The University of Utah may not have won a WAC division championship, but the Utes were accorded six spots on the 1997 All-WAC divisional football teams announced Tuesday, and that's as many as Mountain Division champ New Mexico and Pacific champ Colorado State.
Utah senior Kevin Dyson made the first team both as a wide receiver and as a special-teams player (he returned kickoffs and punts and was place-kick holder).BYU placed two players on the first team (offensive lineman John Tait and defensive back Omarr Morgan), and Jaron Dabney of BYU was named Mountain Division Freshman of the Year.
Morgan and Dyson (at receiver) are repeat first-teamers.
Utah's first-teamers also include offensive lineman Danny Davis, defensive lineman Pene Talamaivao, linebacker Phil Glover and defensive back Clarence Lawson.
BYU dominated Mountain second-team honors with eight players (WR Ben Cahoon, TE Dustin Johnson, OL Eric Bateman, DL Byron Frisch, DL Issiah Magalei, LB Rob Morris, LB Spencer Reid and ST Dabney). Utah second-teamers are OL Nathan Sybrowsky, RB Juan Johnson, DB Robert Love and P Chris Hunter.
The Mountain's "others receiving votes" category includes Utah WR Daniel Jones, RB Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, DL Mike Thomas, and LB Chris Godfrey, and BYU OL Jason Andersen, QB Kevin Feterik, RB Brian McKenzie, LB Brad Martin, DB Ben Cook and PK Owen Pochman.
Other top Mountain individual awards: offensive player of the year, Graham Leigh, QB, New Mexico; defensive player of the year, Chris Bordano, SMU; and coach of the year, Dennis Franchione, New Mexico.
In the Pacific, CSU had six first-teamers, the top coach (Sonny Lubick) and top offensive player (QB Moses Moreno).
The Western Athletic Conference 1997 coaches and players of the year will be featured prominently when Colorado State and New Mexico tangle in the WAC championship game at Las Vegas Dec. 6.
CSU coach Sonny Lubick on Tuesday was named the league's Pacific Division coach of the year while New Mexico's Dennis Franchione was named Mountain Division coach of the year.
And the WAC's two top quarterbacks, CSU's Moses Moreno and New Mexico's Graham Leigh, were named offensive players of the year for their respective divisions.
It was the second such award for both Lubick and Franchione. Lubick, who has been head coach of the Rams for five seasons, won the award in 1992 while Franchione, in his sixth year with the Lobos, was the WAC's coach of the year in 1993.
Defensive players of the year are Air Force linebacker Chris Gizzi in the Pacific Division and Southern Methodist linebacker Chris Bordano in the Mountain Division.
Colorado State led the Pacific Division with six players on the all-WAC first team, while New Mexico and Utah led the Mountain Division with six players each.
Moreno, a senior, leads the WAC and is second nationally in passing efficiency with a 162 rating. He has thrown 20 touchdown passes and completed 62.4 percent of his attempts.
Leigh, a junior, is fifth nationally in passing efficiency with a 158.4 rating and leads the WAC with 24 touchdown passes.
All-WAC football team
DENVER (AP) - The 1997 All Western Athletic Conference football team:
Receivers - Pascal Volz, New Mexico; Damon Savage, Tulsa; Kevin Dyson, Utah.
Linemen - John Tait, BYU; Charles Torello, Rice; Anwar White, UTEP; Michael Ruhl, Tulsa; Danny Davis, Utah.
Quarterback - Graham Leigh, New Mexico.
Running backs - Michael Perry, Rice; Charlie Higgins, Tulsa.
Linemen - Andy Clifton, Rice; Luke Johnson, SMU; Chance McCarty, Texas Christian; Pene Talamaivao, Utah.
Linebackers - Chris Bordano, SMU; Scott Taft, TCU; Phil Glover, Utah.
Backs - Omarr Morgan, BYU; Ramos McDonald, New Mexico; Scott McGarrahan, New Mexico; Halikilangi Muagututia, UTEP; Clarence Lawson, Utah.
Specialists - Colby Cason, New Mexico, placekicker; Jason Bloom, New Mexico, punter; Kevin Dyson, Utah, special teams.
Receivers - Damon Williams, UNLV; Oliver Newell, San Jose State.
Tight end - Eli Workman, CSU.
Linemen - Frank Mindrup, Air Force; Anthony Cesario, CSU; Chris Conrad, Fresno State; Kyle Turley, SDSU; Jay Korth, Wyoming.
Quarterback - Moses Moreno, CSU.
Running backs - Damon Washington, CSU; Michael Pittman, Fresno State.
Linemen - Adrian Ross, CSU; Talance Sawyer, UNLV; Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, SDSU; Stuart Hanson, Wyoming.
Linebackers - Chris Gizzi, Air Force; Nate Kvamme, CSU; A.J. Gass, Fresno State.
Backs - Eddie Klaneski, Hawaii; Lyle West, San Jose State; Je'Ney Jackson, Wyoming; Brian Lee, Wyoming.
Specialists - Cory Wedel, Wyoming, placekicker; Chad Shrout, Hawaii, punter; Tim Curry, Air Force, special teams.
Receivers - Ben Cahoon, BYU; Jimmy Carpenter, UTEP.
Tight end - Justin Johnson, BYU.
Linemen - Eric Bateman, BYU; Shane Jaeger, New Mexico; Matt Tyner, New Mexico; Mark Cortez, TCU; Nathan Sybrowsky, Utah.
Quarterback - Chad Nelson, Rice.
Running backs - Kelsey Adams, SMU; Juan Johnson, Utah.
Linemen - Byron Frisch, BYU; Issiah Magalei, BYU; John Wingate, New Mexico; Matt Harper, TCU; Jason Smith, UTEP; Brian Young, UTEP.
Linebackers - Spencer Reid, BYU; Rob Morris, BYU; Blake Irwin, New Mexico.
Backs - Bill Austin, New Mexico; LaDouphyous McCalla, Rice; Jacoby Rhinehart, SMU; Levi Gillen, Tulsa; Robert Love, Utah.
Specialists - Roy Rios, SMU, placekicker; Michael Reeder, TCU, placekicker; Royce Huffman, TCU, punter; Chris Hunter, Utah, punter; Jaron Dabney, BYU, special teams.
Receivers - Geoff Turner, CSU; Az-zahir Hakim, SDSU.
Tight end - Sam Mineo, UNLV.
Linemen - Chuck Parks, Air Force; Mike Newell, CSU; Shane Oliveira, Hawaii; Mike Reily, UNLV; Ephraim Salaam, SDSU.
Quarterback - Blane Morgan, Air Force.
Running backs - Kevin McDougal, CSU; Mike Jenkins, Wyoming.
Linemen - Bryce Fisher, Air Force; Andrew Jones, Fresno State; Jeff Leonard, Wyoming.
Linebackers - Steve Fernandez, Air Force; Willie Taylor, CSU; Scott Patton, UNLV; Jim Talich, Wyoming.
Backs - Tim Curry, Air Force; Frank Staine-Pyne, Air Force; Myron Terry, CSU; Rico Curtis, SDSU.
Specialists - Jeff Hanna, Fresno State, placekicker; Aron Langley, Wyoming, punter; Geoff Turner, CSU, special teams.