Jan. 7, 2012
Frisco, Texas - An historic senior season left Lehigh quarterback Chris Lum just short of the top honor in the Football Championship Subdivision, as Lum finished second in the Walter Payton Award voting announced at the FCS Awards Banquet on Friday evening.
Lum placed in a tie for second behind 2011 Walter Payton Award winner Bo Levi Mitchell of Eastern Washington. Lum matched Indiana State running back Shakir Bell with 219 points to place second. All three finalists were on hand for the FCS Awards Banquet held on the eve of the NCAA Division I Football Championship.
Mitchell, who quarterbacked Eastern Washington to the 2010 National Championship, earned 57 first place votes and 453 total points to win the 25th edition of the Walter Payton Award, which is presented by the Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com. Lum had 16 first-place votes and was ranked in the top five on 70 of the 131 ballots.
Lum put dents in the Patriot League and Lehigh record book during an outstanding senior season. He won Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year honors and finished the season by completing 358-of-453 passes for 4,378 yards and 32 touchdowns. He established Patriot League and Lehigh single-season records for completions and passing yards and set the school single-season touchdown pass record as well.
Lum led Lehigh to a second consecutive Patriot League title, and the Mountain Hawks finished in the top 10 in the national polls. Lehigh went 11-2 overall, winning a second-round playoff game at Colonial Athletic Association champion Towson on Dec. 3 before falling to championship game participant North Dakota State in the quarterfinals the following week.
"Chris Lum's performance this fall was nothing short of spectacular," said Lehigh head coach Andy Coen. "He had the best single season of any quarterback that ever played football at Lehigh University. We have a very rich tradition of great quarterbacks at Lehigh and Chris Lum is now part of that tradition," said Lehigh Head Coach Andy Coen.
The Walter Payton Award is based entirely on regular season performance and was voted on by a panel of media members and sports information directors at the conclusion of the regular season. In addition to Mitchell winning the Payton Award at the national awards presentation, New Hampshire junior linebacker Matt Evans captured the Buck Buchanan Award, which is given to the FCS' outstanding defensive player; Towson running back Terrance West won the inaugural Jerry Rice Award for FCS freshman of the year; and Towson's Rob Ambrose won the Eddie Robinson Award, which honors the FCS' coach of the year. The Sports Network presents and Fathead.com also sponsors those three awards.
Patriot League players have twice won the Walter Payton Award, with both honors going to Colgate running backs. Kenny Gamble claimed the inaugural award in 1987, while Jamaal Branch won the trophy in 2003.
For the full release and voting breakdown from The Sports Network, click here