San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey, a Canyon Springs High School product, was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season Tuesday, and UNLV senior linebacker Tau Lotulelei was named first-team All-Mountain West.
Pumphrey is second in the nation in rushing with 1,908 yards and fourth in the league in rushing touchdowns with 15. The senior is the NCAA’s third-leading career rusher with 6,180 yards and needs 218 yards in his final two games to pass Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne (6,397) to become the NCAA’s career rushing leader. Ricky Williams of Texas is second with 6,279.
Pumphrey, who will play in the Mountain West title game at Wyoming on Saturday before closing out his college career in a bowl game, is 120 yards behind Texas running back D’Onta Foreman (2,028) for the national rushing lead, but should pass him, as the Longhorns’ season is over.
Lotulelei led the Rebels with a career-high 117 tackles this season and led the conference in tackles for loss with 16½.
The Maui native, who ranked 16th in the nation in tackles per game (9.8), is the first UNLV player to claim first-team all-conference honors since 2012, when his older brother, linebacker John Lotulelei, and kicker Nolan Kohorst were named. Tau Lotulelei finished with the most tackles by a Rebel since his brother tallied 120 in 2012.
Lotulelei also had 3½ sacks, three pass breakups and one forced fumble this season, creating the turnover that led to UNLV’s game-winning field goal in its 41-38 win Oct. 15 at Hawaii. Lotulelei, who was honorable mention all-league last season, finished fifth in career tackles at UNLV with 318.
Five Rebels earned honorable mention all-conference honors: senior safety Troy Hawthorne (107 tackles, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries); senior cornerback Torry McTyer (three interceptions, 12 pass breakups); senior center Will Kreitler; sophomore right tackle Nathan Jacobson; and junior defensive lineman Mike Hughes Jr. (two sacks).
Aztecs senior defensive back Damontae Kazee (five interceptions) was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, and San Diego State return specialist Rashaad Penny (two kick return touchdowns) captured Special Teams Player of the Year honors as the Aztecs became the second team in league history to sweep the offensive, defensive and special teams player of the year awards in back-to-back years. Texas Christian accomplished the feat in 2009 and 2010.
Wyoming linebacker Logan Wilson was named Freshman of the Year, and Cowboys coach Craig Bohl claimed Coach of the Year honors.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-383-0354. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.