September has passed, and some FCS teams played as many as five games during the first stretch of the season. So if the season ended today, which candidates would lead the voting for this level's top four awards — Walter Payton Award (top offensive player), Buck Buchanan Award (top defensive player), Jerry Rice Award (top freshman) and the Eddie Robinson Award (best coaching job). Our panel of nine tuned-in voters put together a ballot and ranked the candidates 1 through 5. Here, we highlight the Walter Payton Award leader.
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Gage Gubrud is a two-time Walter Payton Award finalist. He finished third in the voting as a sophomore in 2016 after putting up huge numbers. Now as a senior, the EWU quarterback is once again lighting it up. He's thrown for over 300 yards in three of the five games with the other two going over 200. Gubrud totals 1,416 yards passing for 13 touchdowns and also has 169 yards on the ground and two more scores.
Will he finally get over the voting hump and earn the honor of the best offensive player in the FCS? So far, our panel of voters thinks so.
This is a favorable award for quarterbacks. Since 2004, a quarterback has won it every year except for 2015 when EWU's Cooper Kupp captured the Walter Payton Award. So far, the three front-runners are signal callers.
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|Walter Payton AWARD (Offensive)|
|QB Gage Gubrud, East. Wash., Sr.||37 (6)|
|QB Devlin Hodges, Samford, Sr.||24 (1)|
|QB Chandler Burks, Kenn. St., Sr.||23 (1)|
|RB Dawonya Tucker, PV A&M, Jr.||15|
|QB Tom Flacco, Towson, Jr.||9 (1)|
|WR Bryce Nunnelly, Chattanooga, Soph.||8|
|WR Alexander Hollins, East. Illinois, Sr.||6|
|WR Kelvin McKnight, Samford, Sr.||6|
|RB Marquis Terry, SEMO, Sr.||5|
|RB Ryan Fulse, Wagner, Sr.||2|
The Buck Buchanan Award (Results)
The Jerry Rice Award (Results)
The Eddie Robinson Award (Results)
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THE FAN VOTES
The Walter Payton Award (Vote Here!)
The Buck Buchanan Award (Vote Here!)
The Jerry Rice Award (Vote Here!)
The Eddie Robinson Award (Vote Here)
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Thank you to the following panelists for the media vote: Chris Brown, HERO Sports Campus Correspondent (Jacksonville State); Caleb Rux, HERO Sports Campus Correspondent (Montana State); Dave Thomas, ESPN Harrisonburg (Va.); Anthony Nachreiner, KGEZ in Kalispell, Mont., Keith Brake, Bison1660 in Fargo, N.D. and HERO Sports staff members Ben Fox, Chase Kiddy, Sam Herder and Brian McLaughlin.