UB junior quarterback . . .
(Click Read More for details . . . )
Northern Illinois defensive end Sutton Smith was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year and also named Vern Smith Leadership Award winner. Smith was also MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.
Return specialist Diontae Johnson of Toledo was tabbed MAC Special Teams Player of the Year
Leipold is in his fourth season leading the Buffalo program and has the Bulls in the Marathon MAC Football Championship Game for the first time since 2008. Leipold has led the program to its first-ever 10-win season since making the move to FBS and joining the MAC in 1999. Leipold has the Bulls bowl eligible for the second consecutive season as the program’s win total has increased from two wins in 2016, six wins in 2017 and 10 wins in 2018.
Smith, a native of St. Charles, Mo., exploded on the college football scene in 2017 and led the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss as a sophomore as he earned consensus All-American status. Smith responded once again with another special season as he has started in all 12 games this season and ranks fourth in the nation with 13.0 sacks and sixth in the country with 21.0 tackles for loss. He ranks sixth on the Huskies with 46 tackles and is tied for the lead in the MAC with four forced fumbles and three recovered fumbles. Smith has added two blocked kicks as well. Smith is part of a NIU defense that ranks first in the MAC in total defense (344.0 ypg), scoring defense (20.9 ppg) and rush defense (107.0 ypg) as the Huskies posted a 7-5 overall record and their first West Division title since 2015. NIU is now bowl eligible for the 10th time in the last 11 years.
Jackson, a native of Norton Shores, Mich., started all 12 games this season for Buffalo and led the Bulls offense with 2,605 yards passing and 25 touchdowns on his 187-337 passing for a 55.5 completion percentage. His 2,605 yards and 25 passing touchdowns both rank second in the MAC.
Patterson, a native of Glendale, Md., led Buffalo and ranked fifth in the MAC with 874 yards rushing and his 12 touchdowns were tied for third in the league. Patterson appeared in all 12 games as a freshman and averaged 5.8 yards per carry and averaged 72.8 yards per game.
Johnson, a native of Ruskin, Fla., led the MAC in punt return average with 18.3 yards per return on 12 returns for 220 yards and one touchdown, an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown at Kent State on Nov. 15. Johnson also ranked second in the league with a 25.8 kickoff return average on his 16 returns for 412 yards and one touchdown, a 98-yard kickoff return for a score. For his career, Johnson has four returns for touchdowns – two punt returns and two kickoff returns.
2018 MAC Specialty Award Winners
Coach of the Year: Lance Leipold, Buffalo
Offensive Player of the Year: QB Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois
Special Teams Player of the Year: KR/PR Diontae Johnson, Toledo
Freshman of the Year: RB Jaret Patterson, Buffalo
Vern Smith Leadership Award Winner: DE Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois