Ebel, Gassen to play in Cactus Bowl Two members of The University of South Dakota football team will participate in the third annual Whataburger Cactus Bowl, the Division II all-star game, at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10 in Javelina Stadium in Kingsville, TX. Bill Gassen, a senior nose tackle from Rapid City, and Korey Ebel, a senior linebacker from Hartley, IA, has been selected to participate for the west squad.
The Cactus Bowl features the top 80 NCAA Division II football players in the nation. Since the Division II all-star game started four years ago, seven USD players have been invited to participate (Jamel White, Josh Stamer, Kaseem Gaines, Mark Blackburn, Josh Burr, as well as Gassen and Ebel this year).
Gassen has earned several postseason awards in 2002. He has been named to the first defense team of the D2Football.com All-Midwest Region Team. A first team all-North Central Conference selection, he was named to the Daktronics All-Region Second Team Defense. In addition, he was an Academic all-NCC selection and named to the third team of the Verizon Academic All-American District VII team.
From his nose tackle position, Gassen, recorded a league-leading 22.5 tackles for loss, including 15 solo stops. In NCC games only, Gassen had a league-high 17 TFLs or 2.12 per game. In 11 games, Gassen finished with 81 tackles with 64 tackles, including 46 solo stops. He had five quarterback sacks, two fumble recoveries and a pass breakup.
In his career, he recorded 92 solo tackles and 199 tackles overall, including 50.5 tackles for loss. He had 13 quarterback sacks and four fumble recoveries. A criminal justice major, he has received the Pat O'Brien Student Athlete Award from the Department of Political Science which is awarded to an outstanding student athlete at USD.
Senior linebacker Korey Ebel, a USD team captain for the second straight season in 2002, started 43 straight games in his career, has earned several postseason awards in 2002. A first team all-NCC selection, Ebel has been named to the Daktronics All-Region Second Team Defense and to the second team D2football.com Second Team Defense.
An iron man for Coyote football, Ebel has started 43 straight games, dating back to first game of his redshirt freshman season in 1999. In 11 games in 2002, Ebel was eighth in the NCC in tackles with 85 (38 solo), averaging 7.7 per game. In NCC games only, Ebel was fifth in tackles with 70 or 8.8 per game. He had one sack and 30 solo tackles.
Ebel had a season high of 13 tackles in the 40-37 four-OT win over NDSU and 11 tackles in the 16-10 double overtime win over Augustana on Dakota Day. A year ago, Ebel was a second team all-NCC selection and he had an 88-yard interception return for a touchdown vs. Minnesota-Duluth on Sept. 8, 2001, which is tied for the second longest interception return in school history. In his career, Ebel had 127 solo tackles and 264 tackles. He had 18 tackles for loss, seven sacks, two fumble recoveries.