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Back-to-back: Blue Bombers Quarterback Zach Collaros Wins CFL Most Outstanding Player

Collaros becomes the fifth player ever to win the honour in consecutive seasons

REGINA (November 17, 2022) – On a night when the league’s biggest stars were celebrated at the CFL Awards, Winnipeg’s quarterback Zach Collaros emerged with the league’s top honour as its Most Outstanding Player. The Blue Bombers were a perfect four-for-four on their nominations.

CFL ON TSN host Kate Beirness guided the proceedings during the league’s marquee event in the lead-up to the 109th Grey Cup. On-hand to assist in presenting the awards were several influential women who have played significant roles in impacting football across the province and the country, including local heroes, long-standing fans and leaders in the Indigenous community.

The CFL Awards winners were selected by a panel of voters, including representation from the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) from all nine CFL markets, members of the national chapter of the FRC and the head coaches of the CFL. In total, 50 ballots were completed.

2022 CFL AWARDS WINNERS

  • Most Outstanding Player: Zach Collaros, Quarterback, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • Most Outstanding Defensive Player: Lorenzo Mauldin IV, Defensive linemen, Ottawa REDBLACKS
  • Most Outstanding Canadian: Nathan Rourke, Quarterback, BC Lions
  • Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman: Stanley Bryant, Offensive lineman, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • Most Outstanding Special Teams Player: Mario Alford, Returner, Saskatchewan Roughriders
  • Most Outstanding Rookie: Dalton Schoen, Wide receiver, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • Coach of the Year: Mike O’Shea, Winnipeg Blue Bombers

CFL MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
​ZACH COLLAROS, QB
​WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

Zach Collaros led the Blue Bombers to a franchise-best 15-3 mark. The former Cincinnati Bearcat topped the CFL with 37 touchdown passes – a dozen more than any other player, while completing nearly 70 per cent of his passes and recording his first career 4,000-yard season. The team finished first in offensive touchdowns and first downs made, and second in offensive points.

The 11-year veteran joins Anthony Calvillo (2008-2009), Doug Flutie (1991-1994, and 1996-1997), Dieter Brock (1980-1981) and Jackie Parker (1957-1958) to claim the honour in consecutive years.

Collaros received 47 first-place votes.

CFL MOST OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER
​LORENZO MAULDIN IV, DL
​OTTAWA REDBLACKS

In his first season with the team, Mauldin tallied 17 sacks to become the first Ottawa player to lead the league since Angelo Snipes did so in 1992. He registered a career-high 43 defensive tackles, while adding two forced fumbles, three pass knockdowns and five tackles for a loss. Mauldin recorded multiple sacks in five games this season.

The former Louisville Cardinal led a REDBLACKS defence that finished second in sacks and tied for third fewest average yards per rush. He is the first Ottawa player to win the award since Greg Marshall in 1983 and the fourth all-time (Kaye Vaughan 1956-57, Ken Lehmann 1968).

Mauldin finished with 32 first-place votes.

MOST OUTSTANDING CANADIAN
​NATHAN ROURKE, QB
​BC LIONS

Nathan Rourke went 8-2 in 10 starts this season, passing for 3,349 yards and 25 touchdowns. He registered a league-high six 300+ yard games, including three over 400. The Ohio product set a new single-season CFL record for completion percentage (78.7 per cent), while posting the second-highest passer rating of all-time (123.6) and setting a single-game record for Canadian pivots with 488 passing yards. The second-year player from Oakville, Ont., added seven touchdowns on the ground. His touchdown percentage of 31.1 (38 touchdowns in 122 drives) led the CFL.

Rourke received 41 first-place votes.

MOST OUTSTANDING OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
​STANLEY BRYANT
​WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

Stanley Bryant is the first player to win four Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman awards (2017, 2018 and 2021). The former East Carolina Pirate started all 17 games in which he played this season. The team allowed the second fewest sacks (29), while registering the second-most rushing yards, scoring the most offensive touchdowns and producing a 1,000-yard rusher in Brady Oliveira.

The Goldsboro, N.C., native and his linemates protected an offence that finished first in average gain per pass (9.6 yards), passing touchdowns (44) and pass efficiency (116.6). Since 1974, he is the sixth offensive lineman in Winnipeg history to win the award.

Bryant collected 34 first-place votes.

MOST OUTSTANDING SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER
​MARIO ALFORD
​SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

Mario Alford is the 11th player in league history to score four or more kick return touchdowns in one season. He was the fourth player to score them in three different ways with one punt return, one missed field goal return and two kickoff returns, which tied a single-season league record.

The West Virginia product accumulated 1,689 kick return yards and he registered 13 returns of 30 yards or more. The fifth-year player is the second Roughrider to ever win the award, joining Corey Holmes (2002 and 2005).

Alford received 38 first-place votes.

MOST OUTSTANDING ROOKIE
​DALTON SCHOEN, WR
​WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

Dalton Schoen led the league in receiving yards (1,441), average yards per catch (20.6 yards), 30+ yard receptions (12), second down conversion catches (41) and touchdowns (16).

The Kansas State alum is the first rookie since 2000 to lead the league in receiving yards. No player has topped the CFL in receiving yards and average yards per catch in the same season since Milt Stegall accomplished the feat in 2002.

He is the seventh Blue Bomber to claim the award and the first since Chris Matthews in 2012.

Schoen earned 48 first-place votes.

COACH OF THE YEAR
​MIKE O’SHEA
​WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

Mike O’Shea’s Blue Bombers claimed the West Division crown with a club-record 15 victories, giving the team double digits in wins for a sixth straight year. O’Shea joined Bud Grant as the only coaches in team history to accomplish the feat (1957 to 1962).

The North Bay, Ont., native is the sixth Winnipeg coach to claim the award and it is the team’s ninth Annis Stukus trophy since 1961. No coach has won it in back-to-back seasons since Charlie Taaffe (1999-2000).

O’Shea received 44 first-place votes.

ADDITIONAL HONOURS AT THE 2022 CFL AWARDS

The Commissioner’s Award, recognizing an individual or group for outstanding contributions to the league, was awarded to official Jeff Harbin. The 22-year veteran’s dedication to the CFL never waned, despite his battle with cancer.

As chosen by the Commissioner, the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award recognizes an individual or individuals who have demonstrated great leadership, while making significant contributions to the league. The award was presented to long-time Club executive and current BC Lions CEO and President, Rick LeLacheur.

Saskatchewan Roughriders centre Dan Clark received the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award, which is awarded annually to a Canadian player who demonstrates the attributes of Canada’s veterans: strength, perseverance, courage, comradeship and contribution to Canadian communities.

The Jane Mawby Tribute Award, recognizing a highly valued, yet too often unsung current employee at the club or league level, was presented to Saskatchewan Roughriders Director of Ticket Operations, Gail Mund, as she prepares to retire following 27 years of service to the club.

Edmonton Elks receiver, Emmanuel Arceneaux, was named this year’s recipient of the Tom Pate Memorial Award. Selected by the CFL Players’ Association, the award celebrates outstanding sportsmanship and is given to a player who has made significant contributions to his team and his community association.

The CFL Awards are a flagship event of Grey Cup Week as fans, media and the Canadian football community gather in anticipation of the country’s largest single-day sporting event – the Grey Cup. For more information on the 2022 Grey Cup Festival’s events, including dates, venues, purchasing details and more, please visit GreyCupFestival.ca.

The 109th Grey Cup will be played in Regina at Mosaic Stadium on Sunday, November 20 with kickoff slated for 5 p.m. local/6 p.m. ET. The sold-out contest and the Twisted Tea Grey Cup Halftime Show, featuring Jordan Davis, Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line and Canadian Josh Ross, will be broadcast live across the nation on TSN and RDS – Canada’s home of the CFL.

Be sure to join Alt Football Reddit and connect with other CFL and alt football fans.

Mark is the founder and editor of CFL News Hub. The site was started in March of 2021. Contact him directly by emailing mark.perry@cflnewshub.com

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