IRVING, TX -

After helping East Carolina to a season-opening 35-13 victory over Appalachian State Saturday, sophomore inside linebacker Jeremy Grove was named the Conference USA Defensive Player-of-the-Week according to an announcement Monday by league officials.

It is the initial weekly league award of Grove's career as he became the first Pirate defender to win the honor since former cornerback Emanuel Davis was selected on Nov. 16, 2009.

Grove, who earned inclusion on four Freshman All-America squads in 2011, recorded nine tackles and a career-best two forced fumbles against the Mountaineers.

He played a key role accounting for the Pirates' first touchdown of the season by stripping ASU quarterback Jamal Jackson near midfield, resulting in a 45-yard fumble return by strong safety Chip Thompson. Grove followed by tallying the other forced fumble on the Mountaineers' next series.

Joining Grove as Conference USA honorees are offensive player-of-the-week Nathan Jeffery, a sophomore running back at UTEP, and special teams player-of-the-week Cameron Nwosu, Rice's junior linebacker.

Grove and the Pirates (1-0) return to action Saturday at 12:21 p.m., when they travel to Columbia to face No. 9 South Carolina (1-0).