The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 19, 2013

MSU dominates Northern Sun awards

By Chad Courrier

---- — MANKATO — Jon Wolf has never been named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference's offensive player of the week. Chris Schaudt's stats were down a bit this season.

And coach Aaron Keen's team did what many predicted.

So it wouldn't have been a surprise if the Mavericks had missed out on the individiual conference awards this season, but it appears that the Northern Sun coaches thought highly of the Mavericks' achievements.

"We had another undefeated (regular) season, and we have a lot of great players," Wolf said. "We deserved these awards."

Much like on the field, undefeated Minnesota State, which won its second straight conference championship, dominated the Northern Sun postseason awards, which were announced Tuesday. In addition to the top individual awards, 17 Mavericks received some kind of all-conference or honorable-mention award.

Wolf rushed for 1,047 yards and 13 touchdowns and completed 104 of 164 passes for 1,719 yards and 15 touchdowns. He's thrown only one interception and led the Northern Sun in pass efficiency.

"I was pretty shocked," Wolf said. "This is a pretty cool honor, and I'm grateful to be in the position I'm in. But we still have work to do, and that's what I'm focused on."

Wolf is the first quarterback — and 10th player — in Minnesota State history to rush for 1,000 yards, and he needs about 300 yards to crack the top 10 for single-season passing yards.

"I'm happy for him," Keen said. "He's had a really good year, and it's nice that he's been rewarded for the impact he's had on our success."

Schaudt, the career leader at Minnesota State for sacks and tackles for loss, made 40 tackles, including a team-best 8.5 tackles for loss, and four sack. He has 30 sacks and 54 tackles for loss in his career.

He shared the defensive award with Mary linebacker Grant Singer.

"Chris is the best defensive player in the conference," Keen said. "His statistics might be a little down, but if you watch the games, you see the impact he has on game plans. The type of protection he faces, he still has a great impact on the game."

Keen also was voted the conference coach of the year for the second straight season.

"We had another great year, even better than last year," Wolf said. "He deserves it."

Schaudt was one of seven Mavericks named to the South Division first-team defense, joining lineman Barry Ballinger, safety Jordan Hale, safety Nathan Hancock, linebacker Tyler Henderson, linebacker Isaac Kolstad and cornerback Patrick Schmidt.

Wolf, receiver Dennis Carter, offensive lineman Andrew Essman and center Josh Meeker were named to the South Division first-team offense, while Carter and kicker Sam Brockshus received first-team special teams awards.

Offensive lineman Chris Reed, defensive lineman Josh Gordon, cornerback Justin Otto and defensive lineman Kaleb Wendricks received South Division second-team honors, while tight end Bryce Duncan and running back Connor Thomas were honorable mention.

The Mavericks (11-0) have a bye in the opening round of the NCAA playoffs this week and will host the winner of Saturday's game between St. Cloud State and Henderson State on Nov. 30.