Eight Cougars Grab Mid-Season Awards

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: October 30, 2008

University of Houston HOUSTON — Eight University of Houston Cougars football players were selected to the Phil Steele’s 2008 Mid-Season All-Conference USA teams.

Senior tight end Mark Hafner and senior defensive end Phillip Hunt were named to the First Team while six other Cougars were named to the Third team.

Hafner, one of the top tight ends in the nation, has surpassed his career-highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns and has five games left to play. He leads the Cougars with 52 catches and eight touchdowns and is second on the team with 569 yards receiving.

Last month he was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week after catching three touchdown passes against Air Force.

As for Hunt, he leads C-USA in sacks with 10, a total that has him ranked No. 1 nationally at 1.43 sacks per game. Hunt was the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week after leading the Cougars to a 45-20 win over UAB, a game in which he recorded three sacks.

Senior offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, junior kicker Ben Bell, junior punter Chase Turner, junior linebacker Matt Nicholson, sophomore quarterback Case Keenum and freshman wide receiver Patrick Edwards were all named to the C-USA Third Team.

Vollmer has started all seven games this season on an offensive line that has produced 544.3 yards and 39.3 points per game. Keenum leads the nation in total offense with 407.9 yards per game.

Keenum has thrown for 2,691 yards and 23 touchdowns while completing 68.8 of his passes.Outside of Hafner, one of Keenum’s other favorite targets is Edwards, who has 43 catches for a team-leading 604 yards and four touchdowns.

He also ranks second among freshman in receiving yards per game (86.3) at a national level.

The special teams tandem of Bell and Turner have been outstanding for the Cougars this fall. Bell has scored 55 points, while nailing all 31 of his PAT’s and has hit eight-of-10 of his field-goal attempts. Turner has a 48.1 average and is averaging only 3.1 points per game.

Nicholson, who has been one of the Cougars top defenders, leads the team in total tackles with 57, including 33 unassisted and 3.5 for losses. He also has one sack and one interception.