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Harvard's Chapple, Princeton's Catapano Named 2012 Bushnell Cup Recipients as Football Players of the Year

Harvard's Chapple, Princeton's Catapano Named 2012 Bushnell Cup Recipients as Football Players of the Year

Press Conference Video | Video Features: Mike Catapano | Colton Chapple 
Photo Gallery (Courtesy of Gene Boyars)

Season Stats: Mike Catapano | Colton Chapple | AJ Cruz | Jeff Mathews

NEW YORK -- Two seniors capped off their collegiate careers in front of a captive crowd as Harvard quarterback Colton Chapple and Princeton defensive lineman Mike Catapano were crowned the 2012 recipients of The Asa S. Bushnell Cup, which honors the Ivy League Football Players of the Year.

Chapple was unveiled as the League's Offensive Player of the Year and Catapano was announced as the League's Defensive Player of the Year for the 2012 season at a special reception and press conference in the famed Waldorf=Astoria Hotel as part of the festivities surrounding the 55th National Football Foundation (NFF) Annual Awards Dinner.

Chapple is the seventh Harvard player to be honored as a Bushnell Cup recipient, following Jim Stoeckel (1973), Carl Morris (2001, 2002), Ryan Fitzpatrick (2004), Chris Pizzotti (2008), Gino Gordon (2010) and Josue Ortiz (2011). This marks the seventh time in 12 years that a Crimson player has earned Bushnell Cup recognition and makes him the 15th quarterback in Ivy League history to receive the award.

Catapano is the seventh Princeton player to be bestowed with the Bushnell Cup, following Walt Snickenberger (1974), Jason Garrett (1988), Judd Garrett (1989), Keith Elias (1993), Dave Patterson (1995) and Jeff Terrell (2006). He is the first Tiger from the defensive side to receive the Bushnell Cup since Patterson in 1995 and is just the second-ever Defensive Player of the Year as the award was established prior to the 2011 season.

The two were selected as Bushnell Cup finalists, along with Brown senior defensive back/return specialist AJ Cruz and Cornell junior quarterback Jeff Mathews, by a vote of the Ivy League's eight head coaches. Mathews joined 2010 Co-Bushnell Cup recipient and 2011 finalist Nick Schwieger of Dartmouth as just the second player to be twice named a Bushnell Cup finalist. Mathews was the 2011 Bushnell Cup recipient as Offensive Player of the Year. Cruz ended his stellar career as the 41st player in Ivy League football history to be selected first-team All-Ivy three times and the 10th Brown player to be honored three times on the first team.

Chapple (Alpharetta, Ga.) finished the regular season as the second-rated passer in the country with a rating of 161.51. He achieved Harvard single-season records for total offense (3,169 yards) and touchdown passes with 24, surpassing the previous high-water mark of 18. The recipient of Harvard's Frederick Greeley Crocker Award as the program's most valuable player accounted for 256.7 passing yards per game with a 66 percent completion percentage, while rushing for 602 yards and nine touchdowns. For his career, he recorded five games with at least four touchdown passes -- no other Harvard QB has more than two such performances (Fitzpatrick).

Chapple's efforts directed a Harvard offense that ranked fourth nationally in scoring offense with an Ivy League record 39.4 points per game. Harvard ranked fourth nationally at over 487 yards of offense per game and was incredibly consistent with both the rushing and passing games ranking among the top 20 nationally. For his efforts, he was named first-team All-Ivy and was the recipient of the New England Football Writers' Gold Helmet Award as the region's player of the year.

Catapano (Bayville, N.Y.) completed a dominant season on the Princeton defensive line, earning unanimous selection to the All-Ivy first team. He led the Ivy League with 12 sacks and ended the regular season ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision with 1.2 sacks per game. He ranked second in the Ivy League in tackles for loss with 15.5, which was only a half tackle off the League lead, and ranked ninth nationally in that category. The two-year co-captain ended the season with 41 tackles, and he had five games with at least two tackles for loss, as well as five games with at least five tackles.

Catapano was at his best in Ivy League competition, when he led Princeton to its biggest turnaround in more than two decades. He had multiple sacks in four of the seven Ivy games and had at least half a sack in six games. He added five pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles during the season. After the Tigers were the seventh-ranked defense in the Ivy League in 2011, Catapano helped Princeton improve to the third-best scoring defense in 2012. Princeton produced its first winning season in Ivy League play since 2006 and remained in the championship hunt until the final Saturday.

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 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.

From 1970 to 2010, the Bushnell Cup recognized an Ivy League Player of the Year (or co-Players of the Year if there was a tie in voting). Beginning with the 2010 season, the award was presented as a part of the festivities surrounding the NFF Annual Awards Dinner with four finalists named a week prior to the presentation. In 2011, the Ivy League began recognizing both an offensive and a defensive player of the year.

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
2011 - Offensive Player of the Year: Jeff Mathews, QB, Cornell
           Defensive Player of the Year: Josue Ortiz, DT, Harvard
2012 - Offensive Player of the Year: Colton Chapple, QB, Harvard
           Defensive Player of the Year: Mike Catapano, DL, Princeton

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.

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.