Rask Named Finalist for Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year

Official Ivy League Release

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PHILADELPHIA - Senior captain and linebacker Erik Rask was named one of two finalists for the 2011 Asa S. Bushnell Cup Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year Award on Tuesday. The league office also named Harvard defensive lineman Josue Ortiz as a finalist.

For the first time, the Ivy League is recognizing Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, honoring each as a recipient of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup from their respective sides of play. Cornell quarterback Jeff Mathews and Dartmouth running back Nick Schweiger are the offensive finalists.

The 2011 Ivy MVP recipients will be unveiled at a special reception and press conference in the Hilton Room of the famed Waldorf=Astoria Hotel at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 5, as part of the festivities surrounding the 54th National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in New York City.

Rask capped an illustrious career in the Red and Blue with one of the best defensive seasons for any Penn player in the two-decade tenure of head coach Al Bagnoli.

Rask, who played in all 30 games for Penn in the last three seasons, was honorable mention All-Ivy as a sophomore and was a first-team selection in each of his final two seasons. This year, he became Penn's first unanimous first-team honoree since 2006.

After leading the team in tackles with 65 as a junior, Rask finished with 83 stops in 2011 - the most at Penn since 2006 when Joe Anastasio had 102. Rask, who finished with 190 career tackles, also had 11.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, six pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 2011. The Newport Beach, Calif., native scored his first collegiate touchdown in his final game when he tipped a pass high into the air, corralled it, broke a tackle and and ran 30 yards for the score.

Rask and the 2011 Penn seniors finished their careers with a 28-12 record overall, including a 23-5 mark against the Ivy League. They won two Ivy League titles, were just the third team to ever put together back-to-back undefeated Ivy seasons, and won 18 consecutive Ivy League games - the second-longest streak in league history.

Rask's teammate, junior quarterback Billy Ragone, was a finalist for the Asa S. Bushnell Cup last season. The last Penn player to win the Ivy MVP award was Rask's former teammate Jake Lewko, who was also a linebacker and team captain. Lewko split the honor in 2009 with Brown's Buddy Farnham.

Presented annually since 1970, the Asa S. Bushnell Cup honors its namesake, a 1921 Princeton alumnus and the commissioner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference from 1938 to 1970. The Bushnell Cup is presented by the Eastern Association of Intercollegiate Football Officials and is awarded by a vote of the Ivy League's eight head football coaches to the player who displays outstanding qualities of leadership, competitive spirit, contribution to the team, and accomplishments on the field.

Asa S. Bushnell Cup All-Time Recipient List
1970 - Jim Chasey, QB, Dartmouth & Ed Marinaro#, RB, Cornell
1971 - Ed Marinaro#, RB, Cornell
1972 - Dick Jauron*, RB, Yale
1973 - Jim Stoeckel, QB, Harvard
1974 - Walt Snickenberger, RB, Princeton
1975 - Doug Jackson, RB, Columbia
1976 - John Pagliaro, RB, Yale
1977 - John Pagliaro, RB, Yale
1978 - Buddy Teevens, QB, Dartmouth
1979 - Tim Tumpane, LB, Yale
1980 - Kevin Czinger*, MG, Yale
1981 - Rich Diana*, RB, Yale
1982 - John Witkowski, QB, Columbia
1983 - Derrick Harmon, RB, Cornell
1984 - Tim Chambers, DB, Penn
1985 - Tom Gilmore*, DT, Penn
1986 - Rich Comizio, RB, Penn
1987 - Kelly Ryan, QB, Yale
1988 - Jason Garrett, QB, Princeton
1989 - Judd Garrett, RB, Princeton
1990 - Shon Page, RB, Dartmouth
1991 - Al Rosier, RB, Dartmouth
1992 - Jay Fiedler, QB, Dartmouth
1993 - Keith Elias*, RB, Princeton
1994 - Pat Goodwillie, LB, Penn
1995 - Dave Patterson, LB, Princeton
1996 - Chad Levitt, RB, Cornell
1997 - Sean Morey, WR, Brown
1998 - Jim Finn, RB, Penn
1999 - James Perry, QB, Brown
2000 - Gavin Hoffman, QB, Penn
2001 - Carl Morris, WR, Harvard
2002 - Carl Morris, WR, Harvard
2003 - Mike Mitchell, QB, Penn
2004 - Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Harvard
2005 - Nick Hartigan*, RB, Brown
2006 - Jeff Terrell, QB, Princeton
2007 - Mike McLeod, RB, Yale
2008 - Chris Pizzotti, QB, Harvard
2009 - Buddy Farnham, WR, Brown & Jake Lewko, LB, Penn
2010 - Gino Gordon, RB, Harvard & Nick Schwieger, RB, Dartmouth

# Denotes an inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame
* Denotes a recipient of an NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award