Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Varga Wins Bushnell Cup

Varga Wins Bushnell Cup

Bulldog Back Joins Elite Group

VIDEO highlights of event

MANHATTAN, N.Y. – It's only fitting that the Tournament of Roses was the presenting sponsor of the Bushnell Cup today. This fall marked the 100th anniversary of the world famous Yale Bowl, the model for more recent stadiums like the Rose Bowl, which has its annual parade and bowl game in Pasadena and owes much of what it has become to the school in New Haven. Tyler Varga, one of the greatest players to sink his cleats into the Yale Bowl's grass was congratulated by Richard Chinen, the President of the 2015 Tournament of Roses, after the senior tailback was named the Ivy League's Offensive Player of the Year at the Bushnell Cup presentation inside the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.


Varga edged Dartmouth quarterback Dalyn Williams to become Yale's eighth Bushnell recipient and the ninth overall winner from the school.


The Bushnell presentation included remarks from Chinen and NFF President Steve Hatchell before the winners and their coaches got to speak. There was also a short highlight clip of each finalist.


"It is truly an honor to be part of this celebration," said Varga, who was announced as the Bushnell winner by Robin Harris, the executive director of the Ivy Group. "Yale has provided me with an outstanding football experience, one that I will draw from for the rest of my life. The last three years [his Yale career] seemed like just a semester."


Varga, a three-time All-Ivy League pick, was a 2014 first-team selection after scoring a school-record 26 total touchdowns and averaging 6.1 per carry and 142 yards per game. He led the FCS in touchdowns and scoring average while helping the Bulldogs go 8-2, which helped him also earn the 2014 Gold Helmet by the New England Football Writers for the top senior in the FCS.


The Ivy League and the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) partnered to co-host the presentation of the Asa S. Bushnell Cup, which honors offensive and defensive (Harvard's Zack Hodges, Princeton's Mike Zeuli tied for that) players of the year.


"This is a great day for Yale football and Yale University," said Tony Reno, Yale's Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach. "What he did for us as a back and a leader was truly incredible. He helped get the football program where it belongs."


The Bushnell Cup event is part of the festivities surrounding the Dec. 9 NFF Annual Awards Dinner, which Varga will be attending as a 2014 scholar-athlete recipient. The Yale offensive star is the fourth Bulldog to win the Bushnell and be an NFF Scholar-Athlete.


The last Bushnell winner from Yale was RB Mike McLeod (2007), who was in attendance today. Seven years ago, the Ivy League selected just one MVP. Six of the nine (RB John Pagliaro won twice) Yale winners have been running backs.


Varga's spectacular season includes one more game. He has been invited to the 2015 Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and will play for the North on Jan. 24 in a 4 p.m. EST game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium (38,888) that airs live on the NFL Network.


Varga, who has a 3.56 GPA in ecology & evolutionary biology, has an impressive list of awards off the field. In addition to being an NFF Scholar-Athlete (he could win the William V. Campbell Trophy Tuesday night), the Yale tailback was named the Gridiron Club of Boston's FCS winner of the Swede Nelson Award for achievement in sportsmanship, academics and athletics.


Despite playing just 24 games the last three seasons, the Yale tailback is third on Yale's career rushing TD list with 31, fourth in career rushing yards with 2,985 and fifth with 529 rushing attempts. He went over the 100-yard mark in 17 contests with over 200.


"Our offensive coaches did a great job of getting him in position to make plays," said Reno.


Yale's Bushnell Cup Winners

Dick Jauron, RB, 1972

John Pagliaro, RB, 1976

John Pagliaro, RB, 1977

Tim Tumpane, LB, 1979

Kevin Czinger, MG, 1980

Rich Diana, RB, 1981

Kelly Ryan, QB, 1987

Mike McLeod, RB, 2007

Tyler Varga, TB, 2014


Yale's Bushnell Cup Winners/NFF Scholar-Athletes

Dick Jauron, RB, 1972

Kevin Czinger, MG, 1980

Rich Diana, RB, 1981

Tyler Varga, TB, 2014


Yale's NFF Scholar-Athletes

Rick McCarthy, OG, 1967

Tom Neville, DT, 1970

Dick Jauron, RB, 1972

Stone Phillips, QB, 1976

Bill Crowley, LB, 1978

Kevin Czinger, MG, 1980

Rich Diana, RB, 1981

Peter Lee, QB, 2001

Ed McCarthy, OT, 2006

Casey Gerald, DB, 2008

Patrick Witt, QB, 2011

Tyler Varga, TB, 2014


Bushnell Cup Winners/NFF National Scholar-Athletes

Dick Jauron (Yale, 1972), Kevin Czinger (Yale, 1980), Rich Diana (Yale, 1981), Tom Gilmore (Penn, 1985), Keith Elias (Princeton, 1993), Nick Hartigan (Brown, 2005) and Jeff Mathews (Cornell, 2013), Tyler Varga (Yale, 2014).


VIDEO of Varga before the presentation



filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director



image by Stephen Fritzer