Thursday, December 10, 2009
Non-AQ players contending for awards tonight
By Graham Watson
All of college football’s major awards will be announced tonight live on ESPN during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards show hosted by Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit. The show will take place at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Three players from the nonautomatic-qualifying schools are up for awards tonight -- Houston quarterback Case Keenum is competing for the Davey O’Brien, Bowling Green receiver Freddie Barnes is vying for the Biletnikoff Trophy and Idaho guard Mike Iupati in contending for the Outland Trophy.
Keenum is up against Texas’ Colt McCoy and Florida’s Tim Tebow, Barnes is facing Texas’ Jordan Shipley and Notre Dame’s Golden Tate, and Iupati has Oklahoma State Russell Okung and Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh.
Here’s a look at what Keenum, Barnes and Iupati have accomplished this season:
Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Keenum led the nation in total offense (429.31 yards per game), passing (419.15 ypg) and touchdown passes (43), and led Houston to wins over three automatic-qualifying teams, including then-No. 5 Oklahoma State, and its first national ranking since 1991. He’s thrown for more than 500 yards four times this season and for more than four touchdowns six times. Keenum threw for 5,449 yards (fourth-highest total in FBS history) and 43 touchdowns with just nine interceptions this season. Keenum averaged almost 100 yards more of total offense than the next best quarterback.
Freddie Barnes, WR, Bowling Green
Barnes led the nation in receptions per game with 11.50 and ranked second in the country in receiving yards per game with 129.25. He led all Mid-American Conference receivers with 129 receptions, 1,482 yards and 14 touchdowns. Barnes posted double-digit receptions eight times this season, including a career-high 22 catches against Kent State. In that Kent State game, he also had a career-high 278 yards, his only 200-yard receiving game, but one of eight 100-yard receiving games of the season.
Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
Iupati is the anchor in the middle of an Idaho line that helped its offense become the nation’s No. 10 total offense with 451.33 yards per game. The Idaho passing offense, led by quarterback Nathan Enderle, was 11th in the country at 290.58 ypg. Both of those averages are the highest Idaho has produced in Iupati’s four seasons with the program. Iupati is widely considered one of the top offensive guards in the current NFL draft class.