BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Fourteen Eastern Kentucky University football players were named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference team the league office announced Tuesday. Meanwhile, junior quarterback Allan Holland was named OVC Offensive Player of the Year, senior defensive back Derrick Huff earned OVC Defensive Player of the Year honors and Danny Hope was named the OVC Roy Kidd Coach of the Year.
Holland, a native of Hazard, Ky., stepped into the starting quarterback position in the second game of the year and guided the Colonels to their first playoff appearance in 10 years. The junior has averaged 178.4 passing yards per game, third most in the league. Against Southeast Missouri on Oct. 13, Holland threw for a career-best 361 yards. Holland also set a program record by going 201 pass attempts without an interception midway through the season.
Huff, a native of Hamilton, Ohio, has nine interceptions on the year, tied for most in the nation. The two-time OVC Defensive Player of the Week has tallied an interception in six of 10 games. Against Tennessee State on Oct. 20, Huff returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown. The following week at Murray State, the senior recorded a personal-best 10 tackles in the victory. Huff also came away with three interceptions against the Racers.
Finishing his fifth season as head coach at his alma mater, Hope led the Colonels to an undefeated OVC record (8-0). Eastern won all but one of its conference games by double figures. The Colonels finished the regular season averaging 33.5 points per game while allowing just 23.2 points per game. Both marks rank first in the OVC. Under Hope’s leadership, EKU ranks first among all 116 Division I FCS programs in turnover margin at +22. Hope’s overall record at Eastern Kentucky is 35-21.
On the offensive side of the ball, four EKU players were named to the first team all-conference team. Besides Holland, three offensive linemen made the list – senior center Shawn Dedden, senior offensive guard Bakahri Thornton and senior offensive tackle Sean Dumford, who became a four-time All-OVC pick. The Colonel offensive line held opponents without a sack in five games this year while helping the running backs pile up 212.6 rushing yards per game, most in the league.
Defensively, junior defensive lineman Chris Coy and junior defensive back Brandon Gathof joined Huff on the first team All-OVC list. Coy is second in the conference in both tackles for loss (16.0) and sacks (7.0). Gathof, a two-time first team selection, leads the Colonels with 50 solo tackles and is tied for second on the squad with five interceptions.
#9 Eastern Kentucky (9-2, 8-0 OVC) is back in action this Saturday, Nov. 24, in the opening round of the 2007 NCAA Division I FCS playoffs. The Colonels travel to Co-CAA champion #6 Richmond (9-2, 7-1 CAA) for the first ever meeting between the two teams. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
2007 All-Ohio Valley Conference Football Team (EKU selections)
OVC Offensive Player of the Year: QB Allan Holland
OVC Defensive Player of the Year: DB Derrick Huff
OVC Roy Kidd Coach of the Year: Danny Hope
First Team Offense
Allan Holland, QB, 6-1, 245, Jr., Hazard, Ky.
Shawn Dedden, C, 6-0, 260, Sr., Taylor Mill, Ky.
Bakahri Thornton, OG, 6-2, 285, Sr., Bartow, Fla.
Sean Dumford, OT, 6-5, 293, Sr., Washington Courthouse, Ohio
First Team Defense
Chris Coy, DL, 6-1, 250, Jr., Slaughters, Ky.
Derrick Huff, DB, 5-11, 188, Sr., Hamilton, Ohio
Brandon Gathof, DB, 6-2, 204, Jr., LaGrange, Ky.
Second Team Offense
Bobby Washington, RB, 6-0, 215, Sr., Miami, Fla.
Stephen Sizemore, TE, 6-3, 250, Jr., Lost Creek, Ky.
Second Team Defense
Cardius Dowell, DL, 6-0, 255, LaGrange, Ga.
George Anderson, LB, 6-0, 236, Sr., Columbus, Ohio
Justin Curry, LB, 5-11, 208, Sr., Casselberry, Fla.
Zach Denton, DB, 5-11, 200, Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio
Second Team Specialists
Taylor Long, K, 5-11, 172, Jr., Hopkinsville, Ky.