ST. LOUIS — Missouri Valley Football Conference champion North Dakota State swept the league's five major coach and player of the year awards Wednesday as selected by a vote of the league's head coaches, media and sports information directors.
First-year head coach Matt Entz was named the Bruce Craddock MVFC Coach of the Year, defensive end Derrek Tuszka was named Defensive Player of the Year, and quarterback Trey Lance was named Freshman, Newcomer and Offensive Player of the Year. Lance is the first freshman to earn the league's top offensive award.
Entz, who spent the previous five seasons as North Dakota State's defensive coordinator, inherited a team that lost 24 seniors and 15 full-time starters. He led NDSU to the No. 1 national seed for the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs with a 12-0 record, which is the best start by a first-year coach in NDSU and MVFC history.
Tuszka, a senior from Warner, S.D., is the MVFC's active career leader with 26.5 sacks, which ranks sixth all-time at NDSU. Tuszka ranks third in the conference with 10.5 sacks this season and 10th in the FCS with 0.95 sacks per game. He has 37 total tackles including 15.5 tackles for loss plus three pass breakups, one forced fumble and six quarterback hurries.
Lance, a redshirt freshman from Marshall, Minn., is the FCS leader in passing efficiency (187.5) and yards per passing attempt (9.99) and ranks second in completion percentage (.689). He has thrown 220 career passes with 23 touchdowns and zero interceptions, and his 2,187 passing yards this year are sixth in MVFC history by a freshman quarterback.
Lance is the top rushing quarterback in the MVFC and second leading rusher at NDSU with 741 yards, 7.0 yards per carry and 10 TDs.