Mountain West announces 2018 football All-Conference teams and individual honors

Utah State head coach Matt Wells argues a call with the officiating crew during the first half of an NCAA football game against Colorado State, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Fort Collins, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Mountain West announced today its 2018 All-Conference football teams and individual award winners, as chosen by the 12 head coaches and a select media panel. Boise State senior quarterback Brett Rypien is being honored as the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, while Fresno State junior linebacker Jeff Allison has been named the MW Defensive Player of the Year. Wyoming junior placekicker Cooper Rothe is the MW Special Teams Player of the Year. Nevada running back Toa Taua has been selected as the MW Freshman of the Year and Matt Wells of Utah State is the MW Coach of the Year.

 

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – BRETT RYPIEN, SENIOR, QB, BOISE STATE

  • First Boise State player to earn MW Offensive Player of the Year honors since Kellen Moore in 2011.
  • Becomes the 14th quarterback to win the award and first since Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson in 2014.
  • Helped lead the Broncos to their second consecutive MW Football Championship Game and a 10-2 overall record (7-1 MW).
  • Finished the regular season ranked top 10 nationally in passing touchdowns (8th; 29), passing yards (9th; 3,580) completion percentage (10th; 68.8%) and passing yards per game (10th; 298.3). Is the only MW signal-caller to rank in the Conference top 3 in every major passing category.
  • Tied for the MW lead for 300-yard passing performances with seven.
  • Named MW Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 10.
  • Orchestrated the Mountain West’s No. 2 passing attach, averaging 305.9 yards per game. The Broncos also rank second in total offense (468.7).
  • Wuerffel Trophy Semifinalist, an award given annually to a player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.
  • Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Top 10.
  • Set Mountain West career records for total passing yards (13,456), completions (1,021) and 300-yard passing games (21).

 

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – JEFF ALLISON, JUNIOR, LB, FRESNO STATE

  • Is the second Fresno State player to earn the MW Defensive Player of the Year honor and first since Phillip Thomas in 2012.
  • Helped lead the Bulldogs to their second consecutive MW Football Championship Game appearance and fourth overall.
  • Finished the regular season ranked fourth in the Mountain West with 109 total tackles. This figure leads Fresno State.
  • Ranks sixth in the Mountain West with 9.1 tackles per contest.
  • Led a Fresno State defense that ranks second nationally, limiting opponents to just 13.5 points per game. The Bulldogs defensive unit also led the nation in red zone defense (59.1%), while leading the Mountain West in total defense (321.7) and turnover margin per game (+1.17).
  • Recorded at least 10 tackles in five games this season, including a career-best 17 tackles at Nevada on Oct. 6.
  • Also recorded 5.0 tackles for loss and two interceptions on the season.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – COOPER ROTHE, JUNIOR, PLACEKICKER, WYOMING

  • Becomes the first Wyoming player in MW history to garner Special Teams Player of the Year accolades.
  • Is just the fourth place-kicker to earn the honor and the first since Air Force’s Will Conant in 2014.
  • One of three national finalists for the 2018 Lou Groza Award, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate placekicker.
  • Held the nation’s longest streak of consecutive field goals made this season with 15 straight before his first miss of the season from 43 yards against San José State in the 10th game of the season.
  • Leads the nation with a 94.1 field goal percentage (16-of-17) and ranks third in the MW (24 nationally) in field goals per game (1.33). Also, was a perfect 28-of-28 on point after attempts.
  • Of the 16 field goals this season, five have come from 20-29 yards, six from 30-39 yards, four from 40-49 yards and one from 50+ yards.
  • Made multiple field goals in five contests, including a 3-for-3 performance against nationally-ranked Utah State.
  • Leads the Cowboys in scoring with 76 total points.

 

Freshman of the Year – TOA TAUA, Rb, NEVADA

  • First Nevada player to earn an “of the year” honor since the Wolf Pack joined the league prior to the 2012 season.
  • Becomes the eighth running back to be named Mountain West Freshman of the Year and first since San Diego State’s Ronnie Hillman in 2010.
  • Led the Wolf Pack with 816 rushing yards and six touchdowns. The 816 rushing yards are 10th-most among freshmen running backs nationally.
  • In the Mountain West, led all freshmen in total rushing yards (816) and rushing yards per game (68.0).
  • Ranked fifth in the league in rushing yards per carry (5.23).
  • Completed four passes for 93 yards on the season, including a 73-yard touchdown pass against Portland State on Aug. 31.
  • Tied for fifth on the team with 20 receptions for 194 yards and a touchdown.
  • Helped lead Nevada to a 7-5 regular-season record, its best record since 2014 (7-5).

 

Coach of the Year – MATT WELLS, UTAH state

  • Selected as Mountain West Coach of the Year after leading Utah State to a 10-2 overall record, including 7-1 in Conference play.
  • Led the Aggies to their first 10-win season since 2014 and a program record 10-game win streak.
  • Guided one of the most prolific offenses in the nation, ranking top 20 nationally in scoring offense (3rd; 47.2), total offense (11th; 492.5) and passing offense (20th; 288.8).
  • The Aggies were ranked as high as No. 21 in the College Football Playoff Rankings (Nov. 20) and No. 13 in the Associated Press Top 25 (Nov. 11).
  • This is the second MW Coach of the Year honor for Wells (2013).

 

Notables

  • Only two student-athletes were repeat MW First Team All-Conference selections from 2017 (Boise State DL Curtis Weaver and Wyoming defensive back Andrew Wingard).
  • Wingard becomes the 16th player overall to be named to the all-conference first team in three consecutive seasons.
  • Boise State has had at least one first team All-Conference offensive lineman in each of its eight seasons in the MW.
  • Utah State head coach Matt Wells is the fifth coach to win MW Coach of the Year honors on multiple occasions.
  • After winning the 2018 MW Freshman of the Year honor, Toa Taua (Nevada – Running Back) is the first major award winner from Nevada.
  • KeeSean Johnson (Fresno State – Wide Receiver) and Tariq Thompson (San Diego State – Defensive Back) are repeat honorees on the second team.
  • Saturday’s MW Championship Game between Fresno State and Boise State will feature 11 first-team selections and seven second-team honorees.

Offensive Player of the Year
Brett Rypien, Sr., QB, Boise State

Defensive Player of the Year
Jeff Allison, Jr., LB, Fresno State

Special Teams Player of the Year
Cooper Rothe, Jr., PK, Wyoming

Freshman of the Year
Toa Taua, RB, Nevada

Coach of the Year
Matt Wells, Utah State

 

2018 All-Mountain West Football First-Team

OFFENSE

Pos.      Player                           Cl.        Team

QB        Brett Rypien**              Sr.        Boise State

WR       Preston Williams           Jr.        Colorado State

WR       John Ursua                   Jr.        Hawai‘i

RB        Alexander Mattison        Jr.        Boise State

RB        Nico Evans                    Sr.        Wyoming

TE        Josh Oliver                    Sr.        San José State

OL        Ezra Cleveland              So.       Boise State

OL        John Molchon               Jr.        Boise State

OL        Christian Cronk             Sr.        Fresno State

OL        Keith Ismael                 So.       San Diego State

OL        Quin Ficklin                  Sr.        Utah State

PK        Cooper Rothe                Jr.        Wyoming

PR/KR  Savon Scarver               So.       Utah State

DEFENSE

Pos.      Player                           Cl.        Team

DL        Jabril Frazier                 Sr.        Boise State

DL        Curtis Weaver*              So.       Boise State

DL        Mykal Walker                Jr.        Fresno State

DL        Korey Rush                   Sr.        Nevada

LB        Jeff Allison*                  Jr.        Fresno State

LB        Malik Reed*                  Sr.        Nevada

LB        Kyahva Tezino               Jr.        San Diego State

DB        Tyler Horton*                Sr.        Boise State

DB        Tank Kelly                    Sr.        Fresno State

DB        Dakari Monroe              Sr.        San José State

DB        Andrew Wingard**        Sr.        Wyoming

P          Ryan Stonehouse          So.       Colorado State

*Two-Time First-Team Selection | **Three-Time First-Team Selection

 

2018 All-Mountain West Football Second-Team

OFFENSE

Pos.      Player                           Cl.        Team

QB        Jordan Love                  So.       Utah State

WR       Sean Modster                Sr.        Boise State

WR       KeeSean Johnson*        Sr.        Fresno State

RB        Lexington Thomas         Sr.        UNLV

RB        Darwin Thompson          Jr.        Utah State

TE        Jared Rice                    Jr.        Fresno State

OL        Griffin Landrum             Sr.        Air Force

OL        Micah St. Andrew          Sr.        Fresno State

OL        Aaron Jenkins               Sr.        New Mexico

OL        Ryan Pope                    Sr.        San Diego State

OL        Roman Andrus               Sr.        Utah State

PK        John Baron II                Sr.        San Diego State

PR/KR  Marcus Hayes               Fr.        New Mexico

DEFENSE

Pos.      Player                           Cl.        Team

DL        Jordan Jackson             So.       Air Force

DL        Kaimana Padello           Jr.        Hawai‘i

DL        Bryson Bridges              Sr.        San José State

DL        Carl Granderson            Sr.        Wyoming

LB        Josh Watson                 Sr.        Colorado State

LB        Tipa Galeai                   Jr.        Utah State

LB        David Woodward            So.       Utah State

DB        Mike Bell                      Jr.        Fresno State

DB        Juju Hughes                  Jr.        Fresno State

DB        Tariq Thompson*           So.       San Diego State

DB        Jontrell Rocquemore     Sr.        Utah State

P          Blake Cusick                 Jr.        Fresno State

*Two-Time Second-Team Selection

 

2018 Honorable Mention

Air Force: Jeremy Fejedelem, Jr., DB.

Boise State: Durrant Miles, Sr., DL; Kekoa Nawahine, Jr., DB; Avery Williams, So, RS/DB.

Colorado State: None

Fresno State: Jaron Bryant, Jr., DB; Jasad Haynes, Jr, DL; George Helmuth, Sr., LB; Marcus McMaryion, Sr., QB.

Hawai‘i: Zeno Choi, Sr., DL; Rojesterman Farris II, Jr.; DB; Cole McDonald, So., QB; Jahlani Tavai, Sr., LB;

Solo Vaipulu, Fr., OL.

Nevada: Dameon Baber, Sr., DB; Daniel Brown, Jr., DB; Quinton Conaway, Jr., P; Sean Krepsz, Sr., OL;

McLane Mannix, So., WR; Jake Nelson, Jr., OL Asauni Rufus, Sr., DB.

New Mexico: Aaron Blackwell, Jr., DL; Tyson Dyer, So., P; Marcus Hayes, Fr., DB.

San Diego State: Parker Baldwin, Sr., DB; Noble Hall, Sr., DL; Brandon Heicklen, Jr., P; Kahale Warring, Jr., TE;

Juwan Washington, Jr., RB.

San José State: Ethan Aguayo, Jr., LB; Thai Cottrell, Sr., RS; Bryce Crawford, Sr., P; Boogie Roberts, Sr., DL.

UNLV: Nathan Jacobson, Sr., OL; Roger Mann, Sr., DL; Justin Polu, Jr., OL.

Utah State: Adewale Adeoye, Sr., DL; Rob Castaneda, Sr., OL; Dominik Eberle, Jr., PK; Gaje Ferguson, Sr., DB;

Fua Leilua, Jr., DL; Dax Raymond, Jr., TE; Christopher Unga, Jr., DL; DJ Williams, Jr., DB. Ron’Quavion Tarver, Sr., WR

Sean Taylor, Sr., OL.

Wyoming: Tyler Hall, Jr., DB; Logan Wilson, Jr., LB.

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