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Wednesday, November 30, 2011
English, Harnish win MAC honors

By Andrea Adelson

Eastern Michigan coach Ron English was selected MAC coach of the year after engineering a terrific turnaround, taking a program that went winless in 2009 to a 6-6 season in 2011.

Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish won the Vern Smith Leadership Award, as selected by the league coaches and given annually to the top player in the conference. Harnish also was selected the MAC offensive player of the year.

Harnish set a school single-season record with 4,043 total yards of offense as the Huskies earned a spot in the MAC title game against Ohio on Friday night.

Western Michigan defensive lineman Drew Nowak was selected defensive player of the year and Ohio kicker Matt Weller was selected special teams player of the year. Bowling Green running back Anthon Samuel was named freshman of the year.

English, in his third year at Eastern Michigan, went 2-22 in his first two seasons with the Golden Eagles. But this year, Eastern Michigan went 6-6 overall and 4-4 in conference play. Eastern Michigan had the third-best defense in the MAC and the fourth-best rushing offense.

Nowak tied for the lead in the MAC with 8.5 sacks and ranked second with 20 tackles for loss. He had 83 tackles this year.

Weller leads the conference with 22 field goals and his long of 49 yards is tied for the longest field goal made by any kicker in the conference this season.

Samuel rushed 144 times for 844 yards and five rushing touchdowns. His 844 yards rushing set a school record for the most rushing yards by a freshman.

Toledo led the way with five first-team selections. You can check out all the first, second and third-team selections here.

2011 All-MAC First Team Offense

QB: Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois

C: Scott Wedige, Northern Illinois

OL: Mike VanDerMeulen, Toledo

OL: Trevor Olson, Northern Illinois

OL: Joe Flading, Ohio

OL: Pat Boyle, Temple

TE: Evan Rodriquez, Temple

WR: Jordan White, Western Michigan

WR: Eric Page, Toledo

WR: Nick Harwell, Miami (Ohio)

WR: Kamar Jorden, Bowling Green

RB: Bernard Pierce, Temple

RB: Branden Oliver, Buffalo

PK: Mathew Sims, Northern Illinois

2011 All-MAC First Team Defense

OLB: Aaron Morris, Ball State

OLB: Khalil Mack, Buffalo

ILB: Brian Wagner, Akron

ILB: Dwayne Woods, Bowling Green

DL: Roosevelt Nix, Kent State

DL: Adrian Robinson, Temple

DL: Chris Jones, Bowling Green

DL: Drew Nowak, Western Michigan

DB: Jahleel Addae, Central Michigan

DB: Dayonne Nunley, Miami (Ohio)

DB: Desmond Marrow, Toledo

DB: Sean Baker, Ball State

P: Brian Schmeidebusch, Bowling Green

2011 All-MAC First Team Specialists

KR: Eric Page, Toledo

PR: Eric Page, Toledo