Nov. 20, 2005
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Senior quarterback Brett Basanez (Arlington Heights, Ill./St. Viator) picked up 2005 Most Valuable Player honors at Sunday's Northwestern Gridiron Network Football Banquet. The event was held in front of a capacity crowd at Wilmette's Michigan Shores Club.
With a bowl game yet to play, Basanez already has shattered a number of single-season records, including passing yardage (3,206 yards), total offense (3,597 yards), completions (276), completion percentage (64.6) and pass efficiency (139.58). With his stellar season, Basanez has set nearly every major Northwestern career passing and total offense mark. In addition, he is now ranked second or third in every major Big Ten career category.
In Saturday's win against Illinois, Basanez became just the 36th player in NCAA Division I-A history and just the third player in Big Ten history to top the 10,000-yard mark for career passing yards. He ranks 17th on the NCAA's all-time list for total offense (11,128 yards) and 32nd on the NCAA's all-time list for passing yards (10,164). Basanez, who is the Wildcats' all-time winningest quarterback with 22 victories, leads the Big Ten this year in passing yards, total offense and completions.
Freshmen Tyrell Sutton (Akron, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban) and Kevin Mims (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) were the respective recipients of the NGN Newcomer of the Year awards. Sutton won the Offensive Newcomer of the Year award after making a sensational true freshman debut with 1,390 rushing yards and 16 rushing TD's. He also caught 37 passes for 329 yards and two TD's. Sutton's 1,390 yards (126.4 ypg, 6.0 ypc) are the fourth-most in a single season at Northwestern. He ranks fifth nationally in rushing average and second in the Big Ten.
A redshirt freshman, Mims was named the Defensive Newcomer of the Year after totaling 38 tackles, as well as 4 TFL's, in 2005. He registered a career-high nine tackles, including a sack, vs. Michigan. Mims delivered one of the year's biggest plays when he stripped Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton deep in NU territory, which allowed teammate Demetrius Eaton to pick up the fumble and rumble 86 yards for a touchdown.
Other awards that were handed out included: the Rashidi Wheeler Award (given to a player that best represents the spirit and enthusiasm of Wheeler): senior receiver Mark Philmore (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg), the George W. Ballantine Award (given for enthusiasm and leadership): senior long-snapper Chris Horton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington); the Thomas Airth Spirit Award: junior receiver Shaun Herbert (Oxon Hill, Md./Bishop McNamara); the Carnig Minasian Citizenship Award: junior linebacker Nick Roach (Milwaukee, Wis./Milwaukee Lutheran); the Wildcat Warrior Awards (for work ethic, toughness and attitude of a warrior): senior linebacker Tim McGarigle (Chicago, Ill./Saint Patrick), and senior offensive tackle Zach Strief (Milford, Ohio/Milford), and the Marcel Price Award (given to a player who best exemplifies the enthusiasm and dedication to the Wildcat program and is symbolic of Price's desire): senior defensive back Herschel Henderson (Houston, Texas/Clear Lake).
Co-captains Barry Cofield (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights), Tim McGarigle, Zach Strief and Brett Basanez were also recognized and honored.
Northwestern won five of its final seven games to finish 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten (third-place tie with Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa). Northwestern won six or more games for a third consecutive year -- a program first since 1931.
Next month, the Wildcats will make their fifth bowl appearance in the last 11 years. Northwestern will learn its bowl destination and opponent no later than Sunday, Dec. 4.