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Anthony Chiusano | | January 6, 2017

Sam Houston State's Jeremiah Briscoe wins Walter Payton Award

  Jeremiah Briscoe broke the single-season FCS record for touchdown passes this year.

Sam Houston State quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe capped off a record-setting junior season Friday night by taking home the nation’s top offensive honor across the FCS.

Briscoe was announced as the 2016 Walter Payton Award winner at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation in Frisco, Texas. The award is given annually to the most outstanding offensive player. Briscoe, the Houston native, beat out Eastern Washington's dynamic duo in quarterback Gage Gubrud and wide receiver Cooper Kupp (the 2015 winner).

The first-team AP All-American quarterback led the nation's top scoring offense (49.5 points per game) with 4,602 passing yards and an FCS-best 57 touchdown passes. His final five came in a playoff win against Chattanooga that gave him the new single-season FCS record.

MORE: FCS' 2016 AP All-American teams

A panel of more than 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted on the award following the conclusion of the regular season. This year’s honor marks the 30th anniversary of the award.

Schult takes home Buchanan Award

Northern Iowa senior defensive lineman Karter Schult won the 2016 Buck Buchanan Award at Friday night's banquet, which is given to the FCS' top defensive player of the year.

Schult finished with 74 total tackles, 17 sacks and an interception to close out his career as a Panther. In four years as a staple on UNI's defensive line, Schult accumulated 36.5 sacks.

Keeler named coach of the year

Three other awards were handed out Friday night for coach of the year, scholar-athlete of the year and top freshman of the year. All three winners were revealed shortly after the regular season ended.

Sam Houston State coach K.C. Keeler took home the Eddie Robinson Award for the nation's top coach after leading the Bearkats to an undefeated regular season and a No. 5 seed in the playoffs. The Bearkats advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to James Madison. 

Eastern Kentucky quarterback Tyler Swafford was awarded the Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award while Duquesne running back A.J. Hines earned the Jerry Rice Award for his outstanding freshman campaign.

The STATS FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation is part of the festivities leading up to Saturday’s FCS national championship at Toyota Stadium in Frisco. Youngstown State and James Madison will battle for the crown to close out the 2016-17 season.

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