2013 Football Players of the Year Finalists Announced
Photos courtesy of Brown Athletic Communications, Harvard Athletic Communications and Princeton Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Princeton junior quarterback Quinn Epperly and senior defensive lineman Caraun Reid, Harvard junior defensive lineman Zach Hodges and Brown senior tailback John Spooney were named the finalists for the 2013 Asa S. Bushnell Cup, which honors the Ivy League Football Players of the Year.
Epperly and Spooney are finalists for Offensive Player of the Year, while Hodges and Reid are finalists for Defensive Player of the Year. It marks the first time finalists from the same team (Epperly and Reid) are up for the trophy since the award went to a finalist format in 2010.
The 2013 presentation of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup is Monday, Dec. 9, the day before the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) Annual Awards Dinner, at a special reception and press conference beginning at Noon in the Vanderbilt Room of the famed Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York City. The presentation will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will be streamed live and free of charge on The Ivy League® Digital Network.
The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) and the Ivy League are partnering for the fourth-consecutive year to co-host the presentation of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup. The four finalists, along with their head coaches, will be on hand at the presentation.
George Pyne, NFF Board Member and President of IMG Worldwide's Sports & Entertainment Group, will once again emcee the event, which will feature two offensive and two defensive finalists along with their respective head coaches. Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris will be on hand to unveil the winners' names in front of a packed crowd of media representatives, NFF Board members and notable Ivy League football alumni and dignitaries.
2013 ASA S. BUSHNELL CUP FINALISTS
Epperly (Knoxville, Tenn.) rewrote portions of both the Ivy League and Princeton records books en route to one of the greatest seasons in program history. He became the first player in Ivy League history to account for more than 40 touchdowns in a season, matching the school's single-season passing touchdown record of Doug Butler (25, 1983) and coming within one of matching the school's single-season rushing touchdown record of Keith Elias (19, 1994). The junior signal-caller missed the single-season completion percentage record by the slimmest of margins as his 68.0 percent finished second to Jason Garrett (68.2 percent, 1988).
Epperly set an NCAA record with 29 straight completions in Princeton's 53-20 victory over Cornell. He followed that game with another record-setting performance in the Tigers' 51-48 triple-overtime win at Harvard, establishing single-game school records for both completions (37) and passing touchdowns (six). He set an Ivy League record by earning the Offensive Player of the Week honor six times, including five in a row. His six weekly honors followed Princeton's six Ivy League victories.
Epperly ended the season ranked first nationally in points responsible per game (26.6), sixth in both completion percentage and scoring, and seventh in rushing touchdowns.
Hodges (Atlanta) completed his junior season as one of the best defensive lineman in the country. He made 40 tackles, including 11.5 stops for a loss, and recorded 6.5 sacks. He ranked fifth in the nation with four forced fumbles and also recovered three fumbles. Hodges, a unanimous All-Ivy League first team selection, paced the Ancient Eight in sacks and was second in tackles for a loss. After just three seasons in Cambridge, he already stands fifth in school history with 18.5 career sacks.
Hodges, who helped Harvard rank seventh in the nation in rush defense (97.3 yards allowed per game), recovered two fumbles, including one for a 53-yard touchdown in the Crimson's opener at San Diego. He followed that performance with three tackles for a loss against Brown on Sept. 28. Hodges forced and recovered a fumble at Holy Cross and then recorded a season-high two sacks at Cornell.
Reid (Bronx, N.Y.), a returning All-America and 2014 Senior Bowl invitee, led the Ivy League in sacks in Ivy games (5.5), and finished second to teammate Jason Ray in tackles for loss in conference games (9.0). The three-time first-team All-Ivy honoree overcame double- and triple-teams all season to become one of the League's most disruptive forces on the line.
Reid ended his career in brilliant fashion, recording four tackles for loss and three sacks in the season finale at Dartmouth. He is the fourth player in Princeton history to be named to the All-Ivy first team three times and the first since Matt Evans (1996-98).
Spooney (Northfield, Ill.) led the Ivy League in rushing with in all games (130.0 yards per game) and conference-only games (153.7 yards per game). His 130.0 per-game average ended the season ranked fifth best in the nation. With 1,170 yards in his senior campaign, Spooney became the seventh player in school history to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a single season. He rushed for 232 yards against Penn, 186 yards against Columbia and 166 yards against Dartmouth.
Considered the fastest man in the Ivy League, Spooney is a three-time Heptagonal Outdoor Track & Field champion in the 100 meters and electrified crowds this season with four runs over 70 yards, twice scoring on the game's opening play from scrimmage.
Spooney opened the game against Penn with a stunning 93-yard touchdown run, the third-longest run in school history. He came back in the same game with a spectacular 94-yard touchdown scamper, the second-longest run in school history and the ninth-best in League history. He is the first Ivy League running back to have two runs of 90 or more yards in the same game. Against Princeton, Spooney opened the game with a 71-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and had a 73-yard touchdown sprint against Rhode Island.
Despite playing just 16 career games, Spooney, who did not play football during his junior year to run track, completed his career as one of the top rushers in school history, finishing with 1,545 career rushing yards to rank eighth all-time at Brown.
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 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. Beginning with the 2011 season, the award began recognizing Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, honoring each as a recipient of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup. Two offensive finalists and two defensive finalists are named with the Players of the Year unveiled at the presentation.
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
Seven 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), Nick Hartigan (Brown, 2005) and Jeff Mathews (Cornell, 2013). Ed Marinaro (Cornell) is the only past recipient inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Several past 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, Princeton offensive coordinator James Perry and Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens.