USU football: Gary Andersen named WAC Football Coach of the Year, while 17 Aggies earn All-Conference honors

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Dec. 3 2012 4:55 p.m. MST

Utah State Aggies head coach Gary Andersen celebrates with Utah State Aggies wide receiver Matt Austin (4) in Logan Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. USU beat Idaho and won the WAC championship.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

Utah State’s Gary Andersen was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, while 17 Aggies earned various all-WAC accolades as the league office announced its postseason honors Monday. In all, USU had eight offensive and nine defensive players recognized to rank second-most in the league behind San Jose State’s 19 honorees.

Utah State players to earn first-team all-WAC honors include cornerback Will Davis, linebacker Jake Doughty, linebacker Kyler Fackrell, quarterbackChuckie Keeton, defensive tackle Al Lapuaho, offensive center Tyler Larsen, offensive tackle Eric Schultz and running back Kerwynn Williams, while wide receiver Matt Austin, safety McKade Brady, cornerback Nevin Lawson, offensive guard Jamie Markosian, defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen and linebacker Zach Vigil were named to the second-team. USU also had three players earn honorable mention honors in tight end Kellen Bartlett, wide receiver Chuck Jacobs and defensive tackle Connor Williams.

Louisiana Tech senior quarterback Colby Cameron was named the WAC’s Offensive Player of the Year, while San Jose State senior defensive tackle Travis Johnson was named the WAC’s Defensive Player of the Year. LTU’s Kenneth Dixon was named the WAC’s Freshman of the Year.

Utah State’s eight first-team all-WAC selections are tied for the most in a single-season in school history along with the 1997 team, while its 17 total honorees rank second all-time behind the 18 all-conference picks in 1997.

“I think it’s a great honor for a lot of kids in our football program and there is a lot of terrific players in this league from top to bottom,” Andersen said. “A lot of our kids were honored that I thought should be honored, but you never get all you want.”

As for Andersen, he becomes the fourth coach in school history to earn conference coach of the year honors along with Bruce Snyder (1978), Chuck Shelton (1991) and John L. Smith (1997), who were all recognized by the Big West Conference.

Overall, every Utah State player who earned all-WAC honors in 2012 did so for the first time in their careers except for Larsen, who is one of six WAC players to earn first-team all-league accolades for the second-straight season.

Davis, a 6-foot-0, 186-pound senior defensive back from Spokane, Wash. (Central Valley HS/De Anza College), ranks first in the nation in passes defended (1.75 pg), second in the WAC and tied for 11th in the nation in interceptions (0.42 pg), and tied for 38th in the WAC in tackles (4.7 pg). On the season, Davis leads the team in passes defended (21), passes broken up (16) and interceptions (5), while ranking tied for fifth in tackles for loss (4.5) and eighth in overall tackles (56). Davis’ five interceptions in 2012 are the most by an Aggie since 2003, while his five interceptions in as many games is the longest USU streak since 1973.

Doughty, a 6-0, 230-pound junior linebacker from Draper, Utah (Juan Diego HS), ranks second in the WAC and tied for 69th in the nation in tackles (8.4 pg). On the season, Doughty leads the team with 101 tackles to go along with 3.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, one sack and one fumble recovery, not to mention four double-digit tackle outings.

Fackrell, a 6-5, 236-pound redshirt freshman linebacker from Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS), ranks tied for eighth in the WAC in interceptions (0.17 pg), tied for ninth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.67 pg) and 11th in the WAC in tackles (7.0 pg). On the season, Fackrell ranks tied for second on the team in tackles for loss (8.0), is second in interceptions (2), second in quarterback hurries (7), fourth in tackles (84) and tied for fifth in sacks (3.0). He also has one blocked kick, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on the season, not to mention four double-digit tackle outings.

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