Top-tackler Carter named Gophers’ MVP

Michael Dougherty

Sunday night, Gophers strong safety Tyrone Carter joined his coach Glen Mason on Rosen’s Sports Sunday, and on Monday the senior spent the evening gathering in an armload of honors.
Carter was presented the Bronko Nagurski Award as Minnesota’s team MVP for the second-straight year Monday. The 13th-ranked Gophers (8-3) held their annual banquet Monday night at the downtown Radisson.
He was also given the Carl Eller Award as the team’s outstanding defensive player. Carter was also named the Big Ten’s defensive player of the week for the fourth time in his career Monday.
With 397 career solo tackles, Carter needs five to break the all-time record for solo tackles. Ball State’s Greg Garnica, who played from 1986-89, holds the record.
Carter is a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which goes to the outstanding defensive player in college football at any position. He also is one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award that is presented to the nation’s best defensive back.
Senior running back Thomas Hamner won the Bruce Smith Award at the banquet Monday as the team’s outstanding offensive player. Freshman kicker Dan Nystrom took home the Bobby Bell Award as the top special teams player for the Gophers.
Ben Mezera was given the Butch Nash Award for competitiveness on the field and in the classroom. Fellow junior linebacker Sean Hoffman was given the Neil Fredenburg Award for courage and love of the game.
Junior center Ben Hamilton won the Paul Giel Award for total unselfishness and most concern about the University. And linebacker DaVonta Bell and receiver Ben Utecht were given the defensive and offensive demo awards, respectively, for outstanding performance of the demonstration teams.

Perplexing postseason
Men’s Athletics Director Mark Dienhart signed his resignation effective Dec. 6 so he could stick around to help sort out the complicated quagmire that is the bowl picture.
Dienhart participated in a teleconference with the other Big Ten schools Sunday afternoon and said the picture cleared up a little but still remains murky.
“It looks like Michigan will be moving into the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) and Michigan State would end up at the Citrus Bowl,” he said. “We will be among three teams (Penn State and Purdue) that will divide among the Outback in Tampa, the Alamo in San Antonio and the Sun Bowl in El Paso.”
Last season, Penn State beat Kentucky in the Outback Bowl 26-14, and Drew Brees led Purdue to a fourth-quarter rally to knock off Kansas State 37-34 in the Alamo Bowl. It was the second-straight year Purdue played in the Alamo Bowl.
Brees is a Texas native and is attractive to the Alamo because he helped draw 16,000 and 17,000 fans to the bowls played there.
Mason said he would understand if Penn State were picked ahead of the Gophers, but he would not take a leapfrog by Purdue sitting still.
“I guess if all of a sudden someone takes Penn State instead of us and we have beaten them, they did play one more game than us and they have another win,” Mason said. “I guess you could live with that, but if all of a sudden they go down to the fifth or sixth place team and not take us — I don’t think that’s right.”
On the teleconference, Dienhart said the individual bowl committees “get to pick using really no criteria except what they prefer.
“The only thing we know is that (the bowl committees) are less likely to take teams that were there the year before,” he said. “Which means the Outback would be less likely to take Penn State and the Alamo is less likely to take Purdue.”
That’s not saying the two bowls wouldn’t flip-flop, sending Purdue to the Outback, Penn State to the Alamo and the Gophers to the Sun Bowl. And Minnesota fans aren’t going to kick a gift horse in the mouth, but many people have said El Paso is not the most desirable location to spend time, let alone New Year’s Eve.
ù Tickets for the bowl game can be purchased through the Gophers ticket office at 624-8080 or 1-800-UGOPHER. Current season ticket holders and new season ticket holders have priority. Both can place orders now. Prices for tickets won’t be announced until the bowl announcement comes Dec. 5. Tickets will be mailed on or about Dec. 15.
Michael Dougherty covers football and basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]