Big East Gives Honors

The Big East has made their decisions on which players would be honored, including some members of the Syracuse Orange. Players respond inside.

The Big East Conference has made its decision, handing out their postseason honors for the 2012 football season.

Offensive Player of the Year went to Louisville Cardinals' quarterback Teddy Bridgewater who threw for over 3,400 yards, had a completion percentage just under 70%, and achieved 25 passing touchdowns to a mere seven interceptions.

He was second-best in passing yards, first in completion percentage, first in touchdown passes, and had the fourth least amount of interceptions thrown in the Big East.

Defensive Player of the Year was awarded to Rutgers Scarlet Knights' linebacker Khaseem Greene who attained 5.5 sacks this season to go with two interceptions.

Greene had the second-most sacks among all Big East linebackers and first among conference linebackers in interceptions. He was fourth-best in both sacks and interceptions among all Big East defensive players this season.

Special Teams Player of the Year was achieved by Temple Owls' running back Matt Brown who had 790 total yards over 31 kickoff returns for an average of 25.5 yards per carry, and ran one kickoff back for a touchdown. On 17 punt returns, Browns attained 241 yards for an average of 14.2 yards per carry.

Brown's 790 kickoff return yards were first in the conference, while his average of 25.5 was third. He was the only Big East player to return a kickoff for a touchdown.

As far as punt returns, Brown's 241 yards were second-best, while his average of 14.2 yards sat atop all Big East punt returners.

Rookie of the Year went to Owls' linebacker Tyler Matakevich who amounted double-digit tackles in seven of the nine games he participated in.

The Syracuse Orange were not honored until the all-Big East first and second team rosters were released.

Offensively, both offensive tackle Justin Pugh and wide receiver Alec Lemon were given the nod for the Big East's first team honors; Lemon was the only player among all Big East teams to be voted to the first team unanimously.

Pugh returned from a shoulder injury with the Orange below .500 at 1-3. With Pugh, Syracuse would go on to lose a mere two of their final eight games. With Pugh back on the line, the rushing attack achieved no less than 120 yards on the ground in seven of those final eight games and scored a touchdown in all eight games, with multiple rushing touchdowns in five of the eight matches.

In Syracuse's final six contests, Pugh and the rest of the offensive line did not allow a multiple-sack outing by any defense they faced, giving up a mere three sacks in those six games.

Lemon caught 70 passes this season for a total of 1,063 yards, averaging 15.2 yards per carry and scoring seven times through the air.

He ends his collegiate career as the leader this season in receptions and receiving yards, eight in yards per catch, and fourth in touchdowns.

For Syracuse, Lemon has reached and surpassed the most career receptions in school history, setting the new bar at 199 receptions.

On the defensive side of the ball, safety Shamarko Thomas was the lone Syracuse player to be selected to the first team. He led all Orange defenders in solo tackles (60) and total tackles (84). Thomas also attained a sack and two interceptions on the season.

He tied for first in interceptions among all conference safeties.

Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib and defensive end Brandon Sharpe were placed on the all-Big East second team for offense and defense, respectively.

Nassib completed 283 of his 448 pass attempts (63.2%) for a total of 3,619 yards, and finished the regular season with 24 touchdowns to nine interceptions.

He was first in the Big East in completions, first in passing yards, third in completion percentage, second in touchdowns, and had the fourth least amount of interceptions.

In this season, Nassib placed himself atop almost every statistical category for a Syracuse quarterback in the team's long storied history.

Sharpe got to the opposing quarterback for six sacks this season, which placed him third overall among all Big East defenders and first overall for defensive ends and defensive linemen as a whole.

Upon hearing of the Big East awards, some of the Syracuse players took to social media to give their opinions.

Center Macky MacPherson, who was not placed on the first or second Big East team, along with all of the Orange linemen outside of Pugh said, "Wow. I can't believe this... beyond angry. Feel straight #disrespected. But don't worry, I'm gonna come back from this…We all will."

Fellow offensive lineman, Justin Pugh, who was honored on the first team shared his take on the decision to keep his fellow linemen off the list. "How does the best offensive line in the big east only have 1 guy on the first/second team?," expressed Pugh. " I've seen every other OL play...that's not right."

On the other side of the ball, Syracuse defensive tackle Deon Goggins, who was not chosen for either team shared his take, saying, "Tired of being disrespected on both sides of the ball. Str8 up. Politics of the game…#I'llShowEm."

On offense, Syracuse's three players chosen in total placed them over only South Florida, who had two, tied them with UConn, and put them behind Louisville, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Temple and Pittsburgh, who all had four.

On defense, Syracuse's two players chosen in total tied them for last place with Pittsburgh, placing them behind South Florida and Temple, who both had three, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Rutgers, who each had four, and UConn, who led all Big East teams with five.

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