Tag Archives: Toa Taua

2018 Mountain West Awards

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: JEFFREY ALLISON, FRESNO STATE

Allison has declared for the 2019 NFL draft.

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

After going 44-34 at Utah State, Wells has recenlty been named the new head coach at Texas Tech.

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).

Arizona Bowl – Dec 29

Arkansas State Red Wolves (8-4) vs Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5)

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ARKANSAS STATE | SUN BELT CONFERENCE

Coach: Blake Anderson

Arkansas State Players to watch:

Senior QB Justice Hansen (6-4/218)

Hansen, an Oklahoma transfer, should be one of the more interesting story lines among QBs in the 2019 NFL Draft. Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Named the Sun Belt POY, Hansen completed the regular season as the Sun Belt’s leader in total offense (297.3 ypg), passing yards (264.3 ypg), passing touchdowns (27) and points responsible for (202). Going into his final game, Hansen is the Sun Belt’s second all-time leader in passing touchdowns (83) and ranks sixth in total offense (10,807 yards) and eighth in passing yards (9,858).

Senior DE Ronheen Bingham (6-2/244)

Bingham leads the Sun Belt in both sacks (9.0) and tackles for loss (18.5) and is ranked No. 27 in tackles (5.4 pg).  The Bennettsville, S.C., native is responsible for the 11th most tackles for loss and 21st most sacks in the nation, while also ranking No. 9 in the nation among defensive linemen in tackles.

***Freshman WR Kirk Merritt (6-0/210)

Merritt currently tops the Sun Belt in both receptions (6.2 pg) and receiving yards (78.2 pg), and he ranks No. 21 and No. 34 in the nation in each stat, respectively.  His 75 receptions are the fourth most in school history for a single season, and his 939 yards and seven receiving touchdowns are both the fifth most.

Senior NB Justin Clifton (6-0/204)

The secondary is led by senior Justin Clifton, a first-team all-Sun Belt selection. He was second on the team with 75 tackles and also intercepted two passes (returning one for a touchdown). 

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NEVADA | MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Coach: Jay Norvell

Nevada Players to watch:

***Freshman RB Toa Taua (5-10/220)

Running back Toa Taua was named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year.
Photo: Nevada Sports Net

The Lompoc, California, native led all Mountain West freshman with 816 yards and six rushing touchdowns. His 816 yards ranked him 10th-most among freshman running backs nationally.

Senior DT Korey Rush (6-0/285)

Rush broke his foot on Oct 27th. His recovery is on track to return in time for the game. Even though he missed the final three games of the season, he was still second on the team in sacks and tackles for loss, and finished second in the conference in tackles for loss per game, and fourth in the MW in sacks per game.

Senior LB Malik Reed (6-1/235)

Reed, a senior, earned All-MW honors for the third straight season and is Nevada’s first player to earn back-to-back first-team selections. He led the conference in tackles for loss and forced fumbles, and was tied for fourth in the league in sacks per game.

Senior FS Dameon Baber (5-10/205)

One of the best players on a talented Wolf Pack defense, Baber led the team with three interceptions and ranks in the top 10 at Nevada in career tackles.

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NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl 
Nevada 16, Arkansas State 13 (OT)