ODU’s Taylor Heinicke named finalist for Walter Payton Award
Old Dominion University sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke was named one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award, as announced Wednesday by The Sports Network. The award is given to the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision and will be awarded in Philadelphia on Monday, Dec. 17.
Heinicke, Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein and Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet are invited as the three finalists for the FCS top honor.
The ODU sophomore has lit up opposing defenses all season as he leads the FCS in passing yards (4,158), passing yards per game (378.00), total offense (412.27), points responsible for (24.18) and touchdown passes (35).
On Sept. 22 in ODU’s thrilling 64-61 victory over No. 18 New Hampshire, Heinicke re-wrote the NCAA Division I record books. He set the NCAA Division I record of 730 passing yards and gained 791 yards of total offense, surpassing the previous passing yardage record of 716 set by Houston’s David Klingler in 1990 and also surpassing Klingler’s 732 yards of total offense. He also set single-game records for passing yards in a quarter, passing yards in a half, most passes in a game without an interception, total offense in a quarter and total offense in a half.
Heinicke is 335-of-491 passing on the year and ranks third in the nation in completions per game and his 68.2 completion percentage ranks fourth in the nation.
He has passed for 300 or more yards seven times and 400 or more yards three times this season. He tossed four or more TD passes five times including a school record seven TD’s in the win over Campbell.
The Atlanta native also has rushed for 377 yards and eight touchdowns on the year.
With his 4,158 passing yards, Heinicke is currently 13th on the single-season passing yards list and fifth in total offensive yards in a season in FCS history.
He was already named the CAA Offensive Player of the Year along with first-team All-CAA honors at quarterback.
Heinicke would become just the second sophomore to win the FCS highest honor if selected, as Georgia Southern running back Adrian Peterson won the award in 1999.
He has helped the Monarchs to a 10-1 overall record and a league best 7-1 mark. The Monarchs earned the No. 4 seed and a first round bye in the FCS playoffs and host Coastal Carolina on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m.