Fajardo wins Pack’s Golden Helmet Award
RENO – Cody Fajardo capped his Nevada career with the Golden Helmet Award as the team’s most valuable player during the 2014 season. The honor was part of the team awards announced by head coach Brian Polian Friday.
Fajardo, who finished his career as the school’s all-time completions leader, led the team in rushing yards (1,054) and passing yards (2,498) and accounted for 31 touchdowns as he guided the Pack to a 7-6 record and spot in the New Orleans Bowl. He was also named the team’s Outstanding Offensive Player.
Senior linebacker Jonathan McNeal was named the Outstanding Defensive Player after leading the team with 98 tackles, including 5.5 for a loss with three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Junior Trevor Taft and sophomore Alex Boy shared the Outstanding Special Teams Player honor. Taft earned the team’s Alpha Wolf honor 12 of the 13 games and excelled on coverage teams with 16 tackles on the year. Boy emerged as one of the top punters in the nation, leading the Mountain West and finished 11th nationally with a 44.3-yard average.
Senior Matt Galas started all 13 games at center and led a Union that paved the way for two top runners with Fajardo topping the 1,000-yard mark and Don Jackson finishing with 957 yards. He was honored with the Basalite Big Blocker award.
Senior safety Nigel Haikins earned the Striker Award, which was given to the player who consistently performs at a high level over a period of time. He was fourth on the team in tackles with 76 and tied for the team lead with three interceptions. He broke up seven other passes on the year, recovered three fumbles and forced another.
Senior defensive end Brock Hekking earned the Full-Speed, Effort and Habit Award on the defensive side while Jackson, the junior running back, got the honor for the offense.
Captains for the 2014 team were Fajardo, Galas, McNeal and junior linebacker Jordan Dobrich. Fajardo and McNeal also won Mountain West Player of the Week honors during the season.