FRISCO, Texas — The seven-time national champs have their first Walter Payton Award winner.
North Dakota State redshirt freshman quarterback Trey Lance was honored with the 2019 FCS Walter Payton Award Friday night at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet in Frisco, Texas, home of the FCS championship. The award, which debuted in 1987, is given annually to the most outstanding offensive player in the FCS.
Lance edged out fellow finalists Case Cookus of Northern Arizona, Pete Guerriero of Monmouth and Kevin Thomson of Sacramento State. This was the first time that four finalists were invited to the banquet.
WALTER PAYTON AWARD: Complete history of the annual FCS top offensive honor
In his first year as a starter, Lance has passed for 2,714 yards and 28 touchdowns while rushing for 934 yards and 13 additional touchdowns. He ranks first in the FCS in passing efficiency (182.80) and has yet to throw an interception. Lance is the first freshman to win the award in its 33-year history.
"It's a huge honor honestly to be even in the conversation for that. I've said it before, wouldn't be in it without the coaching staff, the position they put me in to be successful," Lance said Friday afternoon ahead of the award's announcement. "The guys around me getting to this point in the season, Zeb [Noland] and Noah [Sanders], and Easton [Stick] as well, guys that came before me. Wouldn't be anywhere in the conversation without those guys."
Lance has led the top-ranked Bison to a 15-0 start heading into Saturday's FCS championship game against James Madison. NDSU seeks its eighth national title in the past nine years.
Montana's Dante Olson wins Buck Buchanan Award
A year after finishing third in the award race, Montana redshirt senior linebacker Dante Olson was announced the 2019 winner of the Buck Buchanan Award, handed to the most outstanding defensive player in FCS football.
Olson finished the 2019 season with 76 solo tackles and 179 total tackles, the latter being best in the FCS for a second straight year. Olson racked up double-digit tackles in 10 of the Grizzlies' 14 games and added 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Olson finished his collegiate career with 397 total tackles, a school record. He is the third Montana player to win the Buchanan Award, tying Cal Poly for most single-school representatives in the award's history.
Defensive ends Ron'Dell Carter of James Madison and Sully Laiche of Nicholls were the other two finalists for the 2019 honor.
Three more national awards handed out
The national coach of the year, top freshman in the nation and scholar-athlete in FCS football were also celebrated Friday. These winners were announced back in December, before the STATS FCS Awards Banquet .
Sacramento State's Troy Taylor is this year's Eddie Robinson Award winner for national coach of the year. Taylor guided the Hornets to a program-best nine wins in just his first season at the helm. Sacramento State finished the year 9-4 with its first-ever share of the Big Sky conference title.
The Hornets qualified for the FCS playoffs for the first time in program history and was the No. 4 seed in the bracket. They lost to Austin Peay, 42-28, in the second round of the tournament.
Lance, the 2019 Walter Payton Award winner, also took home the Jerry Rice Award as the national freshman of the year. He is the third quarterback to be honored in the award's nine-year history and the first North Dakota State winner.
This year's Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award winner is Bucknell punter Alex Pechin. The senior excelled on the field with a school- and conference-record 47.3 yards per punt en route to becoming a first-team All-American in four different publications.
The two-time team captain and three-time Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year is a biomedical engineering and management for engineers double major with a 3.90 GPA.
|2019||Trey Lance, North Dakota State||Quarterback|
|2018||Devlin Hodges, Samford||Quarterback|
|2017||Jeremiah Briscoe, Sam Houston State||Quarterback|
|2016||Jeremiah Briscoe, Sam Houston State||Quarterback|
|2015||Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington||Wide receiver|
|2014||John Robertson, Villanova||Quarterback|
|2013||Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois||Quarterback|
|2012||Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion||Quarterback|
|2011||Bo Levi Mitchell, Eastern Washington||Quarterback|
|2010||Jeremy Moses, Stephen F. Austin||Quarterback|
|2009||Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State||Quarterback|
|2008||Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State||Quarterback|
|2007||Jayson Foster, Georgia Southern||Quarterback|
|2006||Ricky Santos, New Hampshire||Quarterback|
|2005||Erik Meyer, Eastern Washington||Quarterback|
|2004||Lang Campbell, William & Mary||Quarterback|
|2003||Jamaal Branch, Colgate||Running back|
|2002||Tony Romo, Eastern Illinois||Quarterback|
|2001||Brian Westbrook, Villanova||Running back|
|2000||Louis Ivory, Furman||Running back|
|1999||Adrian Peterson, Georgia Southern||Running back|
|1998||Jerry Azumah, New Hampshire||Running back|
|1997||Brian Finneran, Villanova||Wide receiver|
|1996||Archie Amerson, Northern Arizona||Running back|
|1995||Dave Dickenson, Montana||Quarterback|
|1994||Steve McNair, Alcorn State||Quarterback|
|1993||Doug Nussmeier, Idaho||Quarterback|
|1992||Michael Payton, Marshall||Quarterback|
|1991||Jamie Martin, Weber State||Quarterback|
|1990||Walter Dean, Grambling State||Running back|
|1989||John Friesz, Idaho||Quarterback|
|1988||Dave Meggett, Towson||Running back|
|1987||Kenny Gamble, Colgate||Running back|