OTTAWA -- Quarterbacks Kyle Graves of Acadia, Kyle Quinlan of McMaster and Eric Dzwilewski of Calgary are in the running for the Hec Crighton Trophy which will be awarded to the most outstanding player in CIS football on November 22.
The three pivots were announced Thursday as conference most valuable players when the AUS, OUA and Canada West leagues unveiled their season award winners. The RSEQ recipients will be announced on Friday evening.
Graves, a fifth-year arts student from Barrie, Ont., repeated as Atlantic conference MVP. In his final season with the Axemen, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior led all AUS quarterbacks in passing yards (2,012), touchdown passes (14), and completion percentage (57.1), while committing only four interceptions in eight games.
He rushed 28 times for 167 yards and two majors, and was also the league’s best punter with an average of 40.3 yards. Acadia finished first in conference play with a 7-1 record and was 7-0 versus AUS opponents, the Axemen’s only loss coming against second-ranked Laval in interlock competition.
Quinlan, a fifth-year economics student from South Woodslee, Ont., was the ultimate dual threat for the reigning Vanier Cup champion and top-ranked Marauders, who were the only team in the country to keep an undefeated record during the regular season (8-0).
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound veteran led the nation with 19 TD passes – to a CIS-low two interceptions - in eight contests and ranked second in the country with 307.1 passing yards per game (2,457 total) and a 68.9 completion percentage. On the ground, the 2011 Vanier Cup MVP topped all CIS pivots with seven scores and tied UBC’s Billy Greene, last year’s Hec Crighton winner, for the lead among signal callers with 550 yards.
Dzwilewski, a third-year arts student from Boise, Idaho, set a single-season Canada West record thanks to his CIS-leading 70.6 completion percentage (154 of 218) and also led the conference in passing yards (2,290) and touchdown passes (15), while throwing only five interceptions in eight games.
The six-foot, 185-pound junior also had three rushing majors in guiding the Dinos to a first-place finish with a 7-1 mark. The former CIS rookie of the year (2010) also set a school record in Calgary’s conference finale when he completed 96.2 per cent of his passes (25 of 27).
Other AUS recipients who became CIS award finalists Thursday include StFX linebacker Brett Hubbeard (defensive MVP), Saint Mary’s defensive end Rob Jubenville (outstanding down lineman), Acadia running back Thomas Troop (rookie of the year), Saint Mary’s offensive tackle Matt Albright (Russ Jackson Award nominee) and Acadia head coach Jeff Cummins (coach of the year).
The other national nominees from OUA are McMaster linebacker Aram Eisho (defensive MVP), McMaster defensive end Ben D’Aguilar (outstanding down lineman), Western running back Yannick Harou (rookie of the year), Guelph defensive back Zach Androschuk (Russ Jackson Award nominee) and McMaster sideline boss Stefan Ptaszek (coach of the year).