ST. LOUIS (NDSU Athletics) - North Dakota State University claimed three of the top five honors in the Missouri Valley Football Conference on Wednesday, Nov. 22, as selected by a vote of the league's media, head coaches and sports information directors.
NDSU head football coach Chris Klieman David Samson / The Forum
Chris Klieman was selected as the Bruce Craddock Coach of the Year for the first time in his career. Linebacker Jabril Cox is the third player in conference history to sweep the Freshman of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards, joining Northern Iowa quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen and Youngstown State running back Martin Ruiz, and he is the first Bison player to win either award.
Klieman, who won his 50th game as NDSU head coach last week at Illinois State, is just the fifth Bison coach to reach that mark and the second fastest to 50 wins behind Ron Erhardt. He has a 50-6 record at NDSU and has guided the Bison to their seventh straight Missouri Valley Football Conference championship.
Klieman has been a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award in 2014, 2016 and this year. The Bison are 28-4 in the MVFC the past four seasons, have gone 30-5 against FCS Top 25 teams, and have an FBS Top 25 win over No. 11 Iowa. North Dakota State is 10-1 this season and has an FCS-best six Top 25 victories.
Cox, from Kansas City, Mo., is a finalist for the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award presented to the FCS Freshman of the Year, and he is a two-time MVFC Newcomer of the Week. Cox leads NDSU with 52 tackles and 9.0 tackles for loss and has 4.0 sacks, one interception, two breakups, three QB hurries, one forced fumble and one recovery. He is NDSU’s leading tackler on special teams.
Cox played all 11 games and made four of the last five starts after being thrust into the lineup for the second half at Youngstown State. He was named STATS FCS National Freshman of the Week after making a season-high eight tackles including two sacks and a key TFL in overtime of the win at YSU. His 32-yard interception return at Illinois State set up a four-play scoring drive.
Western Illinois linebacker Brett Taylor was voted Defensive Player of the Year and South Dakota quarterback Chris Streveler was selected as Offensive Player of the Year.
The full All-Missouri Valley Football Conference team will be announced Monday, Nov. 27, followed by the MVFC All-Newcomer Team on Tuesday, Nov. 28, and the MVFC All-Academic Team on Wednesday, Nov. 29.