News release from the American Football Coaches Association:
No. 4 USF Cougars Football rake in all-MSFA MEL honors with 13 All-MEL 1st Team
Donley Coach of the Year for 10th time
FINDLAY, OHIO (November 18, 2015) – Returning American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-American Adam Sauder, two players who will lead their teams into the NAIA Championship Series and the Mid-States Football Association leader in tackles for a loss and sacks headline the 2015 MSFA All-League special awards for the 22-year-old association.
University of Saint Francis (Ind.) sophomore quarterback Nick Ferrer (Westfield, Ind.) is the MEL offensive player of the year. Ferrer is the second USF quarterback chosen for the honor and the seventh member of a USF football team to be named MSFA Mideast Player of the Year joining WR Jeremy Dutcher (2000), RB Cory Jacquay (2004), QB Chris Bramell (2005), LB Brian Kurtz (2006), RB Daniel Carter (2008) and OT Cam Edwards (2013).
Sauder of Taylor (Ind.) University is the MSFA Mideast League Defensive Player of the Year.
The Midwest League honorees are Stephen Simms of Saint Xavier (Ill.) as the offensive player of the year and Tim Smith of the University of St. Francis (Ill.) as the defensive player of the year.
Ferrer will lead unbeaten Saint Francis against Reinhardt University (Ga.) and Simms will help Saint Xavier battle No. 1-ranked Morningside (Iowa) in Saturday’s first round of the NAIA playoffs. Marian (Ind.) will also represent the MSFA in the post-season by hosting Campbellsville, Ky.
Kevin Donley, the only coach Saint Francis has had since introducing football in 1998 and in the midst of the school’s 17th straight winning season, is the MEL Coach of the Year after the Cougars went 6-0 to win the league title and 9-0 overall, the only unbeaten team during the regular season. This is Donley’s 10th MEL Coach of the Year award, his 18th in 37 years as a collegiate head coach. He is 287-121-1 overall and USF is 95-16 in MSFA MEL play under Donley’s guidance.
The 12-time, MEL Champion, NAIA fourth-ranked Cougars had 13 first-team selections, 3 second-team selections and 3 honorable mention for a total of 19 selections.
Earning the MWL coach of the year award is Joe Curry who coached St. Francis (Ill.) to a share of the MWL crown at 4-1 (8-3 overall) in his fourth season at the school. It is the Fighting Saints’ first title since 2011.
All Ferrer (6-5, 225) did was lead the MSFA in passing (307.4 yards per game) and efficiency (166 of 268, 3 interceptions) and passed for 33 touchdowns, the most in a single season since Jeremy Hibbeln set the USF record with 41 in 2000.
Sauder (6-foot-3, 255), a senior and a 2-time all-conference player, is eighth in tackles (52 solo, 45 assists) in the MSFA. He also has 8 tackles for a loss (39 yards), 2 sacks for 23 yards, 2 interceptions with a touchdown, 2 forced fumbles, 3 pass break ups and 5 passes defended.
The 5-8, 175-pound Simms is one of the most versatile MSFA players. The junior netted an association-leading 1,722 all-purpose yards with 273 rushing yards, 721 receiving, 106 in punt returns and an MSFA high 622 kickoff return yards.
A very dominating performer, the 6-2, 245-pound Smith, a junior, led the Fighting Saints’ defense with a MSFA-high 21 tackles for a loss of 114 yards and 10 quarterback sacks for 87 yards. He also had 57 tackles along with 3 pass breakups, 4 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick.
The lone 3-time all-conference player on the 2015 MSFA squads is Cameron Smith, a 6-1, 200-pound senior wide receiver at Saint Francis.