FRISCO, Texas -- South Dakota State University quarterback Austin Sumner finished third in the balloting for the inaugural Jerry Rice Award, officials from the Sports Network announced Thursday night. The award is given to the top freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision and is voted on by a panel of sports information directors and select media from across the country.
Towson (Md.) running back Terrance West won the award, collecting 89 first-place votes and 533 total points. Runner-up was Old Dominion (Va.) quarterback Taylor Heinicke with 15 first-place votes and 359 points. Sumner received eight first-place votes and 221 points.
A 6-foot-5, 230-pound redshirt freshman from Brandon, Sumner started
the final eight games for the Jackrabbits and set a Missouri Valley
Football Conference freshman record with 2,382 passing yards. Among his
many accolades he was named MVFC Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the MVFC All-Newcomer Team.
Other season highlights included:
* Led all FCS freshman quarterbacks in passing average (238.2 yards per game), total passing yards (2,382), and touchdown passes (16)
* Led all FCS freshmen in total offense (231.10 yards per game)
* Set Missouri Valley Football Conference freshman passing record with 2,382 yards
* Named MVFC Offensive Player of the Week after four-touchdown, 328-yard performance against Southern Illinois on Nov. 5
* Two-time MVFC Newcomer of the Week (at Youngstown State on Oct. 8 and at Missouri State on Oct. 29)
* Passed for at least 200 yards in each of his last seven starts
* Threw for 300-plus yards five times, including career-best 377 yards Oct. 29 at Missouri State, when he was named National Freshman of the Week by the Sports Network
* Tied school record with 37 completions in Oct. 15 game against nationally ranked Northern Iowa
* Threw four touchdown passes in a game three times
* Rushed for three touchdowns
* Led team on 16 touchdown-scoring drives of 70 or more yards
Other award winners announced Thursday night included New Hampshire linebacker Matt Evans as the recipient of the 2011 Buck Buchanan Award for the top defensive player in the FCS ranks and Rob Ambrose of Towson as the recipient of the Eddie Robinson Award as FCS coach of the year. The Walter Payton Award for top offensive player is scheduled to be announced Friday.