EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) – The UW-Eau Claire football team has announced the team award winners from the 2011 season.
Austin Neu (Jr.-Iron Ridge, Wis./Hustisford) was named the offensive MVP while Andy Neumann (Sr.-Germantown, Wis.) earned defensive MVP honors and Josh Albrecht (Fr.-Eau Claire, Wis./North) was selected as the special team's MVP.
Neu, a quarterback, led the entire conference in passing yards per game as he averaged 247.9 playing in 10 games. He threw 17 touchdown passes, third best in the league, and completed 65.7 percent of his passes (199-for-303), a mark that ranks No. 1 in Blugold football history for a single season. Neu, who was honorably mentioned on the All-WIAC team, currently ranks sixth on the Blugolds' all-time list for most pass completions and most passing yards in a career.
Neumann, an inside linebacker who was also named the team's defensive MVP last year, tied for first in the conference with two forced fumbles. He also totaled 60 total tackles, the second-highest mark on the team. Neumann recorded 1.5 sacks and made one fumble recovery while he was named a second team All-Conference selection this year.
Albrecht, a kicker, was second on the team in scoring with 59 points, a mark that also ranked sixth best in the league. He recorded nine field goals, which was the fourth most in a single season in Blugold archives. He also had 32 PATs, fifth most in a single season in program rankings. Two of Albrecht's field goals came from 42 or more yards, earning him two spots in the top 16 for longest field goals in Blugold history.
Newcomer of the year awards were presented to Abe Ward (Sr.-Faribault, Minn.) on offense, Sean Graham (So.-Hales Corners, Wis./Whitnall) on defense and Clint Larsen (Fr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial) on specials teams.
Ward started all 10 games on the offensive line at left guard this season.
Graham, an inside linebacker, led the Blugolds this season with 83 tackles (56 solo, 27 assists), the sixth most of any player in the WIAC. He was third on the team with three sacks.
Larsen returned five kickoffs and seven punts during the course of the year. He returned one punt for a touchdown, taking the ball back 83 yards to the end zone against UW-Stevens Point on Oct. 22. The return was the second longest in school history, behind only a 95 yard return that occurred in 1953, and was the ninth longest in conference history.