Search Results for: Conference USA

2018 CUSA Awards

CONFERENCE USA

CUSA MVP: BRENT STOCKSTILL, QB, MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE

Photo: Jim Brown/USA TODAY Sports

Middle Tennessee graduate QB Brent Stockstill is the recipient of the C-USA Most Valuable Player Award. Stockstill leads C-USA in completions (301) and touchdown passes (28) this season, ranking fourth in the FBS in completion percentage (70.5) and 15th nationally with 3,214 passing yards.  He has thrown multiple scores in seven straight games and nine total outings on the year, topping the 300-yard mark in passing four times.  He’s also tied for 20th all-time in the NCAA in touchdown passes (105), and the owner of virtually every passing record in school history.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JAYLON FERGUSON, LOUISIANA TECH

Photo: Tom Morris/USA TODAY Sports

In 2018, Louisiana Tech’s Jaylon Ferguson passed Terrell Suggs (Arizona State) to become the NCAA all-time sack leader with 45 career sacks. He leads the FBS with 17.5 sacks in 2018, while ranking second nationally with 26 tackles for loss.  Ferguson broke his own school record for single-season sacks, which he set in 2016 with 14.5.  A four-time all-conference selection, he has recorded 64 total tackles this season, including 37 solo stops, while he has also recorded nine quarterback hurries, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles. 

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: MASON FINE, NORTH TEXAS

Photo: Gary Sanderson

North Texas junior Mason Fine becomes the fifth player in C-USA history to be named Offensive Player of the Year multiple times, winning the honor for the second straight season.  He ranks eighth in the FBS in passing yards (3,743) and is eighth in the FBS in passing yards per game (311.2) through 12 games.  Fine has completed 295-of-457 passes (64.6%) for 3,743 yards and 27 touchdowns with only five interceptions.  He topped the 300-yard mark five times and the 400-yard mark twice, while throwing for 240 or more in all but one outing.  Fine, who also had a pair of rushing scores, threw multiple touchdowns in 10 games while becoming the all-time leading passer in program history in less than three full seasons (9,358 yards).

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JACK FOX, P, RICE

Several NFL teams have Fox on their radar.
Photo: Rice Athletics

Fox led C-USA in punting for the second consecutive year, finishing with a career-best 45.5 average.  His average was second best in the nation among punters with at least 60 punts in the regular season and ranked 8th nationally among all punters.  He topped the FBS with 3,636 punting yards in the regular season, which also set a school record.  He had 26 punts of 50 yards or longer and he placed 31 punts inside the 20-yard line, both top figures in the conference. 

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: CHRIS ROBINSON, QB, FLORIDA ATLANTIC and ISAIAH GREEN, QB, MARSHALL

Photo: FAU Athletics

Robison played in all 12 games for the Owls, completing 63.2 percent of his passes (192-of-304) for 2,533 yards.  He threw 12 touchdowns and rushed for three scores.  Robison was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 10 after he set a school record with 471 passing yards and tossed three TDs in a win over Air Force. 

Photo: Herald-Dispatch

Green placed fourth in C-USA with an average of 248.7 passing yards per game.  He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all nine games he has played (eight starts), totaling 15.  Green has five games with multiple TD tosses, with a season-high three in a win over Eastern Kentucky.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: JAMES MORGAN, QB, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL

Photo: Florida International University

Morgan, a junior graduate transfer from Bowling Green, started every game under center for the Panthers. He threw for a school-record 26 touchdowns and 2,764 yards, which ranks second in a FIU single season.  He lead C-USA in passer efficiency rating (157.6) and passing yards per attempt (8.4).  Morgan had a season-best 341-yard passing yards and set a school-record with four touchdown passes against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in late September. 

COACH OF THE YEAR: RICK STOCKSTILL, MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE

Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP

After leading his team to an East Division title and a school-record fourth consecutive bowl appearance, Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill has been named Conference USA Coach of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 14 head coaches. Stockstill has led MT to an 8-5 record this season and bowl against Appalachian State. The Blue Raiders also played in and hosted the C-USA Championship game for the first time.  Middle Tennessee was picked by conference media members in the preseason to finish third in the East Division, but it defied those odds by finishing with a 7-1 league record and its first division title.

2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year

COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR

The FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The FWAA coaching award is named after the late Eddie Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

The Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year trophy.

At the end of the 1997 season, Robinson retired with a lifetime record of 408–165–15. Robinson’s record of 408 career victories stood until 2003, when it was broken by John Gagliardi, coach of St. John’s of Minnesota.

***

THIS YEARS WINNER…

BILL CLARK, HEAD COACH, UNIVERSITY ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM

Three years ago, UAB didn’t even have a football program, but now they have the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year and a 19-8 record over the past two seasons.

In 2014, Bill Clark was in his first year as Head Coach with the Blazers, going 6-6. Then on December 2, 2014, UAB president Ray L. Watts announced that UAB had decided to close down the football program in order to save money. On June 1, 2015, however, news reported that the UAB Blazers football program would be reinstated. And in September of 2015, Clark and UAB agreed to a five-year contract extension.

This year, Clark guided the 11-3 Blazers to their first 10-win season, first division title, first Conference USA championship and back-to-back bowl trips. 

The 2018 Boca Raton Bowl was only the third bowl game in Blazers history and the second consecutive after playing in last year’s Bahamas Bowl. It was the school’s first bowl win!

“Bill Clark has done a yeoman’s job in rebuilding the UAB program from scratch,” said 2018 FWAA President Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times. “The fact the Blazers won the Conference USA title in 2018 is one thing. Considering the circumstances, it goes into the extraordinary category.”

***

The 2018 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists included:

  • Alabama – Nick Saban
  • UAB – Bill Clark
  • Fresno State – Jeff Tedford
  • Clemson – Dabo Swinney
  • Oklahoma – Lincoln Riley
  • Army – Jeff Monken
  • UCF – Josh Heupel
  • Notre Dame – Brian Kelly

Hawai’i Bowl – Dec 22

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (8-5)  vs  Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (7-5)

***  

HAWAII  |  MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Coach:  Nick Rolovich

Hawaii Players to watch:

Senior WR John Ursua  (5-10/185)

 Ursua, a junior from Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, is of Hawaiian ancestry.
Photo:  Hawaii Athletics

Ursua, a finalist for the Polynesian Player of the Year, leads the country in touchdown receptions (16) and ranks fifth in receiving yards (1,343), total touchdowns (17) and receiving yards per game (103.3).

*Junior DE Kaimana Padello  (6-0/205)

Padello leads the Warriors in sacks (7.5) and tackles-for-loss (11.5). The Mililani, O’ahu native also recorded 22 tackles with one forced fumble and was the recipient of the team’s Ben Yee Most Inspirational Player award.

**Sophomore QB Cole McDonald  (6-4/205)

McDonald, the team’s offensive MVP, has thrown for 3,790 yards and 35 touchdowns on the year and ranks among the nation’s Top 10 in six categories.

Senior DE Zeno Choi  (6-3/280)

Choi, a senior from Honolulu and the team’s Defensive Captain recipient, has 34 tackles on the year, including 5.0 for loss and two sacks. 

***

LOUISIANA TECH  |  CONFERENCE USA

Coach:  Skip Holtz

Louisiana Tech Players to watch:

Senior DE  Jaylon Ferguson  (6-5/260)

LA Tech DE Jaylon Ferguson needs 2.5 sacks to set a new Div I sack record.
Photo:  Shreveport Times

Ferguson’s 15 sacks in 2018 is tied for the nation’s lead, while his 23.5 tackles for loss this year ranks first in C-USA and third in the country. Through 12 games, he has recorded 59 total tackles (33 solo), while also totaling nine quarterback hurries, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles as a senior.

**Sophomore CB Amik Robertson  (5-9.172)

Robertson followed up his Freshman All-American season by totaling 57 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and 12 pass break-ups. Robertson also had three QB hurries, a forced fumble and recovery and two blocked kicks on the season.

Senior LT O’Shea Dugas  (6-5/350)

Dugas played in all 12 games this year, making 11 starts. He has made the most career starts of any Bulldog in his four years in Ruston (43). As a senior, Dugas has helped lead an offensive unit that ranks fourth in C-USA in red zone offense and tackles for loss allowed. (Update: Dugas did NOT make the trip due to violation of team policy.)

**Sophomore WR Adrian Hardy  (6-2/195)

Hardy leads the team with 69 catches for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns, while he ranks in the top 25 nationally in receiving yards and receiving yards per game (87.7).

***

SoFi Hawai’i Bowl
Louisiana Tech 31, Hawaii 14

Bahamas Bowl – Dec 21

Florida International Panthers (8-4)  vs  Toledo Rockets (7-5)

***

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL  |  CONFERENCE USA

Coach:  Butch Davis

Florida International Players to watch:

*Junior LB  Sage Lewis  (6-1/240)

Sage Lewis amassed 214 career tackles so far in his FIU career.
Photo: panthernow.com

Middle linebacker Sage Lewis smoothly made the transition inside from his outside backer spot where he wracked up a school-record 126 tackles in 2018, and entrenched himself as the leader of the defense.

*Junior WR Maurice Alexander  (5-11/180)

The former quarterback, turned WR, didn’t miss a beat in the transition.  A seemingly natural receiver, Alexander showed off his speed, his hands, his ability to make plays. He stretched the field and played special teams to boot.  He averaged 13.6 yards per return — best in the conference.

Senior OG Jordan Budwig  (6-4/311)

“That’s not something to play around with,” Budwig said, referencing the health of the quarterback he protects, “That’s something we take seriously.”  A physical run blocker, Budwig anchored the Panthers’ offensive line by starting in all 13 games.  The Bahamas Bowl with be Budwig’s 50th FIU contest.

*** 

TOLEDO  |  MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Coach:  John Candle

Toledo Players to watch:

*Junior WR  Diontae Johnson  (5-11/181)

Toledo Junior WR & RS Diontae Johnson
Photo:  Toledo Blade

Johnson leads the team with 43 receptions and 663 receiving yards. Has seven TD receptions, one punt return TD, and one TD off a kickoff return.  His 23 career TD receptions ranks fifth all-time at UT.

Senior WR Cody Thompson  (6-2/205)

Thompson holds the Toledo record with 30 career touchdown receptions; ranks second on UT’s career receiving list with 3,257 yards; and trails Eric Page as UT’s all-time leader by 189 yards.  This year he has 43 receptions for 592 yards.

*Junior OC Bryce Harris  (6-3/285)

Last year, Harris displayed his versatility by playing three different positions: right guard, center, and left guard.  This year, he started every game at center — that decision by HC Candle payed big dividends with Harris earning 2nd Team All-Mac.

*Junior TE Reggie Gilliam  (6-0/235)

Gilliam played in all 12 games, starting 11 at tight end  He is fourth on the team with three touchdown receptions; and leads the country with four blocked kicks.

***

Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl
FIU 35, Toledo 32

« Older Entries