With a big victory against Utah for the Pac-12 championship, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal has the Ducks headed for the Rose Bowl.
Cristobal was named on Thursday the AP’s Pac-12 Coach of the Year by a panel of journalists who cover the league.
Cristobal, in his second season as head coach, has righted a group that has seen its share of turbulence with three head coaches in the past four years. The Ducks have embraced his mantra of “trust, belief and accountability.”
Oregon (11-2) stumbled out of the gate against Auburn and a loss against Arizona State down the stretch eliminated the Ducks from the College Football Playoff conversation, but the team is headed to Pasadena, Calif., for the first time since 2015 and the eighth time in program history. They’ll face Wisconsin on New Year’s Day.
The biggest surprise of the AP’s All-Pac-12 team was the Offensive Player of the Year, with voters evenly split between Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley, Utah running back Zack Moss and Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, with all three receiving four first-place votes from the 12 voters.
Moss, who became Utah’s all-time leading rusher this season, leads the Pac-12 in rushing with 113.3 yards per game. He set school records for career rushing touchdowns with 38, career 100-yard rushing games with 19 and career touchdowns with 41.
Huntley, who like Moss was an AP first-team selection, threw for 2,966 yards and 18 touchdowns, and rushed for 257 yards and another five scores.
Sewell was named winner of this year’s Morris Trophy for top offensive lineman in the Pac-12. He earned conference Offensive Lineman of the Week honors four times this season.
California linebacker Evan Weaver, who leads the nation with a career-high 173 total tackles this season, earned Defensive Player of the Year honors and USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis was named Newcomer of the Year.
Washington State kicker Blake Mazza, who missed one field goal all season, was a unanimous selection to the first team.
Mazza was 20-for-21 on field-goal attempts this season, and made 18 in a row to start the season. The sophomore was a finalist for this year’s Lou Groza Award, which went to Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship.
Offensive tackle Abe Lucas and receiver Travell Harris were second-team selections.
Harris has 46 catches for 533 yards and five touchdowns. He’s also averaging 24.0 yards per kick return.