Gene's Blog: Vote for Fritz for elite D-III football award
November 29, 2011
Fritz Waldvogel is on the ballot for the 2011 Gagliardi Trophy, and fans can vote. (Greg Smith photo)
Fan voting is open for the 2011 Gagliardi Trophy, and the Tommies' own Fritz Waldvogel is one of 10 finalists for the elite Division III football award.
You can go to D3Football.com and vote through noon on Monday Dec. 5, with one vote allowed per computer. The collective vote by fans will be added to the votes submitted by the 38-member Gagliardi Trophy national selection committee.
The 19th-annual award, sponsored by Jostens and the St. John's J-Club, honors the most outstanding Division III football player, with consideration to academics and campus/community service. UST's Ben Wartman was one of the 10 finalists in 2010.
After one more round of voting, four finalists will be announced on Dec. 6. The foursome will be invited to the awards ceremony in Salem, Va., held two nights before the Dec. 16 Division III national championship game.
Waldvogel, who has a 3.60 gpa in Finance, also has an extensive campus and community service resume.
On the field, in 12 games thus far in 2011, he has 14 touchdowns; 1,754 all-purpose yards; and 67 receptions for 1,088 yards. He's led St. Thomas to a 12-0 start and berth in the national playoff quarterfinal round.
On his career, Waldvogel has 44 touchdowns and has led the Toms to a 42-6 record. He ranks second on MIAC career lists for all-purpose yards (7,154 yards) and punt-return yards (1,442 on 95 returns), and ranks third in MIAC career lists for receptions (287), receiving yards (4,139) and kickoff-return yards (1,524 on 54 returns).
His 10 career kick/punt return touchdowns rank first in conference history and second most in Division III history (he has two other kick returns inside six-yard line). In 2009, he led all NCAA divisions in kick/punt return touchdowns with six. He's also tied NCAA records for most punt return TDs in a quarter (two) and longest kickoff return (100 yards), and tied a Division III record with one reception in all 40 regular-season games his team played.
In 2009 he became first sophomore in history named Conference Player of the Year, and last week became the second individual to receive the award twice in his career. He also was selected MIAC Player of the Week six times in his career and helped the Tommies win back-to-back conference championships for the first time since 1948 and 1949.
Click here to access the ballot:
Career TD List
Waldvogel and teammate Colin Tobin have moved into the top 10 on the career touchdown list of MIAC players:
MIAC Career Touchdowns
78 - Blake Elliott, SJU (2000-03)
53 - Matt Malmberg, SJU (1991-94)
50 - Ben Wartman, UST (2007-2010)
48 - Colin Tobin, UST (2008-present)
48 - Logan Flannery, BU (2007-2010)
45 - Gary Trettel, UST (1988-90)
45 - Rick Bell, SJU (1979-82)
44 - Fritz Waldvogel, UST (2008-present)
43 - Scott Hvistendahl, Aug (1995-98)
42 - Adam Herbst, SJU (1995-98)
Defense Leads NCAA
Here's more evidence that St. Thomas' defense has been smothering: The Tommies' 46.8 rushing yards allowed ranks first not only in Division III but is best among all 600-plus NCAA programs at all levels.
UST also ranks in the top five in Division III in total defense (212 yards a game), scoring defense (9.3 ppg) and sacks (3.67 per game). The Tommies' 45 sacks has broken a school record.
Led by coordinator Wallie Kuchinski, the UST defense has shutout four opponents and limited four others to one touchdown. The unit has shutout both NCAA playoff foes in the second half. In the first three quarters of all 12 games, it has allowed just 67 points, some after turnovers set up opponents with short fields.
In three November games, the Tommies allowed only 27 net rushing yards on 80 attempts.
The Tommies have forced a 3-and-out then a punt 62 times in 12 games. By contrast, St. Thomas' offense has gone 3-and-out then punted just 17 times this season (only 10 in drives led by starting QB Dakota Tracy).
Impressive for a unit that graduated six seniors from its 2010 defense -- including All-American Brady Ervin and three All-Region players. This fall, St. Thomas also has lost three starters (including two All-MIAC honorees) to season-ending injuries yet has still found unusual depth and balance.
Fifteen different Toms have a sack, and 17 different players either has an interception or fumble recovery. Sophomore LB Tremayne Williams made his frst career start Nov. 19 and has five sacks in his two starts, the most so far by any player in the D-III playoffs.
--St. Thomas is the lone Division III institution to make the national quarterfinals this fall in both volleyball and football
--St. Thomas is one of 10 unbeatens in NCAA football, including one of nine at 10-0 or better (LSU, Houston, Sam Houston State, Winston-Salem, Wabash, Mount Union, UW-Whitewater, Mary-Hardin Baylor and UST)
--In eight NCAA playoff games in the Glenn Caruso era, St. Thomas has only allowed 20 second-half points.
--St. Thomas is 12-0 in the Caruso era when it doesn't commit a turnover.
--UST's 32 punts in 12 games (2.66 per game) are the third fewest in Division III behind Dubuque and Ripon
--The Tommies' opponents have scored first in five of 12 games thus far (St. Norbert, River Falls, Concordia, St. Scholastica and Monmouth)
--In their last 20 games, the Tommies have not trailed at halftime (led 18 times, tied 10-10 in home playoff games vs. Linfield and Monmouth)
--The Tommies haven't trailed in the final 40 minutes of a game all season
--The Tommies are 30-1 over the last three seasons when they don't allow an individual 100-yard rushing performance
--Saturday will mark the first time in 86 seasons that St. Thomas football will play a team located in the eastern time zone (UST defeated Western Michigan at home in 1925, 27-13). UST's only football game played in the eastern time zone was the 1949 Cigar Bowl in Tampa.