The native of Wagga Wagga, Australia had an outstanding first year as the punter for the Racers, averaging 42.1 yards per punt with 10 of his 54 total punts going over 50 yards, including a long of 66, and none of them getting blocked. Where Dawson really stood out, however, was his ability to pin opponents deep in their own territory and limiting their opportunities for return. MSU opponents totaled just 65 punt return yards on the season, giving the Racers an extremely high net punting average of 39.4 yards, which was the third highest in the FCS. In total, the first-team All-OVC selection had 16 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, had just four touchbacks and forced opponents to fair catch the ball 18 times.
Nesler, a former walk-on, played a key role in an offensive line that averaged the most rushing yards per game by a Racer offense since 2014 at 132.7. In addition, Nesler and the rest of the line allowed just 20 sacks, the lowest number allowed by a MSU team since 2010.
In addition to its All-American awards, the magazine also published its own All-OVC teams which featured several Racers. Nesler, along with quarterback Drew Anderson and running back D.J. Penick were named to the third team on offense, while linebacker Quincy Williams and defensive lineman Kenney Wooten were named to the first team on defense. Dawson and kick returner Malik Honeycutt both earned first-team honors for special teams, while kicker Gabriel Vicente was placed on the second team.