Abenoja Candidate for 2014 Harlon Hill Trophy - KOAM TV 7

Abenoja Candidate for 2014 Harlon Hill Trophy

Press Release PSU:

Pittsburg State University senior quarterback Anthony Abenoja is one of 36 student-athletes in NCAA Division II football competing for the Harlon Hill Trophy as the 2014 National Player of the Year.

The list of candidates, which was announced Thursday (Nov. 20) by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee, includes players from each of the four Division II Super Regions. Players are nominated and voted on by the sports information directors at the 168 NCAA Division II football-playing institutions. The 36 initial candidates are placed on regional ballots and the top two players from each of the four NCAA regions advance to the national ballot when regional voting concludes Nov. 28.

The winner of the 2014 award, which is presented by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee, will be announced Friday, Dec. 19, via a webcast and the winner will be honored at a luncheon on the University of North Alabama campus on January 9, 2015.

The Hill Trophy is sponsored by the City of Florence, Ala., Florence-Lauderdale Tourism, Opti-Net, the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa and Herff Jones.

Candidates are initially nominated by the sports information directors at their respective schools and are then voted on by the SIDs in their respective Super Region. The winner is then determined in a nation-wide vote of the Division II sports information directors. The group of 36 candidates includes 20 quarterbacks, nine running backs, two receivers, three linebackers and two defensive linemen. There are 20 seniors, nine juniors and seven sophomores.

For the season, Abenoja (6-3, 217) has completed 223 of 359 passes (.612) for 3,344 yards (304.0 ypg) and 26 touchdowns with six interceptions and compiled 3,425 yards of total offense (311.4 ypg).

The Overland Park, Kan., native became Pitt State's all-time passing leader on Sept. 11 against Lindenwood, when he completed 20 of 31 passes for 323 yards and three TDs. He garnered MIAA Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 20 when he completed 19 of 33 passes for 330 yards and four TDs against Washburn.

Abenoja also set the Pitt State career touchdown passes record (62) when he threw for 438 yards – the second-best single game passing total – and five TDs vs. Emporia State (Oct. 11). He completed 21 of 29 passes for 290 yards and one TD in the regular season finale vs. Central Oklahoma to break the Pitt State single season passing record.

Abenoja currently leads both the MIAA and Super Region Three, while ranking 10th in NCAA Division II in passing efficiency with a 160.9 rating. He also leads the MIAA in passing yards (304.0 ypg) and total offense (311.4 ypg), ranking third in SR-3 in passing yards and fifth in total offense. Abenoja also leads SR-3 in passing yards per completion (15.0 ypc) and passing yards per attempt (9.1 ypa), while ranking in a tie for third place in passing TDs (26).  

For his career, Abenoja has completed 590 of 957 passes (.617) for 8,892 yards and 74 touchdowns. He also has rushed for 631 net yards to compile 9,523 yards of total offense. Abenoja established a new NCAA Division II record with 314 consecutive passes without an interception between Oct. 19, 2013, and Oc. 18, 2014.

Additionally, he has recorded the top five single-game passing totals in school history, including a school record 442-yard passing performance against Lincoln as a junior in 2013 and a 438-yard effort against Emporia State (Oct. 11). He already holds the school's career completions record, and he also ranks second on Pitt State's career total offense list with 9,523 yards.

Abenoja has broken into the MIAA's all-time top 10 passing list – he's currently ranked seventh – and he ranks sixth on the conference top 10 total offense list as well.

Abenoja is joined on the SR-3 ballot by Southern Arkansas quarterback Si'Darius Blackshire, Augustana quarterback Trey Heid, Minnesota State defensive end Joshua Gordon, Sioux Falls quarterback Luke Papillion, Henderson State quarterback Kevin Rodgers, Central Missouri running back LaVance Taylor, Azusa Pacific running back Terrett Watson and Harding fullback Romo Westbrook.
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