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December 19, 2012

Accardi Highlights 10 Diggers On NFFCC All-Colorado Squads

COLORADO SPRINGS – Led by Special Teams Player of the Year honors for Taylor Accardi, the Colorado School of Mines football team placed 10 student-athletes on the National Football Foundation – Colorado Chapter (NFFCC) All-Colorado Teams, as announced on Monday by the foundation. 

In addition to his Special Teams Player of the Year honor, Accardi also earned First Team honors, joining Jerrod Doucet, Cody Renken, David Pawelek, Iain Smith and Tyler Denson

Matt Brown, Nate Behrends, Chad McGraw and Jake Utley all earned Second Team honors from the NFFCC.

NFFCC board members and the sports information directors from the 10 institutions in Colorado voted on the 2012 NFF All-Colorado team.  The 10 Colorado institutions consist of Adams State, Air Force Academy, Colorado, Colorado Mesa, Colorado State, Colorado State-Pueblo, Fort Lewis, Northern Colorado and Western State in addition to Colorado School of Mines.

Accardi, a repeat First Team and Special Teams Player of the Year selection, led the nation in punting average for the second-straight season and set a new NCAA NCAA Division II season record on a minimum of 30 punts with a 51.1 average in 2012, which breaks the record for the category set by Steve Ecker of Shippensburg in 1965 (49.1). Against Western New Mexico, Accardi punted five times for 283 yards for an average of 56.6 yards per punt, which puts him in the No. 15 spot for single-game punting average in the all-time NCAA record books. He set the NCAA Division II record with an average of 48.6 yards per punt on a minimum of 50 punts in 2011, and ends his collegiate career as the NCAA Division II career record holder with a 46.1 yards per punt average over his four-year career. He broke the record of 44.9 yards per punt set by Jeff Williams of Adams State (2002-05). His 48.6 yards per punt average in 2011 is the sixth-highest season across all levels of college football and his 2012 average of 51.1 is the tops all-time across any division – breaking the record of 50.3 yards per punt set by Chad Kessler of Louisiana State (LSU) in 1997. Finally, Accardi's career average of 46.1 is the second-highest number across all NCAA Divisions, just behind longtime NFL veteran Todd Sauerbrun (West Virginia, 1991-94) with an average of 46.3. He was named a First Team AP Little All-American, a First Team Daktronics All-American, a First Team BSN All-American, a First Team Beyond Sports Network Preseason All-American, a First Team Lindy's Preseason All-American, a USA College Football First Team Preseason All-American, the RMAC Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year and a Preseason All-RMAC selection before the start of the season. He earned RMAC Special Teams Player of the Year, First Team All-RMAC, Special Teams Player of the Week, D2Football.com Special Teams Player of the Week and BSN National Special Teams Player of the Week honors this season as well.  

Doucet, a two-time Second Team All-RMAC selection, finished second to Pawelek in the conference ranks with 82 receptions while amassing a total of 922 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He finished 13th in the NCAA during the regular season with an average of 7.5 receptions per game and his receiving yards total was the fifth-highest total in the conference. The Baytown, Texas, product posted eight games with six or more receptions and three games with 10 or more, including 16 against New Mexico Highlands which broke Renken's school record for receptions in a game (15 – Western State, 2010). Doucet also posted 212 receiving yards in the game for his highest total of the season while recording four total games with 100 or more receiving yards. He finished his career with 198 receptions.

Renken, a two-time First Team Selection (2010), appeared in eight games for the Orediggers before suffering a season-ending injury in the squad's 34-7 win over Colorado Mesa. He earned Second Team All-RMAC selections at both wide receiver and returner after earning Preseason All-RMAC honors before the start of the campaign. He finished tied for seventh in the RMAC with 65 receptions in 2012 and led the team and finished third in the league with nine touchdown receptions. The Smithson Valley, Texas, native averaged 97.1 receiving yards per game for a total of 777 receiving yards, but would have been on pace for 1,008 receiving yards had his season not been cut short due to injury. It would have been Renken's second 1,000-yard season after having topped the milestone in 2010 (1,002). He posted five or more receptions in seven of the eight games he played in, including three games with 11 or more. He tied the RMAC record with four receiving touchdowns in the second quarter of Mines' 58-16 victory over Fort Lewis. He recorded a season-high 14 receptions for 163 yards and a touchdown in the squad's 42-19 win over Black Hills State. He averaged 27.4 yards per kick return and 12.8 yards per punt return en route to 1,245 all-purpose yards in eight games (155.6 yards per game). A 2010 Third Team All-American, Renken finished his career with 220 receptions in only 27 career games (8.14 receptions per game).

Pawelek, a First Team All-America selection by both Daktronics and Beyond Sports Network (BSN), was also named First Team All-RMAC and First Team Daktronics All-Region after leading the RMAC with 85 receptions during the regular season. The Smithson Valley, Texas, native, finished third in the conference with 1,047 receiving yards while adding five receiving touchdowns. The former quarterback recorded five games with 100 or more receiving yards, including a season-high 196 on 13 receptions against Western New Mexico. He tied Doucet's school record with 16 receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns against Western State which set a new NCAA Division II record for receptions by a tight end, breaking the mark of 15 that occured eight times. He recorded five games with eight or more receptions, including three with 12 or more in 2012, and finished the regular season ninth nationally with 7.7 receptions per game. He was named Preseason All-RMAC and a Lindy's Second Team Preseason All-American before the start of the campaign. This is Pawelek's second-straight NFFCC All-Colorado selection. 

Smith, squad's center, earned Second Team Daktronics All-Region honors after helping Mines register the No. 6 national passing offense, No. 18 scoring offense and No. 25 total offense in 2012. He did not allow a sack the entire season and averaged six knockdown blocks per game. He ran the cadence for Mine's up-tempo, no-huddle offense while calling out the fronts of the opposing defenses. He was named Third Team All-RMAC in 2011 and this is the second-straight NFFCC All-Colorado selection of the Centennial native's career.

Denson, a New Braunfels, Texas, native led the team and finished fourth in the RMAC during the regular season with 107 tackles, including 52 solo stops – good for second in the league. He finished eighth in the conference with 12.0 tackles for loss and added 3.5 sacks. A major cog in the Orediggers' ball-hawking defense, Denson added five pass breakups, one fumble recovery, two forced fumbles and returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown. He posted 10 or more tackles in seven of the team's 11 games, including a season and career-high 19 against then-No. 2 CSU-Pueblo which earned him BSN National Defensive Player of the Week honors. This is the first NFFCC All-Colorado selection of his career.

Brown, a Limon product and Third Team All-RMAC performer, lead the RMAC during the regular season with 3,873 passing yards and 31 passing touchdowns. He posted a season-long 81 yard touchdown pass to fellow NFFCC selection, Cody Renken, while also leading the conference in completions (347) and attempts (596). He also added five touchdown runs during the season and posted five games with four or more total touchdowns and three games with five total touchdowns. He finished the regular season fourth nationally in total offense with an average of 364.82 yards per game. He posted a school record 606 passing yards with five total touchdowns (four passing) against New Mexico Highlands while also setting school records for offense (600), completions (52) and attempts (80) in the game while also setting new conference records for completions and attempts during the game. He was named the RMAC Offensive Player of the Week on September 3, and also earned a BSN National Offensive Player of the Week selection. This is his first NFFCC All-Colorado honor.

Behrends, a Parker native, has played in every game for Mines on the offensive line since the beginning of the 2009 season (45 GP, 42 starts) while helping Mines finish the 2012 season as the No. 6 national passing offense, No. 18 scoring offense and No. 25 total offense. He was named Third Team All-RMAC in 2011 and 2010. This is also his second-straight NFFCC All-Colorado selection. 

McGraw, a Castle Rock native and Capital One/CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American, finished second on the team and 15th in the RMAC with 76 tackles in 2012, including 40 solo stops. He led the team and finished sixth in the conference with 13.5 tackles for loss, and led the nation with eight forced fumbles from his outside linebacker position. He recorded five or more tackles in 10 of Mines' 11 games this fall, including two games with 10 or more tackles. He recorded 2.0 or more tackles for loss in four games, and add four pass breakups, four quarterback hurries and 2.5 sacks. This is his first NFFCC All-Colorado honor.

Utley, a Littleton product, finished the season with 48 tackles (11 solo) with 6.0 tackles for loss for a total of 28 yards. He added three sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and three quarterback hurries in 2012. He recorded four or more tackles in seven of 11 games this season, including a season-high seven stops on two occasions.  This is the first NFFCC All-Colorado selection of his career.

FULL NFFCC ALL-COLORADO TEAMS AND PRESS RELEASE

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