Why should this nominee be considered for the Broyles Award?
When Utah’s head coach Kyle Whittingham brought Andy Ludwig back on his staff as offensive coordinator in 2019, he was looking for someone to bring creativity and fun back to the Utah offense – and that is exactly what he has done. Ludwig has transformed the Utah offense, and specifically the Utah quarterback room, into a dynamic and powerful weapon for the Utes each year. His ability to be a player’s coach and also an analytical driven stats man has shown that he is as versatile as his offense. His ability to instill a sense of trust in his players is unmatched with every player on the offensive unit following their captain each Saturday without doubt.
Coach's Past Performance
In his first season as offensive coordinator, Ludwig led the Utes to a record-breaking season on offense. In 2019, the Utes led the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game (201.4), passing efficiency (174.05), completion percentage (72.6%) and third-down conversion rate (46.3%). The Utes broke the Pac-12 record for completion percentage in 2019 (72.6%). That season, Utah scored 30 or more points 10 times, the most by a Utah team since Ludwig was the offensive coordinator in 2008. The Utes also topped the 500-yard mark for total offense five times in 2019, their most since 2005. In his first stint at Utah, he was named a finalist for the FootballScoop Offensive Coordinator of the Year after Utah led the Mountain West and ranked 15th nationally in scoring (36.9) in 2008. In 2005, the Utes led the MWC in total offense (473.0) and passing efficiency offense, also ranking nationally in those categories (12th and 10th). In 2005 and 2006, Utah finished second in the league in passing offense and finished 12th in the nation in 2005. The 2007 Utes ranked second in the league in rushing offense.
Team Record and Standings
Utah is 6-3 overall and 5-1 in Pac-12 play.
In conference play, Utah leads the Pac-12 in scoring offense (38.5), touchdowns scored (31), total offense (466.0), rushing offense (253.3) and rushing touchdowns (21). Utah ranks 16th in the FBS and second overall in the Pac-12 in rushing offense (219.0), also ranking 23rd in the FBS and first in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (35.4). The Utes have recorded 450 yards or more of total offense in six games this season, including in the last five. Utah has averaged 489.3 yards of offense in the last five games. Utah has scored over 35 points in five games this season with four of those coming in conference play. The Utes have 20 scoring drive of over 70 yards this season with 15 coming in the last five games. The Utes have had three different players rush for 100 yards in a game this season, including all three in one game (at Stanford) with the Utes being the only team in the country that has had three players rush for 100 yards in a game. Utah has rushed for 250+ yards in back-to-back games (vs. UCLA, at Stanford) with their 441 rushing yards at Stanford ranking fourth in school history.
Individual Player Stats
After making a quarterback change four games in, the Utes have thrived under sophomore Cameron Rising who ranks in the top-half of the Pac-12 in just six starts. He ranks sixth in completion percentage (.635), passing efficiency (141.4), points responsible for per game (11.5) and passing touchdowns (12). He ranks ninth overall in ESPN’s QBR Rating (79.6) as the highest rated Pac-12 QB this season. In Pac-12 games only, he ranks third in completion percentage (.639) and is fourth in pass completions (108) and total offense per game (254.83). On the ground, sophomore running back Tavion Thomas ranks sixth in the FBS and first in the Pac-12 in rushing touchdowns (14), also ranking third in the Pac-12 and 23rd in the FBS in rushing yards per carry (6.1). In Pac-12 games only, Thomas ranks third in the league in rushing yards per game (101.50), while scoring 12 of his 14 touchdowns in Pac-12 play. The Utes also have a duo of tight ends that rank highly in receptions per game and yards per reception with Brant Kuithe ranking second among Pac-12 tight ends in receptions per game (3.6) and Dalton Kincaid ranking fourth among league TEs in yards per reception (14.9). Both Kincaid and Kuithe have scored four receiving touchdowns, which leads all Pac-12 TEs. ” “Super Senior” Jaylan Foster is having an All-America campaign. The former walk-on who began his career at Gardner-Webb, leads the team with 74 tackles from his safety position, including a career-high 13 stops against Tennessee, and is second in the country with five interceptions, tops in the SEC. It’s the most interceptions in a season by a Gamecock since Ko Simpson picked off six passes in 2004. He is sixth in the SEC with 8.1 tackles per game. Foster owns 5.0 tackles for loss from his safety position including a pair of sacks. In addition, he forced a pair of fumbles in the win over Troy, both coming in the fourth quarter with the Trojans in Carolina territory, helping preserve the win. Foster was named a Sporting News Midseason All-American and is one of 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which recognizes the nation’s top defensive back. He has also been nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy. A returning first-team All-SEC selection, Kingsley Enagbare leads the team with 6.0 tackles for loss including 4.5 sacks this season and has been credited with 10 of Carolina’s 29 quarterback hurries. He ranks fifth on the squad with 35 tackles. He is a Bednarik Award semifinalist and on the Ted Hendricks Watch List. With 23.0 career tackles for loss including 15.0 sacks, he has moved into a five-way tie for ninth on the school’s all-time career sacks list. In addition, Enagbare ranks 14th on Mel Kiper’s Big Board and has put himself in position to potentially become the third Gamecock defensive player in as many years to be an NFL first-round draft pick, following in the shoes of Javon Kinlaw (49ers) and Jaycee Horn (Panthers).