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Football players honored at annual award banquet

November 22, 2000

LANSING - Richard Newsome left his ballot blank, but his teammates didn’t.

The senior safety from Fostoria, Ohio, was given the Governor’s Award for the team’s most valuable player on Tuesday at the annual MSU Football Bust. The award ceremony was held at the capital city’s Holiday Inn South-Convention Center, 6820 S. Cedar St.

“I didn’t put anybody down, but I would have put Sparty if I could have,” Newsome joked about his award ballot.

Newsome finished third for the Spartans in tackles with 101, despite missing three games because of an injury. He also finished first in the Big Ten in tackles per game.

MSU head coach Bobby Williams said Newsome was an integral part of the team’s chemistry.

“Richard was a very spiritual leader,” Williams said. “He was a kind of mainstay of the defensive unit.”

Although the Spartans closed their 5-6 season last Saturday with a disappointing 42-23 loss at Penn State, Williams said there’s much to be optimistic about. The loss dashed hopes of a postseason bowl bid.

“I’m proud of how hard these guys competed, and we were in most games despite lots of things going against us. They showed a lot of character and guts, and the future looks promising,” said Williams, who celebrated his 42nd birthday Tuesday.

“I hoped to be celebrating a championship, but that’s not the case so I guess I’m celebrating another year in this world.”

There were 19 awards given out, and senior defensive tackle Jace Sayler, who made 53 tackles this season, came away with two.

He shared the Iron Man Award for strength and conditioning with senior offensive guard Shaun Mason and junior linebacker Josh Thornhill. He also won the outstanding senior lineman version of the Amp Campbell Award for perseverance.

Sayler reflected on his playing days, adding it’s hard to believe they’re over.

“It’s exciting and scary to be out in the real world now,” Sayler said. “Beating Notre Dame four years in a row is something I’ll always be real proud of.”

Sophomore tailback T.J. Duckett finished second to Newsome for MVP. He closed the season with 1,416 yards on 240 carries for an average of 123 yards per game. He also scored seven touchdowns.

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