FRISCO, Tex.—North Dakota State redshirt freshman quarterback Trey Lance was recognized with the Walter Payton Award tonight presented by STATS Perform FCS Awards banquet tonight as the best offensive player of the year.
“This is just a phenomenal, surreal moment, unexpected totally,” said Carlton Lance, who is Trey’s father, and accepted the award for his son.
NDSU plays for its eighth national title tomorrow against James Madison and was not able to attend the award ceremony.
In his first year as the NDSU 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 and also the first NDSU player to be given this award.
Lance won the award over Sacramento State junior quarterback Kevin Thomson, Northern Arizona senior quarterback Case Cookus, and Monmouth junior running back Pete Guerriero. This was the first year four finalists were recognized.
The 2019 Buck Buchanan Award given for the best FCS defensive player of the year was awarded to Montana redshirt senior linebacker Dante Olson. Olson wins this year’s award after finishing third in last year’s voting.
He is the third Montana player to win the award, with Kroy Biermann in 2007 and Tyrone Holmes in 2015 also named Buck Buchanan winners.
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 and also breaking Montana school and Big Sky records. Olson racked up double-digit tackles in 10 of the Grizzlies’ 14 games and added 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. His 397 career tackles for the Grizzlies are the most in program history.
Olson won the award over two other finalist in James Madison senior defensive end Ron’Dell Carter and Nicholls defensive end Sully Laiche.
Other awards that were already announced before the STATS FCS Awards Banquet. These included the national coach of the year, top freshman in the nation and scholar-athlete.
Sacramento State’s Troy Taylor won 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.
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 and was also named to several All-American teams for his on-the-field performance.
Lance not only won the Payton Award this year but also took received 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 NDSU player to receive this honor.
The award is voted on by 156 sports information, media relations, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. The award was voted based on regular-season performance.
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football is the Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
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