Chattanooga, TN (Sports Network) -
Eastern Washington quarterback Erik Meyer was named the 19th winner of the Walter Payton Award at the FCS College Football Awards held in Chattanooga, TN on the eve of the FCS national championship game.
Meyer threw for 3,616 passing yards in the regular season, and directed an Eastern Washington offense that finished second nationally in passing yardage (337.6 ypg) and third in total offense (477.7 ypg). Meyer threw for 26 touchdowns and five interceptions, and added four touchdowns in a playoff loss to Northern Iowa to finish with a 169.3 passer rating. That rating helped Meyer finish with a 166.47 career passer rating, which broke the FCS record of 166.27 set by 1995 Payton Award winner Dave Dickenson. Meyer also helped the Eagles earn the Big Sky?s automatic berth to the playoffs.
Meyer performed well throughout the season and led the Eagles to at least 23 points in every contest. Meyer threw for more than 300 yards in the first three games of the season, though the Eagles started 1-2. After wins against Northern Arizona and Portland State, Meyer made his defining mark on the season at Montana. Meyer put on a near-flawless show with a 28-for-40, 395-yard, five-touchdown effort in a 34-20 win. In a must-win game, Meyer orchestrated a 35-14 win against Montana State (254 total yards, 2 TD) that put the Eagles in position to claim a share of the Big Sky title. Meyer finished the regular season with a gaudy 9,874 yards passing, 80 touchdowns and only 17 interceptions in his career.
In the closet race for first place in the history of the Payton Award, Meyer received 33 first-place votes and 333 points from the panel of 113 FCS sports information directors and selected media. Following right behind was New Hampshire quarterback Ricky Santos, who picked up 31 first-place votes and collected 328 total points to finish just five points back of Meyer. Brown running back Nick Hartigan finished third with 11 first-place votes and 205 points.
The Walter Payton Award was established in 1987 by The Sports Network.