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Washington State’s Blake Mazza named to All-Pac-12 first team; Spokane’s Evan Weaver earns top defensive honor

UPDATED: Tue., Dec. 10, 2019

Washington State place-kicker Blake Mazza  reacts after a blocked kick during the first half against the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, at Martin Stadium in Pullman. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Washington State place-kicker Blake Mazza reacts after a blocked kick during the first half against the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, at Martin Stadium in Pullman. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Despite boasting the league’s most potent scoring attack at 39.2 points per game, Washington State didn’t place an offensive player on the All-Pac-12 first team, but eight Cougars were named to the all-conference teams released Tuesday afternoon.

Blake Mazza, a Lou Groza Award finalist who’ll have a chance to win the award given to the nation’s top kicker, was the only WSU player named to the all-conference first team. Quarterback Anthony Gordon, the first 5,000-yard passer in conference history, earned a second-team nod along with sophomore right tackle Abraham Lucas and true freshman linebacker Travion Brown, who made it as an all-purpose/special teams selection.

Spokane’s Evan Weaver, a Gonzaga Prep graduate, took home the conference’s award for Defensive Player of the Year after setting a Cal record for tackles in a season with 173. Utah running back Zack Moss was named Offensive Player of the Year, and Utes coach Kyle Whittingham earned Coach of the Year. USC quarterback Kedon Slovis was named Offensive Freshman of the Year, and Oregon defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux earned Defensive Freshman of the Year.

Four other Cougars received at least one all-conference vote from the panel of coaches that votes on the postseason teams and were named to All-Pac-12 honorable mention: running back Max Borghi, right guard Josh Watson, wide receiver Easop Winston Jr. and linebacker Jahad Woods.

Mazza was omitted from the preseason All-Pac-12 teams, voted on by media members, but he vaulted his way into the postseason conversation by converting on his first 18 field goals of the season – the longest streak in program history – and finishing 20 of 21. The redshirt sophomore from Plano, Texas, became the first WSU kicker to grab first-team honors since Drew Dunning in 2003. Mazza, who made 52 PATs, finished the regular season tied with the sixth-most points (112) by a kicker and had the most in the Pac-12.

Gordon, a redshirt senior who won the starting job in fall camp, joins predecessors Luke Falk and Gardner Minshew as a WSU quarterback to earn all-conference recognition. The Pacifica, California, native set WSU and Pac-12 single-season records with 5,228 passing yards and 45 touchdowns, becoming the 13th QB in college football history to go over 5,000 yards in a single season.

Lucas, a redshirt sophomore from Woodinville, Washington, is 2 for 2 on all-conference honors after being named to the second team as a freshman. He started all 12 games for the Cougars at right tackle and was considered the best pass-blocking offensive tackle in the country by Pro Football Focus College.

Brown was the only true freshman from WSU to be recognized, starting four games at nickel, while also rotating in at rush linebacker and middle linebacker. The Moreno Valley, California, native was a special teams standout for the Cougars, racking up four tackles on kickoff and punt duty.

Despite boasting what statistically was the league’s best receiving corps, the Cougars had one player, Winston, recognized. The redshirt senior broke out with 80 receptions (fourth in the Pac-12) and 11 touchdown catches (third).

Borghi, who earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honorable mention in 2018, finished second in the conference in scoring with 15 total touchdowns, was fifth with 114.8 all-purpose yards per game and led the conference’s running backs with 6.5 yards per carry.

Watson, a junior from Everett, earned all-conference recognition for the first time in his career. Woods, a junior linebacker, was honored for the second time. The San Diego native was second in the Pac-12 with 121 tackles – also ninth most in the country – and led WSU with 10 tackles for loss. Woods also had three sacks and two forced fumbles.

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