• December 3, 2018

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Within a football program that will turn 150 next fall and has built a tradition with both Hall of Famers and a Heisman Trophy winner, it’s nearly impossible to create a legacy that can stand with the greatest ever who wore Orange and Black.

John Lovett did just that, though, and he punctuated it in style Monday afternoon when he was awarded the 2018 Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year.

Only the fifth two-time Bushnell Cup winner in Ivy history, and the first ever from Princeton, Lovett defeated teammate Jesper Horsted in a historic final vote; this was the first time one school had both finalists for either the Offensive or Defensive Player of the Year since the Ivy started this format in 2011.

It was fitting that this duo was the first, because Lovett and Horsted paced Princeton to the greatest offensive season in Ivy League history — and one of its greatest team performances in program history — as well as Princeton’s 12th Ivy League championship, and only its fourth outright title. The highest-scoring team in the 63-year history of the Ivy League, Princeton posted its first perfect season since 1964 and finished the 2018 season ranked eighth in the AFCA Coaches Poll.

And while Horsted was a record-setting leader in that effort, nobody has had a bigger impact on the program’s success over the last 50 years than Lovett, who accepted his second Bushnell Cup at the Hilton Midtown in New York City Monday afternoon in front of several of his championship teammates. Princeton went 22-4 with Lovett in the lineup since the start of the 2015 season; during the 2016 and 2018 Ivy League championship seasons, when Princeton went 17-2 with the Wantagh, N.Y. standout in the lineup, and Lovett walked away from both with a championship ring and a Bushnell Cup.

Other two-time winners include: Ed Marinaro (Cornell, 1970-71); John Pagliaro (Yale, 1976-77); Carl Morris (Harvard, 2001-02); and Zack Hodges (Harvard, 2013-14). The first three each won during the era of only one Bushnell Cup winner, while Hodges was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, though he shared the 2014 honor with Princeton linebacker Mike Zeuli.

Princeton’s Bushnell Cup winners include Walt Snickenberger (1974), Jason Garrett (1988), Judd Garrett (1989), Keith Elias (1993), Dave Patterson (1995), Jeff Terrell (2006), Mike Catapano (2012), Quinn Epperly (2013), Mike Zeuli (2014), Lovett (2016, 2018) and Chad Kanoff (2017).

Lovett’s historic resumé at Princeton includes the following:
• ranked first in the Ivy League in total offense (303.0 yards/game), second in rushing (99.3 yards/game) and second in passing (203.7 yards/game)
• ranked fourth in the FCS in points responsible for per game (20.9)
• ranked second in the Ivy League and ninth in the FCS with 13 rushing touchdowns
• ranked sixth in the nation in completion percentage (66.1%)
• led the Ivy League with 18 passing touchdowns
• scored both of Princeton’s touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, of Princeton’s 14-9 comeback win over #20 Dartmouth
• three-time Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week (shares the Princeton record with seven career honors)
• led Princeton to a 23-4 record in games he started between 2015-2018, including a 14-1 mark in its last 15 Ivy League games
• finished second all-time at Princeton with 41 rushing touchdowns

Horsted ended arguably — any maybe it’s not even an argument — the greatest wideout career in Princeton history all over the Ivy League record book. His resumé includes:
• led the Ivy League with 15 touchdowns scored (13 receiving, two rushing)
• ranked sixth in the FCS in touchdown catches (13), seventh in receptions per game (7.2), and 12th in receiving yards per game (104.7)
• named FCS National Offensive Player of the Week after catching three touchdown passes and rushing for a fourth score in the 42-14 win over Penn that clinched Princeton’s perfect season
• broke the Princeton record for career receptions in the Penn game; finished with 196 career catches
• ended career with Princeton-record 28 touchdown catches, which is tied for fifth most in Ivy history; no other Princeton player ever caught 20 touchdowns in their career
• finished second on Princeton’s all-time receiving yards list (2,703); total ranks 10th most in Ivy League history
• named a Willam Campbell Trophy semifinalist as one of the top scholar-athletes in college football
• set an Ivy League record with seven consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards (last five of 2017, first two of 2018)
• earned multiple All-Ivy League honors as member of both the Princeton football and baseball teams, and helped both to Ivy League titles 
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