For the third straight year, the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year will come from Princeton.
Who is it? Well, that won't be determined until next week.
Princeton seniors Jesper Horsted
and John Lovett
were named the two finalists for the 2018 Asa S. Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year on Tuesday; the winner will be announced at a special reception and press conference presented by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses in the Mercury Ballroom of the New York Hilton Midtown beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3.
That ceremony will be streamed live on ESPN+.
Since the Ivy League began announcing the two finalists for Player of the Year awards in 2011, this is the first time one team has had both for the same honor. It is fitting for Princeton, which broke its own 2013 league record for points scored in the season and ranked first among the Ivies in total offense (536.8 yards/game), scoring offense (47.0 points/game) and rushing offense (295.5 yards/game); even Princeton's passing offense ranked second in the Ivy League at 241.3 yards/game despite the fact that it spent the second half of several games running the ball with significant leads.
"I couldn't be happier to see both Jesper Horsted
and John Lovett
honored as finalists for Offensive Player of the Year," said Bob Surace
, the 2018 Ivy League Coach of the Year. "While this season was truly a team effort, both players had historic individual performances, especially in some of the biggest games. It's fitting that they will sit together in New York City after leading Princeton football to one of its most memorable seasons ever."
Lovett could make some history of his own, as he looks to become only the fifth player in league history — and the first from Princeton — to earn multiple Bushnell Cups. Lovett was named the 2016 Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year after setting a program record with 20 touchdown runs during Princeton's championship season. He missed the 2017 season due to injury, though teammate and current Arizona Cardinal Chad Kanoff
'18 had a record-setting of his own to claim the 2017 Bushnell Cup.
Other two-time winners include: Ed Marinaro (Cornell, 1970-71); John Pagliaro (Yale, 1976-77); Carl Morris (Harvard, 2001-02); and Zack Hodges (Harvard, 2013-14). The first three each won during the era of only one Bushnell Cup winner, while Hodges was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, though he shared the 2014 honor with Princeton linebacker Mike Zeuli.
Horsted is looking to be the first wide receiver to win the Bushnell Cup since 2009 (Brown's Buddy Farnham), and only the fourth different wide receiver to claim the award, joining Morris and Brown's Sean Morey.
The Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year finalists are Stone Hart of Harvard and Isiah Swann of Dartmouth.
Here are a few notes on both Princeton finalists:
• led the Ivy League with 15 touchdowns scored (13 receiving, two rushing)
• ranked sixth in the FCS in touchdown catches (13), seventh in receptions per game (7.2), and 12th
in receiving yards per game (104.7)
• named FCS National Offensive Player of the Week after catching three touchdown passes and rushing for a fourth score in the 42-14 win over Penn that clinched Princeton's perfect season
• broke the Princeton record for career receptions in the Penn game; finished with 196 career catches
• ended career with Princeton-record 28 touchdown catches, which is tied for fifth most in Ivy history; no other Princeton player ever caught 20 touchdowns in their career
• finished second on Princeton's all-time receiving yards list (2,703); total ranks 10th
most in Ivy League history
• named a Willam Campbell Trophy semifinalist as one of the top scholar-athletes in college football
• set an Ivy League record with seven consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards (last five of 2017, first two of 2018)
• earned multiple All-Ivy League honors as member of both the Princeton football and baseball teams, and helped both to Ivy League titles
• ranked first in the Ivy League in total offense (303.0 yards/game), second in rushing (99.3 yards/game) and second in passing (203.7 yards/game)
• ranked fourth in the FCS in points responsible for per game (20.9)
• ranked second in the Ivy League and ninth in the FCS with 13 rushing touchdowns
• ranked sixth in the nation in completion percentage (66.1%)
• led the Ivy League with 18 passing touchdowns
• scored both of Princeton's touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, of Princeton's 14-9 comeback win over #20 Dartmouth
• three-time Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week (shares the Princeton record with seven career honors)
• led Princeton to a 23-4 record in games he started between 2015-2018, including a 14-1 mark in its last 15 Ivy League games
• finished second all-time at Princeton with 41 rushing touchdowns