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Despite record, two Cougs earn All-American honors

Despite record, two Cougs earn All-American honors



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Football seasons often end in disappointment, even after winning years. And in the case of BYU, it's all bittersweet.

Though the 7-5 regular season may not reflect it, the Cougars had some quality talent on their team this year, namely the third-ranked rushing defense, fifth-ranked scoring defense and No. 2-ranked punter in the nation.

Many of those contributions are thanks to linebacker Kyle Van Noy and punter Riley Stephenson, who were named to the All-America Second Team, voted on by staff, writers and bloggers from CBS Sports.

Van Noy made his presence known from the very beginning of the season, racking up quite a hefty load: 11.5 sacks (10th nationally), 18.5 tackles overall (11th nationally), five forced fumbles (4th nationally), eight quarterback hurries, five pass breakups and an interception.

Brigham Young Cougars punter Riley Stephenson (99) punts during first half action as BYU plays Idaho in the Cougar's final home football game (Tom Smart, Deseret News)
Brigham Young Cougars punter Riley Stephenson (99) punts during first half action as BYU plays Idaho in the Cougar's final home football game (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

"I enjoy playing football, I enjoy low-scoring games where the defense is on the line and we're on the field at the end of the game," Van Noy said after the win over Utah State back in October. "Something that we can control when we're on the field is to have the offense with the ball at the end of the game trying to score on us."

And though the 2012 field goal and PAT kicking squad wasn't BYU's finest, the punter was one of its best.

Stephenson joins the list as BYU's third punter to earn an All-American award, averaging 47.3 yards per punt. He led the nation in 50-yard plus punts with 26. The Cougar punter also tied for second with 24 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, and his contributions allowed BYU to rank second as a team in net punting.

Stephenson is also a Ray Guy Award semifinalist, which awards the nation's best collegiate punter.

While Stephenson is a senior and will leave the world of college football after the Poinsettia Bowl game, Van Noy's future with BYU is still under wraps. Currently, there's talk of the junior entering the NFL draft instead of coming back for his senior year at BYU.

The Cougars close out the 2012 season Dec. 20 when they meet San Diego State (9-3) in the Pionsettia Bowl in San Diego.

Alex Hoeft

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