LOGAN, Utah – Utah State senior center Tyler Larsen and senior cornerback Nevin Lawson both performed well for the North squad at the 2014 Senior Bowl played on Saturday in Mobile, Ala., as the South posted a 20-10 win.
Larsen finished the 2014 Senior Bowl played roughly 40 snaps for the North squad, while Lawson recorded one solo tackle and intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter that led to the North’s only touchdown of the game. Furthermore, Lawson’s interception marks the third time in as many years that a USU player has intercepted a pass in the Senior Bowl joining Will Davis (2013) and Bobby Wagner (2012).
Overall, Larsen and Lawson were the 18th and 19th Utah State players selected to the Senior Bowl since 1962 and USU has now had five players selected to the Senior Bowl in the past five years as cornerback Will Davis played in 2013 game and recorded an interception, while linebacker Bobby Wagner was named the North’s Most Outstanding Player in 2012, and defensive back Curtis Marsh was selected in 2010.
The 2014 Senior Bowl marks just the fifth time in school history that Utah State has had multiple players selected to play in the game and the first time since 1985 when linebacker Hal Garner and defensive tackle Mike Hamby represented the Aggies. The other years Utah State had multiple players at the Senior Bowl were 1962, 1973 and 1980.
Larsen, a 6-4, 312-pound senior offensive center from Salt Lake City, Utah (Jordan HS), was named a second-team All-American by USA Today Sports during his senior season to become just the 12th player in school history to be named a first or second team All-American, including just the third offensive lineman. Larsen was also one of six finalists for the Rimington Trophy in 2013, which is presented annually to the most outstanding center in college football, and became just the ninth player in school history to be a three-time first-team all-conference selection after earning first-team all-Mountain West honors as a senior.
During his senior season in 2013, Larsen started all 14 games at center and led the team with an overall performance grade of 89 percent, including 82 percent in technique and 91 percent in effort. He carried out the right assignment 98 percent of the time, including seven games where he graded out at a perfect 100 percent. He also graded out above 90 percent nine times in total performance and above 85 percent 12 times in effort and above 80 percent nine times in technique. Larsen finished the season with 56.5 knockdowns.
Larsen finished his Utah State career starting 52 consecutive games, which is a school record, and ranks third in the nation among active players.
Lawson, a 5-10, 186-pounder from Lauderhill, Fla. (Piper HS) was named a third-team All-American by College Sports Madness and received first-team all-Mountain West honors following his senior season.
In the 89th annual East-West Shrine Game last weekend, Lawson recorded 3.0 tackles, including 1.0 for loss, and added one pass breakup, while scoring the game’s final points with 9:38 to play as he returned a fumble five yards for a touchdown to extend the East’s lead to 23-13, which ended up being the final score. Overall, Lawson’s 3.0 tackles were the third-most on the East’s team.
During the 2013 season, Lawson ranked third in the Mountain West and 25th in the nation in passes defended (1.21 pg), and tied for eighth in the conference and tied for 82nd in the nation in interceptions (0.29 pg). Lawson finished the year first on the team in passes defended (17) as he had 13 pass breakups and four interceptions, which ranked first and second on the team, respectively. Lawson was also tied for fifth on the team in total tackles with 57 (33-solo, 24-assist), and was sixth on the team with 5.0 tackles for loss.
As a senior, Lawson was named the Mountain West’s Defensive Player of the Week against both Boise State (10/12) and UNLV (11/9). Against the Broncos, he recorded a career-high two interceptions, returning one 65 yards for his first career touchdown, while adding a career-high five passes defended and tying his career-high with nine tackles. Against the Rebels, he recorded four tackles, including one for loss on a fake field goal, to go along with two pass breakups and one interception in the end zone. Lawson, who also had a career-high five pass breakups against Hawai’i (11/2), concluded his season by recording four or more tackles in eight games, and had three games with multiple passes defended.
In all, Larsen and Lawson were part of the winningest class in school history with 31 victories.
Utah State concluded the 2013 season with a 21-14 win against 24th-ranked Northern Illinois in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl to finish the year with a 9-5 record and tie the 1960 and 1961 teams for the second-most wins in school history. With its win against Northern Illinois, Utah State posted back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in school history as it played in its third-straight bowl game, also a first at USU.
Utah State, who finished the 2013 season by winning six of its final seven games, also set the school record for conference wins as it posted a 7-1 league mark in its first season in the Mountain West to win the Mountain Division of the conference and advance to the inaugural Mountain West Championship game.
Utah State ended the year ranking tied for 37th nationally in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls with two votes each, marking the second time in as many years that USU has concluded the season ranked among the top teams in the nation as the 2012 team was ranked 16th in the final AP poll, 17th in the final coaches’ poll and 22nd in the final Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings.
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