Sports and Outdoors

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ball State announces award winners

From the Ball State Athletic Office:

Ball State first-year head football coach Pete Lembo announced the team's award winners for the 2011 season at the annual Football Honors Banquet.

The John Magnabosco Award, which goes to the team's Most Valuable Player, was presented on offense to Briggs Orsbon and on defense to Sean Baker. The Magnabosco Award is named in honor of Ball State's head football coach from 1935-52. Magnabosco is the winningest football coach in Ball State history with 68 victories.

Orsbon, a senior wide receiver for the Cardinals and an All-MAC Second Team choice, completed his Ball State career in 2011 with a perfect 4.0 GPA as a finance and risk management major. Orsbon was also named a 2011 Capital One Academic All-American and was a candidate for the 2011 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award. Orsbon, a two-time Capital One Academic All-District selection, served as one of the Cardinals team captains as a senior. He became only the second player in Ball State history to tally 200 or more career receptions and ended with 213 career catches, which ranks second all-time in Ball State history. Orsbon became only the sixth player in Ball State history to post over 2,000 career receiving yards and finished with 2,218, which ranks fifth all-time at Ball State. Orsbon played in 50 games in his four-year career. As a senior in 2011, Orsbon managed a team high 66 catches for a team best 649 yards with a team leading four touchdown receptions. He also led the Cardinals with 31 kick returns and 616 kick return yards plus averaged 19.9 yards per return. Orsbon averaged a team high 106.7 all-purpose yards per game as a senior.

Baker, a senior safety for the Cardinals, set the Ball State career interception record as a junior. The 2011 All-MAC First Team selection completed his career with 18 interceptions. Baker, who was the solo recipient of the Magnabosco Award as a junior, was the active leader in career interceptions among all Football Bowl Subdivision players in 2011. He recorded two interceptions in 2011 -- one vs. Central Michigan and one vs. Army. A team captain as a junior and a senior, Baker ranked third on the team with 95 tackles, including two tackles for loss and one sack, despite missing two games in 2011 with an injury. Baker also tallied one forced fumble and one fumble recovery as a senior. Baker led the Cardinals with a career high 18 tackles vs. Toledo plus led Ball State with 11 tackles at South Florida.

Jahwan Edwards, a true freshman running back, was named the recipient of the John Hodge Award as Ball State's Most Valuable Freshman. The Hodge Award is given in memory of the 1974 Cardinal Varsity Club Chairman who died in 1977. The CVC is an organization of benefactors to Ball State's intercollegiate athletics program.

Edwards rushed for 786 yards on 178 yards with 11 rushing touchdowns in 2011. He rushed for a career high 123 yards on a career best 25 attempts, including a career long rush of 28 yards at Ohio. Edwards rushed for a career best three touchdowns vs. Army, and that performance marked the most rushing TDs for a Ball State player since Oct. 24, 2009. Edwards tallied his first 100-yard rushing contest when he gained 112 yards vs. Buffalo.

Scott Kovanda, a junior punter, and Jamill Smith, a sophomore wide receiver/return specialist, were named co-recipients of the Bill Reynolds Special Teams Award. The award is named in memory of Reynolds, who spent 31 years as a volunteer in the Ball State athletics department with an emphasis on the football program prior to his death in the summer of 2000.

Kovanda, who was one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award that goes to the nation's most outstanding collegiate punter, ranked 22nd in the country in punting with a 43.5 average. Kovanda punted 61 times for 2,654 yards, including a long punt of 72 yards. He forced opponents to start inside the 20-yard line 22 times in 2011, and helped Ball State rank 18th in the nation in net punting. Kovanda, who owns a 3.90 grade-point average as a finance major, was also named to the Academic All-MAC Team and the All-MAC Third Team in 2011.

Smith averaged a team high 23.3 yards per kickoff return, including a career long 78-yard kickoff return at Eastern Michigan. Smith was named to the All-MAC Second Team as a punt return specialist after tallying eight returns for 87 yards and a 10.9 average in 2011. In addition, Smith managed 40 catches for 422 yards and three touchdowns in 2011.

Ryan Hartke, a senior defensive end with a 3.40 GPA as an accounting major, was named the recipient of the Gene Booker Academic Award. The Academic Award has been given annually since 1978 and was named in honor of Gene Booker for the first time in 2011. Booker was a member of Ball State's 1949 football team, which is the only unbeaten and untied team in the school's 87 years of football. Hartke tallied 37 tackles, including seven tackles for loss and three sacks with one fumble recovery in 2011. He received honorable mention on the Academic All-MAC Team in 2011.

Joshua Howard, a senior safety, received the Mark Hays Inspiration Award, which is given to the person who demonstrates the greatest ability to motivate and inspire his teammates. The award is given in the memory of the late son of Kermit and Mary Ellen Hays, who are longtime fans and supporters of Ball State's athletics program.

Howard was fourth on the team with 84 tackles in 2011 plus added a team high three interceptions. He also managed one tackle for loss, three fumble recoveries and one blocked kick. Howard tallied his third fumble recovery of the season at Northern Illinois and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown. He recorded a career best 13 tackles in the season finale vs. Toledo.

The Bill Meitzler Scout Team Players of the Year were Jared Scaringe on offense and Keenan Noel on Defense. This award is given in honor of the former Cardinal Varsity Club Board member and longtime fan and supporter of Ball State football. Scaringe was a redshirt freshman wide receiver for Ball State in 2011, while Noel redshirted as a true freshman cornerback for the Cardinals last fall.

Ball State's football program gave out two new awards in 2011 -- the Paul Schudel Strength and Conditioning Award and the Dave McClain Leadership Award. Adam Morris received the Schudel Award, while Kreg Hunter and Andrew Puthoff shared the McClain Award.

The Schudel Award is named in honor of Ball State's football coach from 1985-94 and led the Cardinals to the 1989 and 1993 Mid-American Conference Championships. He guided Ball State to its first ever NCAA Division IA bowl games with appearances in the 1989 California Raisin Bowl and the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl. Schudel completed his career with 60 wins, which was second in Ball State history, and ranked fifth in the Mid-American Conference with 47 victories.

The McClain Award is given in memory of the deceased Dave McClain, who was Ball State's head football coach from 1971-77 and guided the Cardinals to a 46-25-3 overall record. He guided the Cardinals into the Mid-American Conference and NCAA Division I football. McClain led Ball State to the 1976 MAC Championship in only the Cardinals second season in the conference. McClain's final three Ball State teams posted a combined 26-7 overall mark and a 13-4 MAC mark.

Ball State finished the 2011 season with a 6-6 overall record under the guidance of Lembo. The Cardinals won six games for the fourth time in 10 years, and posted wins in 2011 over Indiana, Army, Buffalo, Ohio, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan.

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