Washburn calling the action from Bright House Networks Stadium.