Football

Five Syracuse players earn all-Big East honors

The Big East released its postseason awards on Thursday, and five Syracuse players were among those honored.

Wide receiver Alec Lemon, offensive tackle Justin Pugh and strong safety Shamarko Thomas were named to the All-Big East First Team, while quarterback Ryan Nassib and defensive end Brandon Sharpe were named to the All-Big East Second Team.

The eight head coaches in the Big East did the voting for the awards, but could not vote for their own players.

Lemon, who was named to the second team last season, was unanimously named to the first team this year. He finished first in the Big East with receptions per game at 6.4, and was also first in receiving yards with 96. He caught a school-record 70 passes for 1,063 yards in 2012. Lemon had five 100-yard receiving games.

Pugh was named to the first team for the second year in a row. It’s his third straight year earning an all-conference selection. After sitting out for the first four games of the season as he recovered from shoulder surgery, Pugh returned to the line and re-established himself as one of the premier tackles in the conference. He helped the line block for another 1,000-yard rusher, as Jerome Smith was the fifth-straight running back to hit that mark. Syracuse also averaged 171.8 rushing yards per game, and only allowed 14 sacks this season.

Thomas, who started every game this year, led the team with 84 tackles as a force in the Orange’s secondary. He also forced three fumbles and had two interceptions.

Nassib leads the Big East in total offense with 313.3 yards per game and passing yards with 301.6 per game. He set a Syracuse single-season record for attempts at 448, completions with 283, yards with 3,619 and touchdowns with 24. He racked up a total of 3,748 yards this season, and had six 300-yard passing games.

Sharpe finished the regular season with six sacks, good for sixth in the Big East. He was tied for fourth in the conference with 13.5 tackles for loss. He had seven tackles, including four sacks, in Syracuse’s win over Pittsburgh. Sharpe finished the season with 35 tackles.

Other Big East awards included Teddy Bridgewater earning the Big East Offensive Player of the Year distinction, while Cardinals’ head coach Charlie Strong and Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood are sharing coach of the year honors. Scarlet Knights linebacker Khaeem Greene was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Temple running back Matt Brown was the Big East Special Teams Player of the Year, while teammate and linebacker Tyler Matekevich was named the Big East Rookie of the Year.

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