The Award Goes To...

It's time to hand out a few awards following conference play on the way into the bowl season. This will be a two-part set for defense, followed by a two-part set for offense, then five overall team awards.

Mr. Kaopectate goes to the player who has best stopped the run all year. This one goes to sophomore defensive end Jeremy Beal. He has started all 13 games and been a major factor in all of them. Beal has 54 tackles, which ties for fifth on the team. He has the most tackles for loss out of any players on the team at 14, causing opponents to lose a total of 85 yards on the year. Beal has the most sacks for the Sooners at 8.5 for a loss of 70 yards. He has four quarterback hurries, which also ranks first on the team. No one else has more than one. In addition to this, he has three forced fumbles, so he has been a constant force in plugging the gaps up front.

Freshman Phenom goes to the most sensational freshman player. Redshirt freshman outside linebacker Travis Lewis equally deserves the Most Valuable Defensive Player along with Gerald McCoy, but he is also a lock for the most important freshman to the starting lineup. This year, he has only accumulated 135 tackles, including 12 for a loss of 38 yards. Lewis has 3.5 sacks for -21 yards. He has broken up two passes, picked off four for 108 return yards and also forced a fumble. His youth leadership by stepping up in the presence of the loss of middle linebackers Ryan Reynolds and Austin Box has proved to be very important in the Sooners' run to the national championship game.

Mr. Consistency goes to the player who has been most reliable on the field. Senior strong safety Nic Harris has proved to be more than worthy of this honor. When Reynolds went down with his Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury against Texas, he stepped up and played at the "Mike", or middle linebacker, position for the Sooners. Once the Sooners got Box ready to perform, Harris assumed his role back at the strong safety position. He is tied with Beal for the fifth most tackles on the team at 54. He has forced three fumbles, broken up five passes and returned a fumble for nine yards. His consistent senior leadership earns him the honor of Mr. Consistency.

Hardest Hitter goes to the player who has delivered the deadliest blows to opposing offensive personnel: The Sooners have battered their offensive opponents in the Big 12 while on defense, but it's hard to think of any better hits than sophomore defensive back Quinton Carter's last weekend in the Big 12 Championship against Missouri. He was third on the team with eight tackles and also had a breakup in last Saturday's game. He has 34 tackles on the season and has been a solid contributor at his position. Even when some of the best talent in the nation in receivers Michael Crabtree, Dez Bryant and Jeremy Maclin have been on the opposing sideline, he has brought with him the constant mind set that he's going to lay a huge lick on them.

Fumble Force King goes to the player that forced opponents to cough it up the most times. Going into the National Championship Game against Florida, junior linebacker Keenan Clayton leads the team with five forced fumbles. He had one fumble return for 53 yards in the Sooners' 65-21 blowout victory over Texas Tech. Afterwards, teammates teased him for not being able to make it three more yards to the end zone. Nevertheless, he has hit opponents hard and jarred the ball loose more than anyone else on the team. Clayton also ranks third on the team with 76 tackles, and he has 4.5 sacks for a loss of 37 yards. He has also been a steady force in that banged-up linebacker corps. throughout the year.

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