Hilliard Named Griz Football MVP, Most Inspirational

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA (AP) – Running back Lex Hilliard was named the most valuable and most inspirational player on the Montana football team at an awards banquet last weekend.

Hilliard, a senior from Kalispell, received the Steve Carlson Award for MVP. He has rushed for 1,103 yards this season for 15 touchdowns and owns school records for rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns.

Hilliard shared the Terry Dillon Award, which goes to the team’s outstanding back or receiver, with Ryan Bagley of Great Falls. Bagley has a team-high 46 catches for 692 yards and six touchdowns. He was injured in the Idaho State game on Nov. 10 and is out for the season.

Hilliard also won the Carlson and Dillon awards in 2005.

Hilliard, who missed the 2006 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon, also received the Pat Norwood Award, given to the team’s most inspirational player.

Senior defensive end Kroy Biermann was presented UM’s Larry Miller Award, given annually to the team’s outstanding defensive lineman. Biermann, of Hardin, has a team-high 17.5 tackles for loss and 15 sacks and was recently named the Big Sky Conference’s defensive player of the year.

Cody Balogh, a senior offensive tackle from Steilacoom, Wash., received the Paul Weskamp Award, which goes to Montana’s outstanding offensive lineman. Balogh has started 40 games in a row, including all 11 games this season.

Senior strong safety Colt Anderson was voted the winner of the Golden Helmet Award, which goes to the team’s hardest hitter. Anderson, of Butte, is the team’s fourth-leading tackler with 75 stops, is tied for the team lead with three interceptions and recently earned first-team all-conference honors.

Kyle Ryan a senior linebacker from Billings, and Kalispell’s Brandon Dwyer shared the Tony Barbour Award, given to the UM players who best represent team values and best exemplify Griz football.

Ryan is Montana’s third leading tackler with 80 stops, and has received the Barbour Award the past two seasons. Dwyer is a senior cornerback and a standout on UM’s special teams.

Three Griz redshirt freshmen were chosen outstanding scout team players of the year: Lyle Brown of Castle Rock, Colo., on offense and Ryan Fetherston of Helena and Braydon Schilling of Gillette, Wyo., on defense.

Coach Bobby Hauck said Montana’s outstanding special teams player award will be presented at a later date.

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