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Northwest senior offensive lineman Tanner Owen, right, was named a finalist for the 2021 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award.

Northwest Missouri State senior offensive tackle Tanner Owen is one of eight finalists for the 2021 Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award.

Thirty-nine regional nominees were up for voting. The finalists include five offensive linemen, two defensive ends and a defensive tackle. Two finalists advance from each of the four NCAA Division II super regions. All nominees must be seniors or graduate players/transfers.

Advancing from Super Region 3 are Owen and Ferris State offensive tackle Dylan Pasquali are the representatives from Super Region 3.

Owen, a three-time First Team All-MIAA selection along the offensive line, and four-time All-MIAA recipient, has started 50 consecutive games for a Bearcat offense that ranks No. 6 in the nation in total offense. Owen has paved the way for running back Al McKeller to lead the MIAA in rushing and has kept pass rushers away from QB Mike Hohensee, who ranks No. 1 in the nation in passing completion percentage and No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency.

The Bearcat offense has produced six games of 500 yards or more offense, which is the most for Northwest Missouri State since the 2013 season. Owen has helped NWSU reach the Division II playoffs all four seasons of his career at starting tackle.

Six of the eight finalists play for teams that reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

The national round of voting began Friday closes Dec. 3. The winner will be announced on Dec. 6. The award recipient has an invitation to participate in front of professional scouts and coaches at the East-West Shrine Game in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winner will also be recognized at a banquet.

Brandon Zenner can be reached at brandon.zenner@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.

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