Mike Sorensen: With the local season nearing an end, it's time to give out state college football awards
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY —
The college football season isn't quite over, with Utah State playing its bowl game in Idaho this week and BYU set to play in San Diego next week. Still, we've got the bests, worsts, mosts and other awards from the local collegiate season.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
Utah State was this close to a perfect season. The Aggies took a 14-3 lead at halftime over Rose Bowl-bound Wisconsin, but couldn't quite hold on. They had a chance to win in the final minute, but a 37-yard field goal try was wide right by inches. Then a month later in Provo, the Aggies had their chances, but missed a 38-yarder that could have forced overtime.
Utah' defensive lineman Star Lotulelei didn't have big numbers, being double and triple-teamed all year, but he made some spectacular plays when he broke free. He also wins the prize for most mispronounced name.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who had a passer rating of 156.7, completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 3,144 yards and 27 touchdowns, while leading his team to a best-ever 10-2 record.
MOST EXCITING PLAYER
Utah's Reggie Dunn, who set an NCAA record by returning four kickoffs from over 100 yards for touchdowns — on just 10 tries.
BEST ONE-GAME CAREER
OK, he played in other games, but James Lark's six-touchdown passing game for BYU against New Mexico State came in his only start. Sure the Aggies are terrible, but Lark will always have Las Cruces.
Utah receiver DeVonte Christopher and BYU receiver Ross Apo. On the heels of two seasons when he led the team in receptions, Christopher caught about half as many passes as the previous two years and was only fourth on a pass-poor team in catches. Apo has never lived up to his hype and was just fourth on his team in receptions and scored just one touchdown.
WORST DECISION I
Bronco Mendenhall's rash decision to go for two points in loss to Boise State when a PAT kick would have sent the Cougars to overtime against a Bronco team that hadn't scored on offense all night.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN II
Four of BYU's losses came by a touchdown or less, including a three-pointer to possible national champion Notre Dame.
MOST DANGEROUS NAME FOR ANNOUNCERS
Utah defensive end Nate Fakahafua
WORST DECISION II
BYU coaches letting quarterback Taysom Hill run around the end in the final minute of a 6-3 victory over Utah State. The Cougars could have taken a knee, but instead Hill had his knee taken out and missed the rest of the season.
MOST OVERLOOKED VICTORY
Southern Utah's 30-27 upset of defending FCS champion and No. 1-ranked Eastern Washington in early November.
BEST PLAYER YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF
Weber State linebacker Anthony Morales. He had 108 tackles, more than double the next player on the Wildcats, and he did it in just nine games. He also ranked third in the FCS in tackles per game and had 23 against Montana.
BEST DEFENSIVE STAND
- With Boston out, another Salt Lake Olympics...
- Guard Elijah Bryant announces he is...
- Morning links: Tom Hackett is the Utes' most...
- Cougars say they have learned lessons in wake...
- Lindon father of five sets world record in...
- Brad Rock: Faith helped infamous former MLB...
- Eight BYU, Utah players make the Polynesian...
- Family man: Former Ute, NFL standout Sione...
- Morning links: Utah is on the rise in... 73
- Phil Steele gives tempered assessment... 70
- BYU looking for another defensive... 33
- Utah Utes backup quarterback Donovan... 26
- Morning links: Tom Hackett is the Utes'... 26
- Cougars say they have learned lessons... 26
- With Boston out, another Salt Lake... 14
- Kincade: Poor shooting, signings have... 11