2011 Football Players of the Year Finalists Announced
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Cornell sophomore quarterback Jeff Mathews, Dartmouth senior tailback Nick Schwieger, Harvard senior defensive tackle Josue Ortiz and Penn senior linebacker Erik Rask were named the finalists for the 2011 Asa S. Bushnell Cup, which honors the Ivy League Football Players of the Year.
The 2011 presentation of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup is Monday, Dec. 5, the day before the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) Annual Awards Dinner, at a special reception and press conference beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the Astor Room of the famed Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York City. The presentation will be streamed live on FootballFoundation.org and IvyLeagueSports.com.
The Ivy League and the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) are partnering to co-host the Asa S. Bushnell Cup presentation for a second-consecutive year. For the first time in the award's 41-year history and in the conference's 56-year history, the Ivy League is recognizing Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, honoring each as a recipient of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup from their respective sides of play. Mathews and Schwieger are Offensive Player of the Year finalists. Ortiz and Rask are the finalists for Defensive Player of the Year honors.
The four finalists, along with their head coaches, will be on hand at the presentation. Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris will unveil the winners' names at the presentation. George Pyne, president of IMG Worldwide's Sports & Entertainment Group and NFF Board Member, will emcee the event for the second-straight year. Pyne, who has served on the NFF Board since 2008, played offensive tackle at Brown, captaining the 1988 football team and earning All-Ivy and All-New England honors.
All four finalists were named first-team All-Ivy this season. Schwieger, Ortiz and Rask were unanimous selections and three of 11 players to receive first-team recognition for a second-straight season. Mathews earned the first-team spot at quarterback following his freshman season in 2010 when he was the unanimous choice as Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
2011 ASA S. BUSHNELL CUP FINALISTS
Mathews (Camarillo, Calif.) emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the entire country in 2011. He set Cornell and Ivy League records for passing yardage in a game (548 yards at Penn) and season (3,412 yards), while also setting Big Red records for touchdown passes (25), total offense (3,274 yards), completion percentage (.679) and passing efficiency (162.60). The first sophomore captain in Cornell football history, he ranked third nationally in passing yards per game and pass efficiency, fourth in total offense and 10th in points responsible for. A two-time Ivy League and national player of the week, Mathews posted two of the top three passing games in conference history and two of the top four passing totals in the FCS this season and ended the year with three 400-yard games and two 500-yard passing games, both Ivy records. Against the top three pass defenses in the Ivy League (Dartmouth, Penn and Brown), Mathews completed 70 percent of his passes and averaged 405.7 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions. His 341.2 yards per game was more than 100 yards per game higher than any other passer in the Ivy League. He became the first Cornell quarterback to earn first-team honors since Ryan Kuhn in 2005.
Mathews emerged as the team's starter by halftime of his first collegiate game. A week later in the home and Ivy opener against Yale, Mathews became the first Big Red freshman to earn a varsity start. He joined tailbacks Derrick Harmon (1981) and John McNiff (1989) as Cornellians earning the conference's top honor for a rookie after a record-breaking freshman campaign. Mathews established the school record for passing yards by a first-year player against Yale (248 yards) and ended his season with a record 1,723 yards and seven touchdowns. Mathews stood second among true freshman quarterbacks in passing in the Football Championship Subdivision. In Ivy play, he threw all seven of his touchdowns with only four interceptions while averaging 193.4 yards per game. He was a two-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week in 2010.
Schwieger (Norton, Mass.) provided quite an encore to a junior season in which he was co-winner of the Bushnell Cup, leading the Ivy League once again in rushing in 2011. His 1,310 yards on the ground are the second most in Dartmouth history, and ranks among the top 20 all-time by a player from the Ancient Eight. Schiweger currently ranks second in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision at 131.0 yards per game. Eight times he put up at least 100 yards in a game this year, making him the fifth Ivy player to accomplish the feat, and his 16 career games of 100 or more yards tie him for sixth in League history. Schwieger set a school record on Nov. 5 by amassing 257 rushing yards against Cornell on just 26 carries, a 9.9-yard average, to help Dartmouth defeat the Big Red and begin the first three-game winning streak for the Big Green in eight years. He scored at least one touchdown in seven of Dartmouth's 10 games, including tying a career-high with three in a 37-0 shutout win over Columbia. Against Brown, Schwieger took the hand-off 37 times and grinded out 137 yards and the game-winning touchdown in the 21-16 road win.
For his career, Schwieger registered 3,150 rushing yards, nearly 900 more than anyone in the Dartmouth annals and the 12th most in the Ivy League. He set a school record with 4,115 all-purpose yards as well, which also places him 12th in the conference record books. Just the fifth Big Green player to be chosen as an All-Ivy first-teamer three times, Schwieger was selected as the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week five times during his career. His 26 rushing touchdowns are the second most in the program's history, while his 156 career points rank sixth.
Ortiz (Avon Park, Fla.) not only received first-team honors for a second-straight year, but he did so as a unanimous coaches' choice for the second time in as many seasons. Despite being double-teamed constantly by opposing offensive coordinators, he led the Ivy League with 10 solo sacks. Ortiz ranked fourth among Ivy defenders with 14.5 tackles for a loss, had two fumble recoveries and forced one fumble. He was named the League's Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 14 after two first-quarter sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, a game-high 10 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery against Penn. Following the season, Ortiz earned Harvard's Frederick Greeley Crocker Award as the program's most valuable player. Ortiz, a 2010 AP All-American and three-time All-Ivy League selection, finished his career ranked second all-time in school history with 20 sacks while also collecting 37 tackles for loss.
Rask (Newport Beach, Calif.) capped an illustrious career in the Red and Blue with one of the best defensive seasons for any Penn player in the two-decade tenure of head coach Al Bagnoli. After leading the team in tackles with 65 last season, he finished with 83 stops in 2011 -- the most at Penn since 2006 when Joe Anastasio had 102. Rask had 11.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, six pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this season. He scored his first collegiate touchdown in his final game when he tipped a pass high into the air, corralled it, broke a tackle and and ran 30 yards for the score. Rask was an honorable mention All-Ivy selection as a sophomore and was a first-team choice in each of his final two seasons. Penn's first unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection since 2006, he finished his four years with 190 career tackles.
ASA S. BUSHNELL CUP HISTORY
Presented annually since 1970, the Asa S. Bushnell Cup honors its namesake, a 1921 Princeton alumnus and the commissioner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference from 1938 to 1970. The Bushnell Cup is presented by the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Football Officials and is awarded by a vote of the Ivy League's eight head football coaches to the players who display outstanding qualities of leadership, competitive spirit, contribution to the team and accomplishments on the field.
Beginning with the 2010 season, the Bushnell Cup is presented as a part of the festivities surrounding the NFF Annual Awards Dinner in New York City.
All-Time Recipient List
1970 - Jim Chasey, QB, Dartmouth & Ed Marinaro, RB, Cornell
1971 - Ed Marinaro, RB, Cornell
1972 - Dick Jauron, RB, Yale
1973 - Jim Stoeckel, QB, Harvard
1974 - Walt Snickenberger, RB, Princeton
1975 - Doug Jackson, RB, Columbia
1976 - John Pagliaro, RB, Yale
1977 - John Pagliaro, RB, Yale
1978 - Buddy Teevens, QB, Dartmouth
1979 - Tim Tumpane, LB, Yale
1980 - Kevin Czinger, MG, Yale
1981 - Rich Diana, RB, Yale
1982 - John Witkowski, QB, Columbia
1983 - Derrick Harmon, RB, Cornell
1984 - Tim Chambers, DB, Penn
1985 - Tom Gilmore, DT, Penn
1986 - Rich Comizio, RB, Penn
1987 - Kelly Ryan, QB, Yale
1988 - Jason Garrett, QB, Princeton
1989 - Judd Garrett, RB, Princeton
1990 - Shon Page, RB, Dartmouth
1991 - Al Rosier, RB, Dartmouth
1992 - Jay Fiedler, QB, Dartmouth
1993 - Keith Elias, RB, Princeton
1994 - Pat Goodwillie, LB, Penn
1995 - Dave Patterson, LB, Princeton
1996 - Chad Levitt, RB, Cornell
1997 - Sean Morey, WR, Brown
1998 - Jim Finn, RB, Penn
1999 - James Perry, QB, Brown
2000 - Gavin Hoffman, QB, Penn
2001 - Carl Morris, WR, Harvard
2002 - Carl Morris, WR, Harvard
2003 - Mike Mitchell, QB, Penn
2004 - Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Harvard
2005 - Nick Hartigan, RB, Brown
2006 - Jeff Terrell, QB, Princeton
2007 - Mike McLeod, RB, Yale
2008 - Chris Pizzotti, QB, Harvard
2009 - Buddy Farnham, WR, Brown & Jake Lewko, LB, Penn
2010 - Gino Gordon, RB, Harvard & Nick Schwieger, RB, Dartmouth
Six Bushnell Cup recipients have been named NFF National Scholar-Athletes: Dick Jauron (Yale, 1972), Kevin Czinger (Yale, 1980), Richard Diana (Yale, 1981), Tom Gilmore (Penn, 1985), Keith Elias (Princeton, 1993) and Nick Hartigan (Brown, 2005). Ed Marinaro (Cornell) is the only past recipient inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Jauron has been on the ballot for induction for the past several years. Yale senior quarterback Patrick Witt is a 2011 NFF Scholar-Athlete and one of the 16 recipients vying to be the 22nd recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. The trophy is named in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia.
Several past Asa S. Bushnell Cup recipients currently hold impressive coaching positions, including: Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys Director of Pro Scouting Judd Garrett, Holy Cross head coach Tom Gilmore, Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, Princeton offensive coordinator James Perry and Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens.