2012 WAC Football Wrap-Up
UTAH STATE WINS FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL – WAC champion Utah State defeated Toledo, 41-15, in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 15. Kerwynn Williams rushed for a career-high 235 yards and scored all three of his touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Utah State led 13-9 with just over seven minutes to go in the game before Williams reeled off touchdown runs of 63, 5 and 25 yards in a 3:16 span to put the game away and was named to the CBSSports.com 2012-13 All-Bowl Team. Chuckie Keeton opened the scoring for Utah State with a 62-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He completed 21-of-31 passes for 229 yards and ended up with 92 rushing yards on nine carries. The win was the first for Utah State in a bowl game since the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl.
UTAH STATE WINS OUTRIGHT WAC TITLE – Utah State beat Idaho, 45-9, in its regular season finale to win the WAC title with a 6-0 conference mark. It was the first outright title for the Aggies in football since winning the 1936 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship. The Aggies were one of three teams to not lose to a conference opponent this year, joining Ohio State and Northern Illinois.
WAC INDIVIDUAL AWARDS – As voted upon by the WAC’s seven head coaches, Louisiana Tech’s Colby Cameron was named the Offensive Player of the Year, San Jose State’s Travis Johnson earned Defensive Player of the Year honors, and Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon was named the Freshman of the Year. Utah State’s Gary Andersen was voted the WAC’s Coach of the Year.
ALL-WAC TEAMS – Louisiana Tech and San Jose State led the league with nine first-team all-WAC honorees each, while WAC champion Utah State placed eight on the first team. A total of six first-team all-WAC players were repeat selections from last year: Louisiana Tech wide receiver Quinton Patton, San Jose State tight end Ryan Otten, Louisiana Tech offensive lineman Stephen Warner, Utah State offensive lineman Tyler Larsen, San Jose State defensive lineman Travis Johnson and Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen. San Jose State placed a WAC-high seven players on the second team while Utah State had six, Louisiana Tech five and New Mexico State and UTSA with four apiece.
ALL-AMERICANS – Louisiana Tech senior punter became the WAC’s first unanimous All-American since Idaho OG Mike Iupati in 2009. The WAC had the following player earn All-America honors this season:
Ryan Allen, Sr., P, Louisiana Tech-AP First Team, AFCA First Team, CBSSports.com First Team, SI.com First Team, Walter Camp First Team, Pro Football Weekly First Team, FWAA First Team, Phil Steele First Team
Colby Cameron, Sr., QB, Louisiana Tech-SI.com Honorable Mention
Will Davis, Sr., CB, Utah State-CBSSports.com Third Team, Phil Steele Fourth Team, SI.com Honorable Mention
David Fales, Jr., QB, San Jose State-SI.com Honorable Mention
Austin Franklin, So., WR, New Mexico State-SI.com Honorable Mention
Travis Johnson, Sr., DE, San Jose State-CBSSports.com Third Team, Phil Steele Fourth Team, SI.com Honorable Mention
Ryan Otten, Sr., TE, San Jose State-SI.com Honorable Mention
Quinton Patton, Sr., WR, Louisiana Tech-AP Second Team, CBSSports.com Second Team, SI.com Second Team, Phil Steele Second Team, Pro Football Weekly Honorable Mention
Kerwynn Williams, Sr., AP, Utah State-SI.com Honorable Mention
FRESHMEN ALL-AMERICANS – Three WAC players were named to the FWAA Freshman All-America team: Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech; Kyler Fackrell, LB, Utah State; and Austin Lopez, PK, San Jose State.
WAC TOP NON-AQ CONFERENCE – The WAC finished the 2012 season as the top conference among the five that do not receive an automatic BCS bid. This was determined by using the six computer rankings used in the BCS rankings (Anderson & Hester, Billingsley, Colley, Massey, Sagarin and Wolfe) and averaging the computer polls for all of the teams in the conferences. The WAC’s average of 72.74 was better than the MAC (80.18), Sun Belt (82.45), Conference USA (86.86) and Mountain West (88.32).
TWO TEAMS IN BCS RANKINGS – In the final BCS rankings of the season, Utah State was 22nd while San Jose State was 24th.
TOP TWO RANKED – In the final polls, Utah State finished 16th in the AP poll and 17th in the USA Today coaches’ poll. It was the first time since 1972 that Utah State has been ranked at the end of the season. It was also the first time that the Aggies have ever been ranked in four-straight polls. San Jose State finished 21st in both polls. It was the first time the Spartans have ever finished the season ranked in either of those polls. Louisiana Tech received votes in the USA Today poll.
ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA – Utah State defensive back McKade Brady and Louisiana Tech running back Ray Holley were named to the Capital One Academic All-America Division I football first team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). San Jose State defensive end Travis Johnson earned second team honors. To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director.
ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT – Six WAC football student-athletes were named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District teams in November. Student-athletes on All-District first teams were placed on the national ballot for Academic All-America consideration.
Academic All-District Members
DB-McKade Brady, Utah State, Sr., Human movement science
RB-Ray Holley, Louisiana Tech, Gr., Counseling
DL-Travis Johnson, San Jose State, Sr., Kinesiology
OL-Nate Leonard, UTSA, So., Physical Education
OL-Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, New Mexico State, So., Biology
OL-Stephen Warner, Louisiana Tech, Sr., Civil engineering
ALLEN REPEATS AS RAY GUY WINNER – Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Allen became the first back-to-back recipient of the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter. Allen led the nation in punting with an average of 48.04 yards per punt. He booted the longest punt this season of any player in the country with an 85-yard kick at New Mexico State. Over 44 percent of his punts landed inside the 20 and over 46 percent of his punts went over 50 yards. Last season, Allen became the first WAC player to win the Ray Guy Award.
CAMERON WINS SAMMY BAUGH TROPHY – Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron was named the winner of the prestigious Sammy Baugh Award presented to college football’s top passer by The Touchdown Club of Columbus. Cameron is the 10th WAC quarterback to win the award.
WAC COACHING CHANGES – The top three teams in the WAC lost their head coaches in December. Sonny Dykes left Louisiana Tech to become the head coach at California, San Jose State’s Mike MacIntyre became Colorado’s new head coach and Utah State’s Gary Andersen left the Aggies following their bowl victory to become the head coach at Wisconsin. Dykes was 22-15 in three years at Louisiana Tech and was last year’s WAC Coach of the Year. MacIntyre was 16-21 in his three years, turning the program around from 1-12 in his first year to 10-2 this season. Andersen was this year’s WAC Coach of the Year after leading the Aggies to an 11-2 record and perfect 6-0 mark in WAC games. Louisiana Tech hired former South Florida coach Skip Holtz to take over the Bulldogs while San Jose State brought in Ron Caragher from the University of San Diego. Utah State promoted offensive coordinator Matt Wells to its head coaching position. Idaho hired Paul Petrino to take over the Vandals’ program, replacing Robb Akey who was fired in October. Petrino was the offensive coordinator at Arkansas this past year.
LA TECH LED NATION IN SCORING, TOTAL OFFENSE AND PUNTING – In the final NCAA statistics report, Louisiana Tech led the nation in scoring, total offense and punting. The Bulldogs averaged a new WAC-record 51.5 points per game. Oregon was second at 49.5 points per game. Since 2002, WAC teams have led the nation in scoring six times. Boise State was the last team to accomplish this in 2009 with 42.2 points per game. In total offense, Louisiana Tech averaged 577.9 yards per game while Baylor was second at 572.2 per contest. The last time a WAC team led the country in total offense was in 2006 when Hawaii averaged 559.2 yards per game. The WAC record is 584.2 set by BYU in 1983. The Bulldogs also led the nation in net punting with a 43.5-yard average, the best for a WAC team since San Diego State had a 44.9-yard average in 1996.
DIXON SETS NCAA FRESHMAN RECORDS – Kenneth Dixon broke three NCAA and WAC single-season records this year. He holds the NCAA records for most rushing touchdowns in a season by a freshman (27), most touchdowns in a season by a freshman (28) and most points scored in a season by a freshman (168), all three of which had been previously set by San Diego State’s Marshall Faulk in 1991. He led the nation in scoring with 14.0 points per game, two points per game better than Oklahoma State kicker Quinn Sharp.
JOHNSON ALL-TIME WAC SACK LEADER – San Jose State senior defensive end Travis Johnson is the all-time sack leader in the WAC with 32.0. He finished his career as the NCAA’s active leader in sacks. He was also fourth all-time in WAC history in tackles for loss with 49.0, tied for second in the nation among active players.
WILLIAMS SETS WAC CAREER RECORD – Utah State senior running back Kerwynn Williams finished his career with 6,928 yards of all-purpose yards, shattering the record of 6,659 set by Terance Mathis of New Mexico (1985-87, 89). Williams is the WAC’s active leader in rushing yards with 2,515. He also has 870 career receiving yards, 135 punt return yards and is the WAC’s all-time career leader in kick return yards with 3,408.