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Greg Peach captures 2008 Buck Buchanan Award
Eastern Washington defensive end honored as most outstanding defensive player in FCS college football
The Buchanan Award, named for the legendary Grambling and Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle, is presented annually to the top defensive player in FCS.
"Coming in as a freshman, you see the award and you think about it," said Peach. "But I never thought I would have won it. To even be a top-16 guy on the Buchanan watch list was unbelievable for me."
Peach led FCS in sacks (1.64 per game, 18 total for 103 yards in losses) and tackles for loss (2.05 per game, 22.5 total, 133 yards) in 2008, recording six multi-sack games and 72 tackles along the way. The campaign included an eye-opening four-sack effort against perennial FCS stalwart Montana on Oct. 11.
Peach was just one sack away from the Big Sky Conference single-season record, owned by Montana's Andy Petak with 19, and finished fifth-best in FCS history. He is second in the Big Sky and fourth in FCS for career sacks with 35.5, finishing just three sacks behind Jared Allen of Idaho State, the 2003 Buchanan Award winner and now an NFL standout. Peach also owns school standards for single-season and career sacks, as well as tackles for loss marks for a season and a career.
The 6-2, 250-pound defensive lineman from Vancouver, WA ended his season with a flourish in the Eagles' 33-26 victory over Big Sky co-champion and No. 8-ranked Weber State - a win that cost the Wildcats a perfect conference record, an outright league title and a probable seed in the NCAA playoffs.
With 1:02 remaining and WSU running back Trevyn Smith heading towards an apparent game-tying touchdown, Peach recovered a fumble on his final college play to seal his team's victory and give EWU a winning season.
Peach won by the largest margin in Buchanan Award history, earning 39 first-place votes and 313 points to finish 107 points ahead of runner-up Jovan Belcher, a defensive end from Maine. Belcher had 15 first-place votes and 206 points, while Appalachian State safety Mark LeGree placed third with 183 points.
The Buck Buchanan Award was established in 1995 by The Sports Network. Past winners of the honor include current NFL standouts such as Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (2003, Idaho State), Jacksonville Jaguars safety Rashean Mathis (2002, Bethune-Cookman), along with former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl linebacker Dexter Coakley (1995-96, Appalachian State).