The Missouri Valley released its offensive, defensive, newcomer, freshman and coach of the year on Wednesday. I had a vote for the sixth straight year on these awards, again I couldn’t vote for any NDSU players, but for the purpose of this post, I will include Bison players.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR – Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State – This was a slam dunk to me. Stick’s numbers are fantastic, 22 touchdown passes, 11 rushing touchdowns and was named conference Offensive Player of the Week three times. Think of this, Stick hasn’t played the fourth quarter in six games this season, more than half of NDSU’s games. The MVP of the league and the division in my mind. (My vote was for Taryn Christion)
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF YEAR – Jabril Cox, LB, North Dakota State – This was a tighter vote, but if you take Cox off the field, how different a team is NDSU defensively? Cox racked up 68 tackles so far this season, he has four sacks and four interceptions, two returned for touchdowns. This comes on the heels of him being the Newcomer and Freshman of the year last season. What a start to his career. (My vote was for Jonas Griffith from Indiana State)
COACH OF THE YEAR – I voted for Curt Mallory from Indiana State and deservingly so, he won the award. Mallory did an amazing job with the Sycamores, taking them from a winless doormat to what should be a playoff team, preparing for its postseason opener Saturday. The resources are not there in Terre Haute, but Mallory has found a way to win, claiming five straight victories to end the season. Two of Indiana State’s stalwarts, Ryan Boyle and Jonas Griffith return next season for a team that opens 2019 against Les Miles and Kansas.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR – I voted for Ryan Boyle, the transfer quarterback from Iowa that took over at Indiana State. Boyle didn’t play the first two weeks for the Sycamores, but took over in week three and never looked back. Boyle threw 12 touchdowns and led the conference in completion percentage. I saw him play for the first time at South Dakota State, where he had 2 rushing and 2 passing touchdowns in a game ISU should have won. He was great that night and I’m curious on how he improves for 2019.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR – My vote was for Missouri State’s Jordan Murray, while the award went to South Dakota State’s Pierre Strong. Strong has become the guy for the Jacks after Isaac Wallace got hurt earlier in the year. Strong finished the year with three consecutive 100 yard games and has added a nice compliment to Christion and his ability to run and throw. Strong racked up six touchdowns in the last two games, and a guy to watch as the FCS Playoffs begin for SDSU in two weeks.
The all-conference team will be unveiled on Monday, which NDSU should have plenty of representation.