The Paul Hornung Award

WEEK 1: Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll Foursome Make Game-Defining Plays in Season Openers

Most Versatile Player Award Joins National College Football Awards Association

Louisville, KY –September 6, 2016 – Four players named to the Paul Hornung Award Week One Honor Roll each had game-changing plays that led to his team’s success. Georgia wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie scored his first career touchdown to close the scoring gap in the second half against North Carolina; Houston defensive back Brandon Wilson returned a missed field goal for a touchdown against Oklahoma; Boise State wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck completed a 48-yard pass for a touchdown against Louisiana Lafayette; and Stanford running back / returner Christian McCaffrey ran for two touchdowns against Kansas State, including the game-winner

The Paul Hornung Award, presented by Texas Roadhouse, is awarded annually to the most versatile player in major college football.  For the first time in its seven-year span, the Paul Hornung Award is an associate member of the prestigious National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The winner and his family will be honored on March 7, 2017 at a banquet presented by KentuckyOne Health at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville, Ky

Week One Honorees:

Georgia’s Isaiah McKenzie posted a career-high six receptions for 122 yards in the 33-24 Bulldog victory over UNC. His first career touchdown in the third quarter cut the Tar Heels’ lead to three and his three fair catches on punts helped Georgia maintain field position throughout the game. McKenzie ended the game with 148 all-purpose yards, which include three punt returns and a kickoff return for 24 yards in a game played in the Georgia Dome.

Houston defensive back Brandon Wilson planted his heels near the back of the end zone, caught the ball over his head on a missed third quarter field goal and  raced up the right sideline for what proved to be the winning score (officially a 100-yard return) in the Cougars huge upset win over number three ranked Oklahoma. Wilson added 10 tackles and a pass deflection as Houston beat the Sooners 33-23 in a game played at NRG Stadium, home of the NFL Houston Texans

Boise State’s Thomas Sperbeck showed his versatility in the Broncos’ 45-10 road win over Louisiana Lafayette, touching the ball rushing, receiving and passing to record 178 all-purpose yards. Sperbeck’s 48-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy McNicholas in the beginning of the second quarter put the Broncos’ up 21-0.  Sperbeck caught six passes for 130 yards, averaging 21.7 yards per catch, and carried the ball one time.

Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, who won the 2015 Paul Hornung Award, turned in a workmanlike performance in Stanford’s hard-earned, 26-13 home victory over Kansas State. Recording 32 touches on offense and special teams, McCaffrey ended the night with 210 all-purpose yards: 126 rushing, 40 receiving, 28 on kick returns and 16 on punt returns. He scored on a 35-yard run in the second quarter and on a 41-yard run late in the game run to seal the win.

The Louisville Sports Commission successfully launched the Paul Hornung Award in 2010 to honor its namesake and native son, and to recognize and reward high-level achievers in college football whose performances and contributions as versatile players often go unnoticed. Owen Marecic of Stanford, a two-way starter and All Pac-10 performer at fullback and linebacker, won the inaugural Paul Hornung Award in 2010; Brandon Boykin of Georgia won the award in 2011 after excelling on defense, offense and special teams; Tavon Austin of West Virginia won the award in 2012 as one of two players in the nation with more than 500 yards in three different categories (rushing, receiving and kick returns); Odell Beckham Jr. of LSU won the award in 2013 after finishing the season ranked second in the nation and first in the Southeastern Conference with 2,222 all-purpose yards and 185.2 average yards per game; Shaq Thompson of Washington won the award in 2014 as a two-way player, earning first team All-American honors at linebacker and finishing as the Husky’s second-leading rusher at tailback; and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford won the award in 2015 after breaking the NCAA record for all-purpose yards, finishing with 3,864 yards.