Lobo Football Banquet Awards
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Two days after the University of New Mexico recognized Carlos Wiggins as its Outstanding Special Teams Player in 2013, the Mountain West followed suit.
Wiggins, who led the nation with three kickoff returns for touchdowns, today earned Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year honors, as the MW released its All-Conference Team. He is the first Lobo to earn a conference Player of the Year award since kicker Kenny Byrd was named MW Co-Special Teams Player of the Year in 2006.
Wiggins and senior punter Ben Skaer demonstrated UNM’s strength on special teams as both garnered first-team All-MW accolades. The Lobos earned multiple first-teamers on the All-Mountain West team for the first time since 2009 and had eight student-athletes receive recognition overall, marking 17 Lobo all-conference awards in coach Bob Davie’s two-year tenure.
The Lobos had just eight all-conference selections total from 2010-2011.
Senior running back Kasey Carrier was named All-MW second team. Senior linebacker Dallas Bollema, senior center Dillon Farrell, senior left tackle Darryl Johnson, junior defensive end Brett Bowers and junior left guard LaMar Bratton all earned honorable mention All-MW honors.
Wiggins’ three returns for TDs matched Terance Mathis’ school record in 1989 and tied a Mountain West record set last season by Hawai‘i’s Mike Edwards. Wiggins, a sophomore from Plano, Texas, is No. 5 in the nation and the MW leader in kickoff returns with a 29.6-yard average. His 1,303 kick return yards lead the NCAA, and he has set a Mountain West record for total kick return yards, breaking the old mark of 1,215 by Edwards in 2012.
Skaer led the MW and ranks seventh in the nation in punting with an average of 45.8 yards per attempt in 2013. That average also ranks as the best single-season average in UNM history. Twenty of his 47 punts this season landed inside the opponent’s 20 (42.6 percent) and 19 went for 50 yards or more (40.4 percent).
Carrier capped his brilliant Lobo career with his second consecutive second-team All-MW honor. Carrier, whose season was cut short by injury after 10 games, still rushed for 1,122 yards, marking back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons. He set a school record in 2012 with 1,469 yards.
Bollema, Farrell, Johnson and Bratton each earned All-MW honorable mention recognition for the second consecutive season. Bollema is leaving UNM as the school’s No. 20 all-time leading tackler with 290 stops. He had 94 in 2013.
Farrell, Johnson and Bratton are part of a Lobo offensive line that paved the way for the Lobo offense to rank seventh in rushing with an average of 308.8 yards per game. It's the second straight season UNM has ranked in the top 10 in rushing. The Lobos are expected to finish No. 1 in the Mountain West in rushing (bowl games count in the statistics, so the season stats are not final), which will end Air Force's 14-year reign as the conference leader in rushing.
Bowers also earned honorable-mention All-MW honors after finishing the year with 37 tackles, nine tackles for loss, six sacks and three forced fumbles in 11 games.