DALLAS (FWAA) – North Dakota State linebacker Matt
Anderson is the weekly nominee for the 2010 Discover Orange
Bowl Courage Award, to be announced at the end of the season
by the Football Writers Association of America.
Anderson, a senior from Cavalier, N.D., has returned to football
after a neck injury curtailed his 2009 season and almost ended his
Anderson was injured during the season opener his freshman year.
It gradually worsened over the next two seasons. At times he felt
it driving or was awakened during the night. On the field, collisions
took the pain to another level.
"Sometimes," he said, "it would literally take my breath away.
It would take two or three plays to feel normal again."
After four games last season, Anderson was diagnosed with a bulging
disc as well as loose vertebrae. He underwent surgery in October
"I felt like I was hurting the team more than I was helping it,"
Anderson said. "Especially at linebacker where you can't tiptoe
After surgery, Anderson wore a halo device. He began supervised
workouts last January, including extremely limited weightlifting
and light running. He wasn't cleared for full contact until August,
but earned a starting job and has been a force.
Anderson's start this season was his best. He ranked third on
the team in tackles and recorded the first two interceptions of
his career, including one in a 6-3 win over Kansas on Sept. 4.
the fifth straight year, the Football Writers Association of
America and the Discover Orange Bowl will announce a
weekly nominee for the Discover Orange Bowl Courage Award
each Wednesday during the season. A blue-ribbon panel will determine
the award's recipient from those weekly nominees. The recipient
of the Courage Award will be announced in December and presented
with the trophy in conjunction with this year's Discover Orange
The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer
Gene Wojciechowski, also an FWAA member. A select group of FWAA
members vote on the recipient each year. The requirements for nomination
include displaying courage on or off the field, including overcoming
an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are the Connecticut
Huskies (2009), Tulsa's Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy's Zerbin Singleton
(2007), Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane Green Wave
(2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry
(2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).
The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 343-member,
primarily-volunteer organization. It is a self-sustaining, independent
organization that supports and produces activities and events that
enhance the image, economy and culture of South Florida. The Orange
Bowl Festival features a year-round schedule of events culminating
with the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3, 2011. Other OBC core
events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange
Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, Orange
Bowl International Tennis Championships and Orange Bowl Sailing
Regatta Series. For more information on the 2010-11 Orange Bowl
Festival and its events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities
through the Ambassador Program, visit www.orangebowl.org.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football
for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists,
as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works
to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America
team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve
Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-713-6198.
2010 Discover Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 29: Zac Etheridge, Auburn and Rodney Scott,
• Oct. 6: Jon Hoese, Minnesota
• Oct. 13: Marquez Herrod, Colorado
• Oct. 20: Matt Anderson, North Dakota State
• Oct. 27: Jamie Hampton, Troy
• Nov. 3: Ricky Dobbs, Navy
• Nov. 17: Andrew, Colter and Paul Phillips
• Nov. 24: Mississippi State Bulldogs
• Dec. 1: Eric LeGrand, Rutgers