Texas State’s defense finally got a little bit of respect.
Out of the four Bobcats honored Wednesday by the Sun Belt Conference with its postseason awards, three were from the revamped defense — senior safety Justin Iwuji, junior linebacker David Mayo and junior linebacker Michael Orakpo. Sophomore running back Robert Lowe also received recognition.
Iwuji, who landed on the second team, was a stalwart in the secondary during the 2013 season. Even though Iwuji didn’t have same defensive statistics as Aaron Matthews or Colby Targun, the senior safety held his own. Iwuji finished with 36 total tackles, three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), two pass breakups and five passes defended.
Lowe also earned second-team honors after rushing for a team-high 945 yards (second in the Sun Belt) and nine touchdowns.
Mayo and Orakpo, both given honorable mention, provided stability at linebacker. While Mayo missed two games due to injury, he still finished with 89 tackles (63 solo stops) and a team-high four interceptions. Orakpo took advantage of his role as a blitzing linebacker and tallied 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and forced three fumbles.
Western Kentucky swept the Offensive Player of the Year (Antonio Andrews) and Defensive Player of the Year (Xavius Boyd), while South Alabama’s Joey Jones was named Coach of the Year.