Finalists for top interior lineman announced

Updated: November 21, 2006, 8:33 PM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- West Virginia center Dan Mozes, Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas and Texas offensive lineman Justin Blalock are the finalists for the Outland Trophy, given to the best interior lineman in college football.

Blalock, a 6-foot-4, 329-pound senior, hasn't allowed a sack in 26 games. He had started 44 straight games at right tackle, but moved to right guard for the last five games because an injury to a teammate.

Thomas, a 6-8, 306-pound senior, has 33 starts in 42 games for the Badgers. This season, he helped clear the way for freshman standout P.J. Hill, who has 1,533 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns.

The 6-4, 290-pound Mozes is a four-year starter for the Mountaineers, who rank second in the country in rushing offense.

West Virginia and Wisconsin have never had an Outland winner, while Texas is looking for its fourth winner and first since 1977.

The finalists were announced Tuesday and the winner will be announced Dec. 7.

Greg Eslinger of Minnesota won the award last season.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press