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Montana State Bobcats football lands 5 first-team all-conference selections

Posted: 4:09 PM, Nov 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-26 18:09:17-05
Southeast Missouri State at Montana State

(Editor's note: Montana State athletics release)

BOZEMAN -- Montana State junior Troy Andersen made history Tuesday when he was named first-team all-Big Sky linebacker, joining four teammates on the league’s top squad. The five Bobcats landing on the top unit marked the program’s most since 2012.

The four Bobcats honored other than Andersen pick up their initial first team selection. Andersen, the 2018 unanimous co-first team all-league quarterback, is joined by offensive tackle Mitch Brott, linebacker Josh Hill, all-purpose player Travis Jonsen, and safety Brayden Konkol. Andersen is the only underclassman on the list, and by being honored at linebacker he becomes the first player in the two-platoon era selected as a first team player on both offense and defense.

Andersen logged 11.5 tackles-for-loss with 6.5 sacks this season in time limited by injury. He reeled in all-league honors at linebacker, but also rushed for 336 yards and seven touchdowns as a wildcat-style quarterback. He finished fifth in the league in sacks and sixth in tackles-for-loss in spite of the playing time restrictions. He and Hill join a list of elite Bobcat linebackers – Mac Bignell, Alex Singleton, and Jody Owens (twice) – as first team all-league selections this decade. “It’s awesome that Troy gets recognized as one of the best players in this league,” Choate said. “I think he’s one of the best 11 so he deserves to be a first team player.”

Brott becomes the first MSU offensive tackle selected since John Weidenaar, an appropriate honor because Brott is two games from matching Weidenaar’s Bobcat record of 49 career and consecutive starts in the Blue and Gold and Brott, from Billings, has tabbed the Manhattan product as a mentor during his redshirt season in 2015. Brott anchored the league’s top offensive line. MSU led the Big Sky in rushing by a wide margin, and allowed the fewest sacks. “I think he’s been one of the one of the most consistent players in this league,” Choate said of Brott.

“Number of starts alone shows that and it’s awesome for him to be recognized as one of the best offensive linemen in one of the best leagues in the country. I honestly think if we had a lineman of the year he would be the guy in this league. I’m happy for him, he’s very deserving, and if you get this honor you can have the opportunity be an All-American. I think he’s that caliber of player.”

Senior linebacker Josh Hill missed MSU’s first three Big Sky games this season, but his impact on the ensuing run was enormous. He finished the season with 48 tackles, five for a loss, with a fumble forced and one recovered in nine games. Since returning from his injury he’s averaged 7.5 tackles per game with five tackles-for-loss and the fumbles forced and recovered. “Josh Hill, what an awesome honor for him,” Choate said. “I think that speaks for how many people respect his game and how he goes about his business, and he was dominant in league games over the last six weeks of the season. He’s very deserving of that.”

Jonsen played a role reflective of his landing the all-purpose spot. He rushed for 432 yards, third on the team, with 471 receiving yards, second on the squad. He operated out of the quarterback spot multiple times every game in addition to his role as a receiver. He proved to be a dependable, versatile offensive weapon.

“Especially in the absence of Troy in a couple of games, the value that Travis brought to our run game, coupled with his ability to stretch the field vertically and quite honestly his tenacious coverage on special teams makes him the definition of an all-purpose player,” Choate said. “That was kind of the Troy Andersen award that was crealted last year because no knew where to put Troy and we didn’t have an all-purpose player (position on the All-Big Sky team). I think that’s a great way to honor Travis on the first team on offense.”

Konkol anchored the back end of Montana State’s defense, operating as one of the most physical defensive backs in the conference. He picked off two passes and broke up eight others, with 53 total tackles. “Brayden Konkol is our enforcer in the back end,” Choate said. “I’ve said it for a number of years, I think he’s one of the best open field tacklers in the in the conference so for him to be recognized on the first team is very meaningful.”

Senior defensive linemen Derek Marks, a tackle, and Bryce Sterk, an end, each landed on the second team in spite of eye-popping numbers. Marks logged 11.5 tackles-for-loss, second-most among Big Sky interior defensive linemen, while Sterk’s 13.5 sacks led the conference.

“There’s some great players on the defensive line and everyone edged each other out. In a large league like ours there’s a lot of guys that get left out. For Bryce Sterk, who’s recognized as one of the best defensive players in the country (by being named a Buck Buchanan Award finalist) to only be recognized as second team, his numbers are eye-popping. There are good players at Weber State, there’s good players at Sac State, so when those guys all stack up at the same position it tears the votes apart. The one thing that Sac State and Weber State had advantage on us in, as first place teams, they got more automatic selections, so that starts to skew things. They got four slots on each team automatically because they were co-champions. I don’t think that diminishes Bryce’s importance to us, to our team, and certainly he’s deserving of recognition. Derek Marks, a four-year starter, Mr. Bobcat, an unbelievable contributor to this organization, helped shape this (program). It’s awesome that (Marks and Sterk) get recognition.”

Offensive guard Lewis Kidd also reeled in second team honors, while four players landed on the third team: receiver Kevin Kassis, offensive guard Taylor Tuiasosopo, defensive tackle Chase Benson, and outside linebacker Amandre Williams. Punter Jered Padmos was named honorable mention.

“I’m glad that Lewis Kidd is starting to get recognized as one of the best offensive linemen in the league, so that was awesome,” Choate said. “I’m really happy for him. Kevin Kassis is so meaningful for us, a two-time captain. For him to get some recognition is very deserving. Some of the catches that he made, when we don’t throw the ball like some teams do, he’s in great company. Taylor Tuiasosopo, to have three of our offensive linemen recognized as all-conference is a testament to the job that (offensive line) Coach (Brian) Armstrong has done and to the job that (MSU Strength) Coach (Alex) Willcox has done in developing those guys in the weight room, too. I thought Chase Benson and Amandre Williams getting recognition as underclassmen sets them up for an awesome senior year and I expect to see them on the first team next year.”

One of the most gratifying characteristics of MSU’s group of honorees, Choate said, is that it reflects the importance his program places on line play. “You look at Bryce Sterk and Chase Benson and Derek Marks and even Amandre (Williams, a defensive end-outside linebacker hybrid), we’ve got seven linemen that are all-conference on both sides of the line of scrimmage. If you’re going to be a good team that’s where it always starts.”

Choate is also pleased that the number of Bobcats honored has increased. “To have that many recognized by the other coaches and know that they’re good players and very deserving to be on these teams, I’m satisfied with the fact that we’re getting some guys recognized,” he said. “It’s been a long struggle. I think each of our first three years here we only got one guy on the first team (All-America offensive guard JP Flynn in 2016, linebacker Mac Bignell in 2017, Andersen at quarterback last season), now we’ve got a number of guys recognized on both sides and hopefully we can continue to have that success. To the victors go the spoils and that’s why Sac State and Weber State have more guys on these teams, and hopefully next year and in the future we can continue to have success. A byproduct of that success is that those players get the recognition they deserve.”

2019 Big Sky Football All-Conference
Offensive Player of the Year: Kevin Thomson, QB, Sacramento State
Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Dante Olson, LB, Montana; Jonah Williams, DE, Weber State
Newcomer of the Year: Marcus Knight, RB, Montana
Freshman of the Year: Nick Eaton, LB, UC Davis

* - Unanimous All-First Team Selection
$ - Two-Time All-Big Sky First Team Selection
% - Three-Time All-Big Sky First Team Selection

First Team All-Big Sky

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
Player
Year
School
Quarterback
Kevin Thomson
Junior
Sacramento State
Wide Receiver
Samori Toure
Junior
Montana
Wide Receiver
J.J. Koski
Senior
Cal Poly
Wide Receiver
Pierre Williams
Sophomore
Sacramento State
Running Back
Josh Davis$
Sophomore
Weber State
Running Back
Elijah Dotson$
Junior
Sacramento State
Offensive Line
Zach Larsen*%
Senior
Southern Utah
Offensive Line
Mitch Brott
Senior
Montana State
Offensive Line
Wyatt Ming
Senior
Sacramento State
Offensive Line
Spencer Blackburn
Senior
Eastern Washington
Offensive Line
Chris Schlichting
Senior
Eastern Washington
Offensive Line
Ty Whitworth
Junior
Weber State
Offensive Line
Cole Habib
Senior
Northern Arizona
Tight End
Charlie Taumoepeau$
Senior
Portland State
Fullback
Clay Moss
Junior
Weber State
All-Purpose
Travis Jonsen
Senior
Montana State
Kicker
Luis Aguilar
Junior
Northern Arizona
Punt Returner
Jerry Louie-McGee*
Senior
Montana
Kick Returner
Nick Romano
Freshman
Idaho
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE



Tackle
Jared Schiess
Junior
Weber State
Tackle
Dariyn Choates
Senior
Sacramento State
End
George Obinna$
Senior
Sacramento State
End
Jonah Williams$
Senior
Weber State
Outside Linebacker
Troy Andersen$
Junior
Montana State
Outside Linebacker
Christian Ellis
Junior
Idaho
Inside Linebacker
Dante Olson*$
Senior
Montana
Inside Linebacker
Jace Lewis
Junior
Montana
Inside Linebacker
Josh Hill
Senior
Montana State
Defensive Back
Daron Bland
Junior
Sacramento State
Defensive Back
Brayden Konkol
Senior
Montana State
Defensive Back
Devon King
Sophomore
UC Davis
Defensive Back
Khalil Dorsey$
Senior
Northern Arizona
Defensive Back
Anthony Adams
Sophomore
Portland State
Punter
DJ Arnson
Junior
Northern Arizona
Special Teams
Emmanuel Daigbe
Junior
Portland State
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE



Quarterback
Case Cookus
Senior
Northern Arizona
Wide Receiver
Jeff Cotton
Senior
Idaho
Wide Receiver
Brandon Porter
Sophomore
Northern Arizona
Wide Receiver
Samuel Akem
Junior
Montana
Running Back
Ulonzo Gilliam
Sophomore
UC Davis
Running Back
Antoine Custer Jr.
Senior
Eastern Washington
Offensive Line
Nick Bianco
Seniors
Sacramento State
Offensive Line
Conlan Beaver
Junior
Montana
Offensive Line
Noah Johnson
Senior
Idaho
Offensive Line
Cy Sirmon
Senior
Montana
Offensive Line
Lewis Kidd
Junior
Montana State
Offensive Line
Tyler Whisenhunt
Senior
Cal Poly
Offensive Line
Tristen Taylor
Senior
Eastern Washington
Tight End
Marshel Martin
Freshman
Sacramento State
Tight End
Wes Preece
Senior
UC Davis
Fullback
Duy Tran-Sampson
Sophomore
Cal Poly
All-Purpose
Joe Logan
Senior
Northern Arizona
Kicker
Trey Tuttle
Junior
Weber State
Punt Returner
Cutrell Haywood
Sophomore
Idaho
Kick Returner
Wille Fairman
Senior
Northern Colorado
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE



Tackle
Derek Marks
Senior
Montana State
Tackle
Jesse Sims
Senior
Montana
End
Bryce Sterk
Senior
Montana State
End
Adam Rodriguez
Senior
Weber State
Outside Linebacker
Marcus Bruce
Senior
Sacramento State
Outside Linebacker
Nick Eaton
Freshman
UC Davis
Outside Linebacker
Auston Tesch
Senior
Weber State
Inside Linebacker
Marcus Hawkins
Junior
Sacramento State
Inside Linebacker
Tre Walker
Sophomore
Idaho
Defensive Back
Michael Walker
Senior
Northern Colorado
Defensive Back
Adkin Aguirre
Seniors
Idaho State
Defensive Back
Eddie Heckard
Freshman
Weber State
Defensive Back
Caelan Barnes
Senior
Sacramento State
Defensive Back
Robby Hauck
Sophomore
Montana
Punter
Doug Lloyd
Senior
Weber State
THIRD TEAM OFFENSE



Quarterback
Eric Barriere
Junior
Eastern Washington
Wide Receiver
Emmanuel Daigbe
Junior
Portland State
Wide Receiver
Kevin Kassis
Senior
Montana State
Wide Receiver
Andrew Boston
Sophomore
Eastern Washington
Running Back
Marcus Knight
Sophomore
Montana
Running Back
Milo Hall
Senior
Northern Colorado
Running Back
Kevin Smith
Junior
Weber State
Offensive Line
Dallen Collins
Senior
Idaho State
Offensive Line
Angel Villanueva
Senior
Montana
Offensive Line
Kaleb Levao
Senior
Eastern Washington
Offensive Line
Braxton Jones
Sophomore
Southern Utah
Offensive Line
Ben Bos
Junior
Weber State
Offensive Line
Garrett Stauffer
Senior
Portland State
Offensive Line
Taylor Tuiasosopo
Junior
Montana State
Tight End
Jayce Gilder
Senior
Eastern Washington
Kicker
Cody Williams
Sophomore
Portland State
Kick Returner
Judd Cockett
Junior
Southern Utah
THIRD TEAM DEFENSE



Tackle
Elijah Chambers
Junior
Sacramento State
Tackle
Chase Benson
Junior
Montana State
End
George Tarlas
Sophomore
Weber State
End
Jim Townsend
Senior
Eastern Washington
Outside Linebacker
Amandre Williams
Junior
Montana State
Outside Linebacker
Luke Holloway
Senior
Idaho State
Inside Linebacker
Kody Graves
Senior
Idaho State
Inside Linebacker
Matt Shotwell
Junior
Cal Poly
Defensive Back
Lloyd Hightower
Senior
Idaho
Defensive Back
Josh Sandry
Senior
Montana
Defensive Back
Preston Smith
Junior
Weber State
Defensive Back
Dehonta Hayes
Senior
Eastern Washington
Defensive Back
Carlton Johnson
Freshman
Southern Utah
Punter
Daniel Whelan
Junior
UC Davis

Honorable Mention
Quarterback: Dalton Sneed, Montana; Jake Maier, UC Davis; Mason Petrino, Idaho; Jacob Knipp, Northern Colorado.
Wide Receiver: Mitch Gueller, Idaho State; Tanner Conner, Idaho State; Lance Lawson, Southern Utah; Jayson Williams II, Eastern Washington; Khris Vaughn, UC Davis; Willie Fairman, Northern Colorado
Running Back: B.J. Perkinson, Sacramento State
Offensive Line: Jordan Ford, UC Davis
Kicker: Seth Harrison, Eastern Washington

Tackle: Bryce Rodgers, UC Davis; Dylan Ledbetter, Eastern Washington; Kenton Bartlett, Portland State; Anthony Del Toro, Portland State
End: Shawn Richard, Portland State; Josiah Erickson, Sacramento State; Myles Cecil, Cal Poly
Outside Linebacker: Alex Sims, Southern Utah
Inside Linebacker: Luke Nelson, Northern Colorado
Defensive Back: Kitu Humphrey, Cal Poly; Jerone Jackson, Northern Colorado; AJ Stanley, Southern Utah; Carter Nichols, Cal Poly
Punter: Jered Padmos, Montana State; Cade Coffey, Idaho