Two Louisville players, sophomore quarterback Brian Brohm and senior defensive end Elvis Dumervil, have received Big East postseason awards. Brohm was named Big East Offensive Player of the Year, while Dumervil earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. Rutgers junior return specialist Willie Foster garnered Special Teams Player of the Year accolades.
West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez and freshman running back Steve Slaton were also rewarded after helping guide the Mountaineers to a Big East title. Rodriguez was named the league's Coach of the Year. Slaton was tabbed as the conference's Rookie of the Year.
The All-Big East First and Second Teams were also announced. All selections were made by the league's head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players.
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Brohm helped lead Louisville to a 9-2 overall record and a 5-2 conference mark in the Cardinals' first season as a member of the Big East. Louisville accepted an invitation to play in the Toyota Gator Bowl versus Virginia Tech on Jan. 2. Brohm completed 207-of-301 passes (68.8 percent) for 2,883 yards, 19 touchdowns and just five interceptions this season. He led the BIG EAST in passing efficiency (166.7), completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns. Brohm ranks second nationally in passing efficiency and 17th in total offense (284.7).
Dumervil also won the 2005 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given annually to the best defensive player in college football. He led the nation this season with 20 sacks (1.82 per game) and 10 forced fumbles (0.91). He was second in the country in tackles for loss with 22 (2.0). Dumervil registered nine sacks in his first two games of the season to break the two-game NCAA Division I-A record.
Foster was the top return specialist for a Rutgers team that went 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the Big East to earn a spot in the Insight Bowl versus Arizona State (Dec. 27) – the program's first bowl appearance since the 1978 Garden State Bowl. Foster was among the conference leaders in both kickoff and punt return average. He returned 15 punts for 164 yards (10.9 avg.) and one touchdown. Foster also returned 27 kickoffs for 633 yards (23.4 avg.) and one score.
Slaton anchored one of the nation's top rushing attacks. West Virginia ranks fifth nationally in rushing yards per game (262.5). The true freshman, who didn't start his first game until Oct. 8 at Rutgers, finished the season with 924 yards rushing on 179 attempts (5.2 avg.). Slaton also rushed for 14 touchdowns and caught two more. He ranks third in the conference in rushing (102.7 ypg.) and second in scoring (10.7 ppg.).
Rich Rodriguez won Coach of the Year honors for the second time in his five-year career at West Virginia. He also earned the honor in 2003. This season, West Virginia (10-1, 7-0 Big East) won the Big East title and is the conference representative in the BCS. The Mountaineers will play Georgia in the Nokia Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2. WVU has won at least a share of the Big East title in each of the last three years. This is the first time since 1993 that the Mountaineers have posted an undefeated mark in league play. In addition, West Virginia has 10 wins in a season for the first time since 1993 and just the fifth time in school history. Currently in his fifth season at the helm of the Mountaineers, Rodriguez owns a 38-22 record (.633).
2005 BIG EAST FOOTBALL AWARDS
BIG EAST OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Brian Brohm, Louisville, QB, Sophomore, 6-4, 224, Louisville, Ky./Trinity
BIG EAST DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Elvis Dumervil, Louisville, DE, Senior, 6-0, 256, Miami, Fla./Miami-Jackson
BIG EAST SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Willie Foster, Rutgers, WR, Junior, 5-10, 170, Miami, Fla./Miami Central
BIG EAST ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Steve Slaton, West Virginia, RB, Freshman, 5-10, 195, Levittown, Pa./Conwell-Egan
BIG EAST COACH OF THE YEAR
Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia, 38-22 (.633) - 5th Season at WVU