2018 Mountain West Awards
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JEFFREY ALLISON, FRESNO STATE
Allison had a break-out year in 2017, emerging as one of the key players in Fresno State’s dramatic turnaround with 126 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss in 2017, two sacks and two forced fumbles.
He followed that performance by becoming the Mountain West Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year this fall, leading the Bulldogs to their first conference championship since 2013 with 132 tackles, six tackles for loss and two interceptions.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: BRETT RYPIEN, BOISE STATE
Rypein etched his name into the Mountain West history books in 2018, becoming the conference’s all-time leader in passing yards (13,456), completions (1,021), and 300-yard games (21). He eclipsed San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley’s (2008-11) yardage and completion marks of 12,690 and 961, respectively, on Nov. 9 against Fresno State, and passed BYU’s Max Hall for most 300-yard performances Nov. 24 against Utah State.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: COOPER ROTHE, WYOMING
Rothe, the reigning MW Special Teams Player of the Week, leads the nation in field-goal percentage (94.1) and point-after percentage (100.0). Rothe made his first 15 field goals this season and 18 in a row dating back to last season — the longest streak in the nation at the time — before his lone miss against San Jose State on Nov. 3.
A Lou Groza Award finalist, Rothe has connected on 88.6 percent of his field goals (31 of 35) over the last two seasons. He is the first Wyoming player to win either an offensive, defensive or special teams postseason player of the year award since the Mountain West began in 1999.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: TOA TAUA, NEVADA
In the Mountain West, Taua led all freshmen in total rushing yards and rushing yards per game (68.0) and is ranked fifth in the league in rushing yards per carry (5.23) among all classes.
Taua is tied for fifth on the team with 20 receptions for 194 yards and a touchdown. The former Brave also completed four passes for 93 yards on the season, including a 73-yard touchdown pass against Portland State on Aug. 31.
COACH OF THE YEAR: MATT WELLS, UTAH STATE
Wells, who was also named the Mountain West Coach of the Year in 2013, is the first coach in school history to earn multiple coach of the year honors. Overall, he is one of just five coaches in school history to be so honored as by the Big West Conference.
Wells is also just the fifth coach in conference history to be named the Mountain West Coach of the Year multiple times, joining Colorado State’s Sonny Lubick (1999, 2000), New Mexico and San Diego State’s Rocky Long (2002, 2012, 2015), Utah’s Urban Meyer (2003, 2004) and TCU’s Gary Patterson (2005, 2009).