BYU Football 2012 Season Review, Part 3: Awards

Awards is part 3 of a four part review of the Brigham Young Cougars' 2012 football season. Part 1 was a general recap of the season, and can be found by clicking here. Part 2 was grading the offense, defense, special teams, as well as the position groups within each, and the coaches. It can be found by clicking here. Part 4--Highlights and Milestones will be either later today or Monday, January 7. 

No analysis of a football season can be complete without giving out awards to the players who stood out. BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL has selected its Team MVP, Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, and many more. Each award has three nominees. To help keep things interesting, and to spread the wealth, once one player has one award he will be ineligible for another individual award.

Team MVP

Cody Hoffman - 100 receptions, 1,248 yards, 11 TD, 1 onside kick recovery
Riley Stephenson - 59 punts, 45.4 average yards per punt, 30 inside 20, 26 fifty yards or longer
Kyle Van Noy - 53 tackles, 13 sacks, 22 TFL, 2 Int, 5 pass breakups, 8 QB hurries, 1 fumble recovery, 6 forced fumbles, 2 blocked punts, 2 TD

Winner: Kyle Van Noy

Van Noy was the biggest playmaker on defense. He led the team in tacks, tackles for loss, quarterback hurries, and forced fumbles. He always seems to come through in the clutch. Many of his big plays came when BYU really needed someone to make a play and change the momentum of the game. Van Noy is the biggest reason the Cougars defense was so dominant this year. He makes the guys around him better.

Runner up: Cody Hoffman

Offensive Player of the Year

Cody Hoffman - 100 receptions, 1,248 yards, 11 TD
Jamaal Williams - 166 carries, 775 yards, 12 TD; 27 receptions, 315 yards, 1 TD

Winner: Cody Hoffman

Hoffman had the second most receptions and second most receiving yards in school history for a single season. He set the school record for most touchdown receptions in a game, and tied the record for most points scored in a game. When BYU needs a first down, Hoffman is expected to come up with it. 

Runner up: Jamaal Williams

Defensive Player of the Year

Ezekiel Ansah - 62 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 13 TFL, 1 Int, 9 pass breakups, 6 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble
Brandon Ogletree - 102 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 4 pass breakups, 1 QB hurry
Daniel Sorensen - 68 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 Int, 5 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, 2 forced fumbles

Winner: Ezekiel Ansah

Ansah finished tied for second on the team in sacks, third in tackles for loss, second in pass breakups, second in quarterback hurries, and fourth in tackles. Not bad for a guy who didn't start until game five. Just like Van Noy, Ansah seemed to regularly be in the right place at the right time to make a big play when BYU needed it. BYU hasn't had a defensive lineman be so productive sine Jan Jorgensen. 

Runner up: Brandon Ogletree

Play of the Year

Taysom Hill 18-yard touchdown pass vs. Washington State
Cody Hoffman 64-yard touchdown catch vs. New Mexico State
Kyle Van Noy fumble recovery in end zone vs. San Diego State

Winner: Van Noy fumble recovery in end zone vs. San Diego State

Each play is important in telling the story of the 2012 season, but Van Noy's had the biggest impact on the outcome of a game. BYU would have won both the Washington State and New Mexico State games even if Hill and Hoffman don't make these plays. That isn't necessarily the case against San Diego State. 

Runner up:  Taysom Hill 18-yard touchdown pass vs. Washington State

Newcomer of the Year

Taysom Hill - 42 of 71, 425 yards, 4 TD, 2 Int; 55 rush, 336 yards, 4 TD
Bronson Kaufusi - 23 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 5.5 TFL, 1 pass breakup, 1 QB hurry, 1 fumble recovery
Jamaal Williams - 166 carries, 775 yards, 12 TD; 27 receptions, 315 yards, 1 TD

Winner: Jamaal Williams

Williams led the team in rushing yards and set a new standard for true freshman running backs for yards and rushing touchdowns. A lot of responsibility was put on him against two top 10 teams and two big road trips, and he handled it very well. He was second on the team in receiving yards, and lead the team in scoring with 78 points. 

Runner up: Bronson Kaufusi

Most Improved Player

Kaneakua Friel - 30 receptions, 308 yards, 5 TD
Daniel Sorensen - 68 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 Int, 5 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, 2 forced fumbles
Riley Stephenson - 59 punts, 45.4 average yards per punt, 30 inside 20, 26 fifty yards or longer

Winner: Riley Stephenson

In his first three seasons, Stephenson's average hovered around 41-42 yards showing no real improvement. He was averaging over 47 yards per punt before the bowl game, and finished with a 45.4 average. That is over three yards better. This was due to much improved consistency. Stephenson had struggled with consistency from 2009-11, but in 2012 he had only a few bad punts. His improved consistency resulted in 11 more punts of 50 yards or more than a year ago and 10 more punts inside the 20 yard-line than a year ago. 

Runner up: Kaneakua Friel

Biggest Surprise

BYU defense best in school history, top 3 in nation
The 17-year old man-child Jamaal Williams
Three different quarterbacks start and win at least two games

Winner: Three different quarterbacks start and win at least two games

We knew that the BYU defense would be really good this year, probably not this good, but good enough that this isn't the biggest surprise this season. Jamaal Williams had a very impressive highlight film in high school, and other freshman have come in and excelled, so the surprise value of his performance isn't enough to win. 

Taysom Hill and James Lark were both 2-0 as starters. They each beat a team with nine wins or more. Quarterback carousels are rough on an offense. BYU was able to have smooth transitions to the new signal caller even though these new quarterbacks had to play tough teams is very surprising. 

Runner up: BYU defense best in school history, top 3 in nation

Biggest Disappointment

One more year of quarterback issues
Team wilting under pressure
Poor placekicking

Winner: Team wilting under pressure

For all the troubles BYU had at quarterback and with placekicking, the Cougars were just a few plays away from having a much better season. When it was time to rise up they didn't. A little better blocking, a little better execution on offense, defense, and special teams, and many of those five losses would be wins. 

Runner up: One more year of quarterback issues

Best Defensive Series

Washington State: first drive of the second half, 3 plays, -1 yard, ended with interception returned 64 yards
Boise State: second drive of the third quarter, 4 plays, 0 yards, started at the 1-yard line
San Diego State: second drive of the second quarter, 3 plays, -7 yards, ended with no points after starting at BYU 29-yard line following a pick-6 being nullified by penalty

Winner: Second drive of the third quarter at Boise State

The goal line stand at Boise State following a fumble gave the Broncos the ball at the BYU 1-yard line. First two plays were both a loss of a yard. On the pivotal fourth down from the one yard line, Kyle Van Noy stopped the quarterback sneak. Boise State is one of the most difficult places to play in college football. Boise State had a 7-0 lead, had forced turnovers on each of BYU's last three possessions. It was game over if they scored a touchdown there. The character of the defense showed by this goal line stand. 

Runner up: Second drive of the second quarter vs. San Diego State

Best Offensive Series

Boise State: 11 plays, 95 yards, 4:26, 4-yard TD run by Taysom Hill
Utah State: 4 plays, 61 yards, 0:25, 3-yard TD pass from Hill to JD Falslev
Oregon State: 10 plays, 75 yards, 3:02, 1-yard TD run by Jamaal Williams

Winner: 4 plays, 61 yards vs. Utah State

This proved to be the game winning score. BYU got the ball back with just 28 seconds left in the first half. With true freshman Taysom Hill at quarterback going against the tough Utah State defense, BYU had been conservative on offense the entire first half. The Cougars trailed 3-0. Rather than continue to play it safe and hope to score a touchdown in the second half, BYU flipped a switch and started attacking. Hill completed three passes to Cody Hoffman to get the ball to the three-yard line before hitting Falslev for the score. 

Runner up: Boise State, 11 plays, 95 yards

Biggest Overachiever

JD Falslev - 37 receptions, 274 yards, 2 TD; 18 rushes, 109 yards; 11 kickoff returns, 286 yards; 26 punt returns, 247 yards
Brandon Ogletree - 102 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 4 pass breakups, 1 QB hurry
Skyler Ridley - 20 receptions, 206 yards, 1 TD

Winner: Brandon Ogletree

When you see Ogletree without football pads on, you would never guess that he is a football player (let alone a starter on one of the nastiest defenses in the nation). That didn't stop him from leading the team in tackles, being second in tackles for loss, and convincing many he just might be NFL material. He plays with a lot of heart and smarts, which has allowed him to overcome some of his physical shortcomings. 

Runner up: JD Falslev

Biggest Underachiever

Ross Apo - 31 receptions, 311 yards, 1 TD
Riley Nelson - 181 of 308, 2011 yards, 13 TD, 13 Int; 86 rushes, 196 yards, 1 TD
Iona Pritchard - 13 carries, 39 yards

Winner: Ross Apo

Apo had nine touchdowns a year ago, and over 140 more receiving yards on nearly the same number of receptions (34). He should have been much more involved in the passing game this year. He has the size and speed to be just as good as Cody Hoffman, but something just isn't clicking.

Runner up: Riley Nelson

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