December 4, 1998

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Autry Denson, Bobbie Howard, Mike Rosenthal and Tim Ridder all earned awards Friday night at the 79th annual University of Notre Dame Football Banquet sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.

Denson, a senior tailback from Lauderhill, Fla., for the third straight year won the Notre Dame National Monogram Club MVP award, as voted upon by the players. Denson stands as Notre Dame’s all-time leading rusher with 4,318 career yards to go with 43 rushing touchdowns. He tied an Irish record by rushing for more than 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons — and Allen Pinkett, whose career rushing record Denson broke in the Nov. 14 Navy game, was the only other Irish back to accomplish that.

Howard, a senior captain and linebacker from Rand, W.Va., merited two awards — the Nick Pietrosante Award (also voted upon by the players) and the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award.

The Pietrosante Award goes to the player who best exemplifies the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride of the late Irish All-America fullback who died of cancer in 1988. The Rockne Student-Athlete Award is based on Howard’s 2.962 grade-point average as a finance major in the College of Business Administration. Howard led the Irish in tackles this season with 118.

Rosenthal, a senior captain and offensive tackle from Granger, Ind., received the Lineman of the Year Award from the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. Rosenthal led the resurgent Irish running game in ’98, in the process earning first-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Foundation.

Ridder, a senior offensive guard from Omaha, Neb., received the State Farm/Mutual Broadcasting Student-Athlete of the Year Award. A starter in every game this year at guard, he holds a 3.029 grade-point average as a history major in the College of Arts and Letters.