Dec. 13, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - Ohio running back Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.) has been named the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year by the website collegefootballnews.com. McRae joined senior offensive tackle Matt Coppage (Walton, Ky.), senior linebacker Matt Muncy (Miamisburg, Ohio), senior cornerback T.J. Wright (Beaumont, Texas) and freshman punt returner Chris Garrett (Bristow, Va.) on the outlet's All-MAC squad.
McRae, a two-time first-team All-MAC pick by the league's coaches, ranks second in the MAC with 1,215 rushing yards and is third in the league with an average of 93.5 yards per game. He broke the Bobcat single-season record with 15 rushing touchdowns and established another school mark with seven consecutive 100-yard rushing games earlier this season. McRae is only the second Ohio player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons (Arnold Welcher, 1975-76). McRae is 100 yards shy of matching Steveland Hookfin's school-record season rushing total of 1,315. He was also named the league's top running back and was rated as the second-best player in the MAC regardless of position.
Muncy has also been a first-team all-conference pick by the league's coaches in each of the past two seasons Entering the Bobcats' bowl game, Muncy has totaled 81 tackles, including a team-best and career-high 15.0 tackles for loss. Muncy has etched his name in the Bobcat record book this season, moving into second place on Ohio's solo tackles list (202), fourth place on the career tackles for loss ledger (37.5) and seventh place on the career sacks chart (11.5). Muncy was tabbed as the fifth-best player in the MAC and the second-best linebacker.
Coppage was also chosen first-team All-MAC by the league's coaches. Coppage has been a mainstay on the Bobcat offensive line the last four seasons, starting 40 of the last 42 games. In the last two years, the Bobcats are the third-best rushing team in the MAC and have allowed the fewest number of sacks in the league. Coppage was the first Bobcat offensive lineman since 1993 to earn first-team All-MAC honors from the coaches. Coppage was rated as the MAC's fifth-best offensive lineman.
Wright adds another All-MAC title to his resume after earning first-team honors from the coaches. Wright leads the MAC and ranks seventh in the nation with 1.54 passes defended per game. Wright has broken up a school-record 17 passes and with three interceptions, has also established a new single-season record for total passes defended. He is Ohio's all-time leader in both categories with 43 break-ups and 55 passes defended. Wright was listed as the 12-best player overall in the MAC and the second-best defensive back.
Garrett was named to the All-MAC team after leading the league in punt returns. His 15.26 yards per return average ranks fifth in the nation and first in the country among freshmen. Garett was a third-team Freshman All-America pick by The Sporting News. His 351 punt return yards in 2006 puts him third on the Bobcats' single-season ledger, and he is just 17 yards shy of cracking Ohio's all-time top 10 in punt return yards. Earlier this season, Garrett set a school record with an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Senior linebacker Tyler Russ (Stestonsville, Wis.) was listed as the fifth-best linebacker in the league. Russ was a second-team All-MAC selection by the league's coaches. The senior linebacker leads the Bobcats with 84 tackles and is tied for the team lead with three interceptions. He has also amassed 4.0 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Russ has recorded at least 10 tackles in a game a team-leading three times this season.
The Bobcats will face Southern Miss in the 2007 GMAC Bowl on Jan. 7 in Mobile, Ala. It is Ohio's first bowl appearance since the 1968 Tangerine Bowl. For ticket and travel information, call the Ohio Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-575-CATS or visit www.ohiobobcats.com.