Dec. 5, 2011
DENVER – The Western Athletic Conference announced its all-WAC teams and coach and players of the year awards as voted upon by the WAC’s eight head coaches. WAC champion Louisiana Tech led the league with seven first-team all-WAC honorees, while Fresno State placed six on the first team and Nevada and Utah State had four each. Utah State’s Robert Turbin was named the Offensive Player of the Year, Louisiana Tech’s Adrien Cole earned Defensive Player of the Year honors, and Nevada’s Cody Fajardo was named the Freshman of the Year. Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes was voted the WAC’s Coach of the Year.
Turbin, a junior running back from Fremont, Calif. (Irvington HS), is 10th in the nation in rushing with 118.0 yards per game and is fifth in scoring with 11.5 points per contest. Turbin has rushed for 1,416 yards and 19 touchdowns on 229 attempts for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. He has caught 16 passes for 164 yards and four more touchdowns. His 138 points scored this season are currently the seventh most in WAC history. Utah State is making its first bowl appearance since 1997 when it plays Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise on Dec. 17. This is Utah State’s first WAC Offensive Player of the Year award.
Cole, a senior linebacker from Mobile, Ala. (McGill-Toolen HS), leads the Bulldogs and is third in the WAC in tackles with 10.1 per game. He has a total of 121 tackles including 13.0 for a loss of 49 yards. Cole also has two sacks, one interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and three blocked kicks on the season. Cole has helped lead Louisiana Tech to the top spot in the WAC in scoring defense. The Bulldogs are playing TCU in the San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 21. This is Louisiana Tech’s first WAC Defensive Player of the Year award.
Fajardo, a freshman quarterback from Brea, Calif. (Servite HS), became the starting quarterback for the Wolf Pack in October and has thrown for 1,647 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 680 yards and 11 more scores in nine games played. He is second in the WAC in passing efficiency with a 145.8 rating and is seventh in the WAC in rushing with 75.6 yards per contest. Fajardo is averaging 5.7 yards per rushing attempt. After a 1-3 start, Fajardo was instrumental in a five-game winning streak that helped Nevada to its seventh straight bowl appearance as the Wolf Pack will play Southern Mississippi in the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl on Dec. 24. This is Nevada’s fourth WAC Freshman of the Year award as running back Chance Kretschmer won it in 2001, Colin Kaepernick won it in 2007 and Brandon Wimberly won it two years later.
Dykes earned his first WAC Coach of the Year award in just his second season as a head coach after leading Louisiana Tech to an 8-4 record and its second WAC title with a 6-1 mark. Louisiana Tech is playing in its first bowl game since 2008 and won its first WAC title since 2001. This is Louisiana Tech’s second WAC Coach of the Year award as Jack Bicknell won it in 2001.
A total of three first-team all-WAC players were repeat selections from last year: Fresno State defensive lineman Logan Harrell, Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner and Fresno State placekicker Kevin Goessling. Wagner and Goessling have been named first-team three years in a row while Duke Ihenacho earned his third first-team award after being named to the 2008 and 2009 teams. Adrien Cole earned his second first-team award after also receiving the honor in 2009.
Hawai‘i and Idaho placed a WAC-high six players on the second team while Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State and San Jose State had four apiece.