EVANSTON, Ill.-Northwestern junior place-kicker Jeff Budzien was voted the Bakken-Anderson Big Ten Co-Kicker of the Year and a first-team All-Big Ten performer by the league's coaches, highlighting NU's entries on the 2012 all-conference teams announced Monday evening.
Budzien, who shared the place-kicking honor with Nebraska's Brett Maher, wrapped up the regular season having converted 17 of his 18 field goal attempts on the year, including 6-of-7 tries from 40 yards or longer. He also is 46-of-46 on extra point attempts this year, remaining perfect for his career (46-of-46) and extending his school record for most consecutive successful PATs.
The Wisconsin native is the first NU kicker since Brian Gowins in 1997 to earn first-team All-Big Ten recognition.
On the heels of his breakout 1,300-yard rushing season, junior running back Venric Mark was named a consensus second-team All-Big Ten choice by both the coaches and conference media. The Houston native is the Big Ten leader in all-purpose yards per game (170.7) and stands fourth in the conference in total touchdowns scored with 14.
One of the men responsible for opening running lanes for Mark, senior guard Brian Mulroe, joined Mark as a second-team all-conference selection in the eyes of the media. Mulroe was an anchor on an offensive line that helped the 'Cats finish third in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game (230.9) and second in fewest sacks allowed (1.3 per game).
Seven additional Wildcats were named honorable mention All-Big Ten performers by either the conference coaches, media or both, with six of the seven making their first career appearance on the All-Big Ten report:
LB Chi Chi Ariguzo (Media): Ariguzo supplied big plays throughout his first year as a starter for NU, tying for the Big Ten lead with four fumble recoveries and adding a team-best 10.5 tackles for loss and one interception.
S Ibraheim Campbell (Coaches and Media): Despite being in only his second year as a starter, the sophomore from Philadelphia was a leader in the NU secondary, racking up 85 tackles and tying for ninth in the league with 11 passes defended. Campbell also caused two fumbles and recorded one interception to help the Wildcats lead the league in turnover margin for the year (+13).
QB Kain Colter (Media): Colter received honorable mention recognition for the second straight season after flourishing as a dual-threat quarterback. Colter accounted for 20 total touchdowns as a runner (12) and passer (eight), finishing with 820 rushing yards while also completing 68.7 percent of his passes for 796 yards.
LB David Nwabuisi (Media): A senior leader and co-captain for the Wildcats, Nwabuisi led Northwestern with three interceptions -- including one INT return for touchdown -- and finished tied for 13th in the league with his 7.58 tackles per game. The honorable mention nod marks his first career all-conference accolade.
LB Damien Proby (Media): Northwestern's leading tackler with 108 stops, Proby started all 12 games at linebacker and finished sixth in the conference with 9.0 tackles per game.
DE Tyler Scott (Coaches and Media): Northwestern's sack leader, Scott finished with 7.0 sacks on the year to finish fourth in the Big Ten. He also posted five pass breakups and three forced fumbles from his defensive end spot, helping NU rank fourth in the league in rush defense with 122.8 yards allowed per game.
OL Patrick Ward (Coaches and Media): Mulroe's next-door neighbor on the left side of the offensive line, Ward dominated his opposition throughout the year. Another first-time all-conference honoree, Ward ably shifted to left tackle as a senior after making the first 26 starts of his career on the right end of the unit.