NCAA FOOTBALL: SMSU announces its gridiron awards
MARSHALL – The Southwest Minnesota State University football program announced its 2013 awards Saturday at the program’s annual team banquet.
The members of the SMSU team selected nine individual awards with junior running back Tyler Tonderum earning the top award as the program’s most valuable player.
Senior wide receiver Anthony Dean was named the team’s Offensive Player of the Year, junior defensive end A.J. Page was named Defensive Player of the Year, while junior Mike Wenk was named the squad’s Special Teams Player of the Year.
Senior offensive lineman Jake Thiel earned the program’s “True Mustang Award.” The award is presented to the student-athlete who embodies the ideals of SMSU football on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
Senior offensive lineman Brandon Puffer earned the “Ben Bundy Award,” recognizing the team’s top offensive lineman.
Three Mustangs were recognized for their roles with the SMSU scout teams. The Defensive Scout Player of the Year award went to redshirt freshman linebacker Lance Boozer. Freshman quarterback Blake Gimbel earned Offensive Scout Player of the Year, while freshman Matt Iverson was named Scout Special Teams Player of the Year.
Tonderum, a 5-foot-10, 191-pound, native of Armstrong, Iowa, finished the season rushing for a school record 2,145 yards with a school record 19 touchdowns. He became just the 25th player in Division II history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single-season. A national finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, Tonderum has also been named first team All-NSIC South, Daktronics first team All-Region, Don Hansen All-Region and first team All-America by Beyond Sports Network in the past month.
Dean, a 6-foot-2, 203-pound senior from Tampa, Fla, caught 48 passes for a team-high 1,010 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is just the seventh player in program history and the first since 1993 to record 1,000 yards receiving in a single-season. Dean set an NSIC single-season record with 17 touchdowns receptions and finished second in the NSIC in receiving yards per game, fourth in scoring and 10th in receptions per game. He was named first team All-NSIC South and Don Hansen second team All-Region.
Wenk, a 6-foot, 194-pound junior from Hartford, S.D., led the conference with a 42.8-yard average on 34 punts and ended the season with a 41.5-yard average with 13 punts inside the 20-yard line. He had six punts of 50 or more yards, including a season-high 62-yarder at Wayne State. Wenk was named second team All-NSIC South for his efforts this season.
Thiel, a 6-foot-2, 289-pound senior from Oak Creek, Wis., started 32 career games at left guard and helped an offense this fall that averaged an NSIC best 535.6 yards and a league-high 288.5 passing yards per game. SMSU ranked third in the NSIC in rushing and was third in scoring. SMSU also ranked first in the conference with 307 first downs. He was named All-NSIC South honorable mention for his efforts.
Puffer, a 6-foot-1, 299-pound senior from Buffalo, Minn., started 34 games at center the past three seasons and helped an offense that averaged an NSIC best 535.6 yards and a league-high 288.5 passing yards per game. A first team All-NSIC South and second team All-Region honoree by both Daktronics and Don Hansen this fall, Puffer helped an SMSU offense than ranked third in the NSIC in rushing and was third in scoring. SMSU also ranked first in the conference with 307 first downs.
SMSU concluded the 2013 season with a record of 7-5, finished fourth in the 16-team Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and played in the Mineral Water Bowl. The seven victories is a program record at the Division II level and is tied for the third highest in team history.