Cardinal hog awards
Luck, Stanford coach claim Pac-12 honors
STANFORD, Calif. – The Pac-12’s top individual honors are heading to Stanford this season.
Andrew Luck won the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year award Monday and David Shaw took home the honor for the league’s best coach.
Luck became the fifth player to twice win the award, voted on by league coaches. He joins USC’s Reggie Bush, Washington State’s Rueben Mayes, Stanford’s John Elway and Southern California’s Charles White in that elite class.
The Heisman Trophy hopeful threw for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns, breaking the Stanford single-season record of 32 he set a year ago. He also has 80 touchdown passes in his career, eclipsing Elway’s mark of 77 – and doing it in only three years.
Shaw, the former co-offensive coordinator, took over for Jim Harbaugh this season and has guided the fourth-ranked Cardinal (11-1, 8-1) to consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time. Stanford is in position for a second straight BCS bowl, with a 53-30 loss to No. 8 Oregon the only thing keeping the program out of the league title and BCS championship games.
The conference’s other top honor stayed in the Bay Area.
California linebacker Mychal Kendricks was named Defensive Player of the Year. The senior leads the Golden Bears and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with eight tackles per game and 96 total.
Kendricks is also Cal’s active career leader in several defensive categories, including tackles (248), tackles for loss (35) and sacks (13 1/2). The Bears’ defense held seven opponents to 15 or fewer points this season.
USC wide receiver Marqise Lee and Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas shared freshman offensive honors and USC linebacker Dion Bailey was awarded Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.
Lee is rapidly rising to the level of great Trojans receivers, finishing with 73 catches for 1,143 yards and 11 touchdowns. He ranks fifth in the league with 6.1 receptions per game and 95.2 receiving yards per game.
Thomas formed a powerful one-two combo with LaMichael James in the Ducks backfield. He has 1,908 all-purpose yards, holds the Ducks freshman record with 16 TDs and returned two kickoffs for scores this season.
Bailey tied for the team lead with 81 tackles, including a season-best 14 against Arizona.
Despite serving the second and final year of a postseason ban that is keeping the program out of the inaugural league title game, USC had the most players on the all-conference first-team with seven. Stanford had six and Oregon five.
USC receiver Robert Woods was the only unanimous first-team selection.