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December 9, 2013

Princeton's Epperly, Harvard's Hodges Named 2013 Football Players of the Year, Bushnell Cup Recipients

Press Conference Video | Photo Gallery (Courtesy of Gene Boyars)
Season Stats:
Quinn Epperly | Zach Hodges | Caraun Reid | John Spooney

NEW YORK -- It was only fitting that players from the teams sharing the 2013 Ivy League football title were the two sharing the stage at the famed Waldorf=Astoria Hotel as Princeton junior quarterback Quinn Epperly and Harvard junior defensive lineman Zach Hodges were named this year's recipients of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup, which honors the Ivy League Football Players of the Year.

Epperly took home the League's Offensive Player of the Year award and Hodges was tabbed with Defensive Player of the Year honors at a special reception and press conference as part of the festivities surrounding the 56th National Football Foundation (NFF) Annual Awards Dinner. Carried live on The Ivy League® Digital Network, the presentation was made in front of a capacity crowd of Ivy League and NFF administrators, notable alumni, dignitaries, families and friends.

Epperly is the eighth 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), Jeff Terrell (2006) and Mike Catapano (2012). He is the 16th quarterback in Ivy League history to receive the award and the third Tiger signal-caller to do so, joining Jason Garrett and Terrell.

Hodges is the eighth 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), Josue Ortiz (2011) and Colton Chapple (2012). This marks the eighth time in 13 years that a Crimson player has earned Bushnell Cup recognition, but just the second time for a Harvard player from the defensive side of the ball, joining Ortiz who won the inaugural Defensive Player of the Year in 2011.

The two were selected as Bushnell Cup finalists, along with Princeton senior defensive lineman Caraun Reid and Brown senior tailback John Spooney, by a vote of the Ivy League's eight head coaches. A three-time first-team All-Ivy selection, Reid overcame double- and triple-teams all season to become one of the League's most disruptive forces on the line to close his career. Spooney, considered the fastest man in the Ivy League having won the 100 meters three-straight years and the 200 meters twice at the League's Outdoor Track & Field Championships, led the conference in rushing and became the seventh player in school history to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a single season.

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.

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 Player of the Year 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
2013 - Offensive Player of the Year: Quinn Epperly, QB, Princeton
           Defensive Player of the Year: Zach Hodges, DL, Harvard

Player of the Year Finalists
2010 - Trey Peacock, WR, Princeton
           Billy Ragone, QB, Penn
2011 - Nick Schwieger, RB, Dartmouth
           Erik Rask, LB, Penn
2012 - Jeff Mathews, QB, Harvard
           AJ Cruz, DB/RS, Brown
2013 - John Spooney, RB, Brown
          Caraun Reid, DL, Princeton

Seve 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.