The South Dakota State University football team celebrated its 2007 Great West Football Conference championship and senior running back Cory Koenig received the Jim Langer Award as team most valuable player during the squad's banquet Sunday afternoon.
A native of Underwood, Iowa, Koenig led the team and ranked second in the GWFC for
rushing during the 2007 campaign, tallying 1,266 yards with 15
touchdowns. A first-team all-conference performer and honorable mention All-America selection by the Sports Network, he posted six 100-yard games
during the 2007 season, including each of the four league games — the
only GWFC player to accomplish the feat — with a career-high of 259
yards Oct. 20 versus Cal Poly.
Also honored Sunday were senior offensive lineman Mitch Erickson with the Adam Timmerman Award for offensive MVP, senior linebacker Justin Kubesh with the Doug Miller Award as defensive MVP and senior punt returner Paul Aanonson, who received the Adam Vinatieri Award as special teams MVP. Kubesh also received the Josh Ranek Effort Award.
Erickson, a Hutchinson, Minn., native, anchored a Jackrabbit offensive line that helped produce averages of 34.2 points and 362.5 yards per game. Erickson, who started all 44 collegiate games in which he played at either guard or tackle, earned first-team all-GWFC three times and was named to numerous All-America teams in 2007.
Kubesh, from Olivia, Minn., ranked third on the team and fourth in the league in tackles with 95, an average of 8.6 per game, en route to earning first-team all-conference honors. He also recorded one sack for the SDSU defense that led the league in scoring defense.
Aanonson, a Cambridge, Iowa, native, set SDSU single-season records with 34 punt returns and 482 punt return
yards in 2007 — an average of 14.2 yards per return. His 94-yard punt
return for a touchdown against North Dakota State was the second
longest in school history and helped the Jackrabbits to their first
conference title since 1963.
Kicker Parker Douglass was named the team's Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the highest grade-point average among the senior class. The Columbus, Neb., product was honored on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Second Team and the Football Championship Subdivision Athletic Directors Association Academic All-Star Team each of the past two seasons.
In addition, the team honored three players on the scout team for their efforts: redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jared Crumly, Hartington, Neb.; freshman offensive lineman Woody Orne, Fairfield, Iowa, and freshman defensive back Anthony Wise, The Colony, Texas, for special teams.
The Jackrabbits closed out the season with a 7-4 overall record, completing a 4-0 record in the GWFC to claim their first conference title since 1963. SDSU will begin spring drills in late March.