Senior quarterback Aaron Winchester and first-year head coach Ryan McCarthy earned a pair of Northeast Conference major awards on Wednesday. Winchester was named the league's Offensive Player of the Year, while McCarthy was named the league's co-Coach of the Year. Winchester was also one of 12 Blue Devils honored with All-Conference selections on Wednesday.
The Blue Devils are one of just three FCS teams in the nation to remain undefeated vs. FCS teams this season. They are 11-1 overall and 11-0 against FCS opponents. The 11 wins is a school-record and the Blue Devils are making their second appearance in the FCS Playoffs in the last three years. They are one of just three teams in the country with 11 or more wins this season.
The Blue Devils have won eight straight games heading into Saturday's playoff game at the University at Albany. The Blue Devils and Great Danes will play in Albany on Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN3.
McCarthy was named head coach on Oct. 16, 2019 after serving as the interim head coach for the first six games of the season. The Blue Devils are ranked #17 in the country in the latest STATS FCS Poll, their highest-ranking in school history. They have also won six road games this season, more than any other team in the country. Their lone loss came vs. FBS opponent Eastern Michigan on Sept. 21.
Central finished a perfect 7-0 in Northeast Conference play this season and outscored its opponents 265-99 in league action. They boast the #2 defense in the country heading into the playoffs and lead the country in interceptions (20), turnover margin, defensive touchdowns (6).
Winchester is among the national leaders in completion percentage (12, 65.3%), passing efficiency (4th, 170.7), passing yards per completion (5th, 15.14) and passing yards per attempt (2nd, 9.89).
On the year he is 160-245 for 2,422 yards, 19 touchdowns and four interceptions. He is also the leading rusher on the team with 782 rushing yards on 148 carries, good for 5.3 yards per rush, and eight touchdowns. The Blue Devils are averaging 35.5 points per game, the 15th highest total in the country.
In addition to Winchester, junior wide receiver Tyshaun James, junior offensive lineman Connor Mignone, senior offensive lineman Jake Schena, junior linebacker Tre Jones and senior defensive back Tajik Bagley were named to the All-Conference First Team.
Senior offensive lineman Cole Phelps, senior tight end Arthur Gilmore, Jr., sophomore linebacker Foday Jalloh, senior defensive lineman Brandon Puritt, sophomore defensive back Dexter Lawson, Jr. and junior defensive back DJ Exilhomme were all named to the All-Conference Second Team.