BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The WKU football team enjoyed an evening dedicated to celebrating its second-straight winning season and its first bowl bid since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Thursday evening at the annual awards banquet at the Carroll Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green.
The team looked back on an unforgettable 2012 regular season that included wins over Kentucky, Southern Miss and Sun Belt Conference champion Arkansas State, while also looking ahead to the 2012 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl against Central Michigan on December 26 in Detroit, Mich.
WKU junior running back Antonio Andrews kept the most valuable player trophy in the running back family as he was named the team MVP. This marks the third-straight year that a WKU running back has earned the team MVP award, as former Hilltopper running back Bobby Rainey took home the honors in both 2010 and 2011.
Andrews, who was also recently named an all-Sun Belt Conference first team performer, has had a breakout season in his first year as the starting running back. Andrews did it all in 2012, rushing for 1,609 yards in the regular season, while handling punt return and kick return duties, along with piling up over 400 yards receiving. In all Andrews racked up 2,977 all-purpose yards in the regular season, which currently sits just 274 yards away from breaking Barry Sanders' (Oklahoma State, 1988) all-time record for all-purpose yards in a single season. Andrews currently leads the nation averaging 248.1 all-purpose yards per game, which ranks third all-time in FBS history.
Aside from Andrews, numerous other Hilltoppers took home awards Thursday night, including quarterback Kawaun Jakes and defensive end Quanterus Smith earning offensive MVP and defensive MVP honors, respectively. Jakes has already set the WKU single-season record for touchdown passes in a single season with 21, while Smith had a career year with 12.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss, finishing one sack shy of setting the Sun Belt Conference's single-season sack record, while tying the career sack record with 24 career sacks. Smith's 2012 season was cut short after a season-ending knee injury against Louisiana-Lafayette on November 17.
Jakes and Smith were two of the 19 WKU seniors recognized at the banquet. Below is a full list of individual awards that were handed out on Thursday.
2012 WKU FOOTBALL AWARDS:
Team MVP: Antonio Andrews
Offensive MVP: Kawaun Jakes
Defensive MVP: Quanterus Smith
Special Teams MVP: Bar'ee Boyd
Al Almond Memorial Award: Jack Doyle
The Al Almond Memorial Award is given in honor of longtime Bowling Green Optimist Club member Al Almond to recognize the Hilltopper athlete who most reflects Mr. Almond's devotion to character, personality, loyalty, ability, service and love of fellow man.
Jimbo DeVries Outstanding Walk-On Award: Garrett Schwettman
The Jimbo DeVries Award is named for former Hilltopper player James Stewart "Jimbo" DeVries who drowned in a tragic diving accident in 1995.
Offensive Scout Team Award: Stephon Brown
Defensive Scout Team Award: Julian Leslie
Captains Awards: Jack Doyle and Jamarcus Allen
Academic Excellence Award: Luke Stansfield
The Academic Excellence Award is given to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average who consistently focuses on academics as well as football.
Mike Ryan Football Family Award: Rick Thompson
The Mike Ryan Family Award is given to an individual who exemplifies service, commitment and loyalty to the WKU football program.
Jack Harbaugh Leadership Award: Kiante Young and Sean Conway
The Jack Harbaugh Leadership Award is named after legendary WKU head coach Jack Harbuagh, and is given to the players that exemplify strong leadership qualities that will be necessary in leading the team into the offseason.
Offensive Lineman Award: Adam Smith
Defensive Lineman Award: Jamarcus Allen
WKU Tough Man Award: Andrew Jackson
The Tough Man Award is given to the player that demonstrates extreme toughness and willingness to win throughout the season.