Beschorner second in Harlon Hill Trophy race

Beschorner second in Harlon Hill Trophy race
Wesley Beschorner of South Dakota finished second in the voting for the Harlon Hill Trophy as the Division II Player of the Year, the Harlon Hill Trophy Committee announced at a banquet in Florence, AL, on Friday night. The Hill trophy announcement was presented to East Stroudsburg's Jimmy Terwilliger before 500 people at the 20th annual Harlon Hill Trophy award banquet at the Marriott Shoals Conference Center.

Beschorner, a senior from Lohrville, IA, finished second with 107 points. Terwilliger was the top vote getter with 121 points.

Both Terwilliger and Beschorner had 22 first-place ballots. Beschorner also received 10 second-place ballots and 21 third-place votes. Terwilliger had 22 second-place and 11 third-place votes.

Jamar Brittingham of Bloomsburg was third with 96 points, including 18 first-place ballots and 14 ballots for second and 14 for third.

"I've had a great experience this week," said Beschorner. "I want to congratulate Jimmy (Terwilliger) for being selected the Hill Trophy recipient. He and Jamar (Brittingham) are classy guys who had great seasons. I also want to thank the Harlon Hill Committee, who treated us with tremendous courtesy."

South Dakota head football coach Ed Meierkort attended the ceremony with the Beschorner family, USD President James Abbott and USD Athletics Director Joel Nielsen. Meierkort said that everyone can be proud of Beschorner.

"It is a tremendous honor for Wesley, the football program and the university that he was considered one of the best football players in Division II," he said. "All three finalists are winners. I am extremely pleased how Wesley has handled himself and his accomplishments this season. Throughout this process, Wesley has always credited his teammates for honors he has received. He continually exhibited leadership on and off the field and did so again tonight. We are very proud of him." Beschorner directed the nation's most prolific offense. The Coyotes averaged a nation-best 583.3 yards in total offense per game and averaged 49.7 points by scoring a school-record 547 points in 2005.

Beschorner, who tied or set 29 school records in 2005, turned in one of best seasons ever by a quarterback in South Dakota or North Central Conference history. Beschorner, who was named the North Central Conference Back of the Year for 2005, led the nation in pass efficiency at 215.2, becoming just the second quarterback ever in Division II to record at least a 215 rating or better (Curt Anes, 221.3, 2001, Grand Valley State). He had a 9.75 TD to interception ration (39 TDs to four interceptions).

At the end of the regular season, Beschorner had a nation-best 39 passing TDs and 47 combined TDs for the nationally ranked South Dakota football team that finished 9-2 and has been ranked in the top 25 the entire season (USD was ranked eighth in the D2football.com poll and 11th in the AFCA poll at the end of the regular season).

Beschorner, who has helped lead USD to an 18-4 record in the past two seasons, ranked fifth in the nation in total offense (318.2 yards per game) and his per play average of 10.22 yards set a Division II record (Curt Anes, Grand Valley State, 10.1 yards per play, 2001).

Beschorner is the first USD football player to be one of the top-three vote getters for the Harlon Hill Trophy Award. Originally, Beschor-ner was a wide receiver and punt returner but won the starting quarterback job as a sophomore. He completed 172 of 255 passes for 3,049 yards in 2005. He finished with a completion rate of 67.5 percent and scored at least two TDs (rush or pass) in all 11 games this season. Beschorner, who rushed for 451 yards, had six games with four or more TD passes and three games with five or more TD passes in 2005.

He had three games with a combined six TDs and had a game with a school-record seven combined TDs. A big play specialist, he had both a 79-yard run and a 90-yard TD pass. He also owns two 100-yard rush games this season.

Beschorner leaves USD as its career total offense leader with 7,476 yards on 967 plays for a 7.3 average, all school records. This season, he had a school-record 3,500 yards on 343 plays in total offense. He also became USD's all-time passing leader with 6,240 yards.

A three-year starter, he accumulated 87 overall TDs, including 64 by passing. He has also directed USD to a 13-game home winning streak, including 6-0 marks at the DakotaDome during each of the last two seasons.

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