Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford was voted as coach of the year in the Mountain West Conference, but the West Division-champion Bulldogs had only one player on the all-conference first team and four on the second team.
Linebacker Jeffrey Allison is on the first team, while kicker Jimmy Camacho, center Aaron Mitchell, wideout KeeSean Johnson and defensive end Tobenna Okeke made the second team in balloting that was released on Wednesday.
“That’s just the title. It’s a whole team thing,” Tedford said of the coach of the year award. “That belongs to the whole staff. It belongs to all of the players. I have very little to do with that. It’s really everybody else.
“Program-wide, what we’ve been fortunate to accomplish this year is a reflection on the coaches and the players. Really, it’s all about them. They did all the work and they’re the ones playing betweeen the lines. It’s nice for the program. I think the people associated with this team, the staff and the players, can take a lot of pride in that because they’re the ones who earned. it.”
San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny is the offensive player of the year in the conference and Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch the defensive player of the year. Penny also is the special teams player of the year, and UNLV quarterback Armani Rogers is the freshman of the year in the conference.
Eleven Fresno State players gained honorable mention: safety Mike Bell, cornerback Jaron Bryant, offensive tackles Christian Cronk and David Patterson, defensive tackle Malik Forrester, linebacker George Helmuth, safety Juju Hughes, quarterback Marcus McMaryion, offensive guards Micah St. Andrew and Netane Muti and defensive end Robert Stanley.
But having only one player selected first-team all conference was unprecedented for a division winner in the Mountain West.
Since the conference started divisional play in 2013, the fewest first-team all-conference selections for a West or Mountain champion had been three by Fresno State in 2014 and by Utah State in 2013 and the fewest on the first and second teams was five by the Bulldogs in 2014 and by Air Force in 2015.
The Bulldogs to make the first team in 2014 were wideout Josh Harper, defensive tackle Tyeler Davison and free safety Derron Smith. Running back Marteze Waller and guard Cody Wichmann were on the second team that season.
In 2013, when the Bulldogs beat Utah State in the championship game, they had four first-team and five second-team selection.
Quarterback Derek Carr, wideout Davante Adams, offensive tackle Austin Wentworth and Smith were the first-team selections. Harper, Davison, tight end Marcel Jensen, kick returner Isaiah Burse and linebacker Ejiro Ederaine were on the second team.
And in 2012, when the Bulldogs won the Mountain West in its first season in the conference, it had seven first-team selections and two on the second team.
Carr, Adams, Wentworth, Davison, Smith, running back Robbie Rouse and safety Phillip Thomas were on the first team and defensive lineman Andy Jennings and linebacker Travis Brown were on the second team.
The fewest first-team selections for a conference champion before divisional play is three, by Utah in 2003. The Utes had five players on the second team that season.
Allison, the Bulldogs’ only first-team selection, has been defensive player of the week in the conference twice this season. He is leading the team and tied for eighth in the conference with 103 tackles, 8.6 per game, and leads a unit that is leading the Mountain West in scoring defense and third-down defense, tied for first in sacks, second in total defense and third in tackles for loss.
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
FRESNO STATE VS. BOISE STATE
- Saturday: 4:45 p.m., Albertsons Stadium (36,387) in Boise, Idaho
- Records: Bulldogs 9-3, 7-1 Mountain West; Broncos 9-3, 7-1
- TV/radio: ESPN/KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600).
- Of note: The Bulldogs are playing in their third Mountain West Conference championship game, having beaten Utah State in 2013 and lost at Boise State in 2014. The Bulldogs have 18 players from that 2014 team on the roster and four who played in that game – wideout Da’Mari Scott, outside linebacker Justin Green, kicker Kody Kroening and defensive tackle Nate Madsen. Madsen has been ruled out of the game due to a leg injury suffered in the Bulldogs’ victory over Boise State in their final regular-season game. Boise State is 8-1 against Fresno State on its home field and has won eight in a row, all of them coming by 10 or more points. The Bulldogs’ victory was in their first trip to Boise in 1984.