LOGAN, Utah – Utah State football held its end of season banquet Tuesday night, honoring the 2013 team that finished the year with a 9-5 record and tied the 1960 and 1961 teams for the second-most wins in school history. The 2013 team defeated No. 24 Northern Illinois, 21-14, in the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl to post back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in school history as it played in its third-straight bowl game, also a first in school history.
Utah State, who finished the 2013 season by winning six of its final seven games, also set the school record for conference wins as it posted a 7-1 league mark in its first season in the Mountain West to win the Mountain Division of the conference and advance to the inaugural Mountain West Championship game.
Along with handing out individual awards, two highlight videos recapping the year were shown, as was a video honoring USU’s senior class, which is the winningest class in school history with its 31 victories. Utah State players and team personnel were also presented their Mountain West Mountain Division and San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Championship ring. The players were also given their 2013 road jerseys.
During the banquet, Utah State recognized 10 players who received its annual team awards as linebacker Jake Doughty was presented with the Aggies’ Team MVP award, center Tyler Larsen was named the Offensive MVP, cornerback Nevin Lawson was named the Defensive MVP and wide receiver/punt returner Bruce Natson was named the Special Team’s MVP. Wide receiver Brandon Swindall was named the Most Improved Offensive Player and safety Maurice Alexander was named the Most Improved Defensive Player.
Cornerback Quinton Byrd was named Comeback Player of the Year, while running back Joey DeMartino was honored with the Iron Aggie Award for strength and conditioning. Scout team Offensive MVP honors went to running back Rashad Hall, while linebacker Alex Huerta earned scout team Defensive MVP honors.
Utah State also recognized its 14 players that earned various all-Mountain West honors at season’s end as Doughty, Larsen and Lawson all earned first-team honors, while linebacker Kyler Fackrell, defensive end B.J. Larsen, nose guard AJ Pataiali’i and linebacker Zach Vigil were all named to the second-team. USU also had seven players earn honorable mention honors in Alexander, DeMartino, placekicker Nick Diaz, offensive guard Jamie Markosian, Natson, offensive tackle Eric Schultz and safety Brian Suite.
Larsen, Lawson and Fackrell were recognized again for earning All-America honors as Larsen was named a second-team All-American by USA Today Sports, Lawson was named a third-team All-American by College Sports Madness and Facrkell was named an honorable mention sophomore All-American by College Football News.
Along with honoring those players who excelled on the field, USU also recognized 22 players who earned academic all-conference honors in 2013, which were the second-most in the Mountain West. Those players included defensive end Ricky Ali’ifua, tight end Keegan Andersen, linebacker Jarom Baldomero, punter Jaron Bentrude, safety Clayton Christensen, tight end Jefferson Court, Doughty, quarterback Darell Garretson, wide receiver Lars Gunderson, tight end Wyatt Houston, B.J. Larsen, Markosian, long snapper Nate Needham, defensive end Jordan Nielsen, wide receiver Travis Reynolds, Schultz, nose guard Travis Seefeldt, Suite, placekicker Jake Thompson, tight end D.J. Tialavea, linebacker Nick Vigil and Zach Vigil.
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<strong>Utah State Team Awards</strong>
Scout Offensive MVP – Rashad Hall
Scout Defensive MVP – Alex Huetra
Most Improved Offensive Player – Brandon Swindall
Most Improved Defensive Player – Maurice Alexander
Comeback Player of the Year – Quinton Byrd
Iron Aggie – Joey DeMartino
Special Teams MVP – Bruce Natson
Defensive MVP – Nevin Lawson
Offensive MVP – Tyler Larsen
Team MVP – Jake Doughty
<strong>All-Mountain West Honors</strong>
First Team – Jake Doughty, Tyler Larsen, Nevin Lawson
Second Team – Kyler Fackrell, B.J. Larsen, AJ Pataiali’i, Zach Vigil
Honorable Mention – Maurice Alexander, Joey DeMartino, Nick Diaz, Jamie Markosian, Bruce Natson, Eric Schultz, Brian Suite
<strong>Academic All-Mountain West</strong>
Ricky Ali’ifua, Keegan Andersen, Jarom Baldomero, Jaron Bentrude, Clayton Christensen, Jefferson Court, Jake Doughty, Darell Garretson, Lars Gunderson, Wyatt Houston, B.J. Larsen, Jamie Markosian, Nate Needham, Jordan Nielsen, Travis Reynolds, Eric Schultz, Travis Seefeldt, Brian Suite, Jake Thompson, D.J. Tialavea, Nick Vigil, Zach Vigil
Second Team – Tyler Larsen (USA Today Sports)
Third Team – Nevin Lawson (College Sports Madness)
Honorable Mention Sophomore Team – Kyler Fackrell (College Football News)