Nov. 21, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Voters are selecting the top individual honors in the Football Championship Subdivision this week, and four Patriot League representatives are on the ballot in three different categories.
Colgate junior quarterback Gavin McCarney is up for the Walter Payton Award as the Most Outstanding Player in the nation, Georgetown senior Robert McCabe is a candidate for the Buck Buchanan Award as the Top Defensive Player in the FCS, and Colgate's Dick Biddle and Fordham's Joe Moorhead are both contenders for the Eddie Robinson Award as the FCS Coach of the Year.
A panel of about 160 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the winners for each of the awards, which are presented by The Sports Network. Voting will reflect only the regular season and conclude before the FCS playoffs begin Saturday. The winners of all three honors, as well as the Jerry Rice Award for the FCS Freshman of the Year, will be announced on Dec. 17 at the FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation in Philadelphia.
McCarney directed one of the top offenses in the nation with a standout season that has put him in the running for the Payton Award, which goes to the Most Outstanding Player in the FCS. He enters the postseason having completed 146-of-234 passes for 2,253 yards and 15 touchdowns with just six interceptions, and did even more damage on the ground with 174 carries for 1,309 yards and an FCS-best 22 rushing touchdowns, tying with teammate Jordan McCord. McCarney leads the nation in scoring with 12.18 points per game, is second in the FCS in points responsible for, third in passing efficiency, seventh in total offense and 11th in rushing. McCarney set a Patriot League single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback, with his 288-yard performance against Lafayette on Nov. 3 standing as the second-best rushing day by any player in Patriot League history. He led Colgate to a top-five mark nationally in rushing, total and scoring offense, and the Raiders averaged 49.3 points and 576.8 yards of total offense per game during Patriot League play.
McCabe led the nation in tackles with 159, finishing with 28 more than any other FCS player to place himself as a major candidate for the Buck Buchanan Award given to the Top Defensive Player in the nation. He also added 14.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks for the season to wrap up one of the top careers for a defensive player in Patriot League history. McCabe concludes his time at Georgetown with a school-record 407 tackles, placing him tied for fifth in Patriot League history with the top mark for any player since 1997. His 159 tackles this season also stand tied for fourth in League annals and mark the highest total for any player since 1995. McCabe had 19 consecutive games with double-digit tackles to finish his career.
Biddle wins his fifth Patriot League Coach of the Year award, more than any other coach in League history. It comes as the 17th year head coach led Colgate to its seventh Patriot League title during his tenure. Colgate got off to a 1-3 start, but the Raiders will enter the postseason on a seven-game win streak and have scored 35 points or more in nine consecutive contests. Colgate finished second in the country in both total and scoring offense and fifth in rushing offense as the Raiders rolled to points and yards all season. Colgate won its Patriot League games in decisive fashion as it took down Holy Cross (51-35), Georgetown (57-36), Bucknell (47-33) and Lafayette (65-41) before winning at Lehigh (35-24) to secure the League title and an undefeated Patriot League campaign on Nov. 10. The Raiders completed an undefeated run against Patriot League opponents with a 41-39 victory at Fordham on Saturday. It is Colgate's first Patriot League title and first undefeated League campaign since 2008.
Moorhead engineered one of the top turnarounds in the nation in his first season at Fordham. The Rams finished 6-5, their first winning mark since 2007, after going 1-10 the previous season. Fordham played close games throughout the year, and nearly missed an even better finish overall and against Patriot League teams as its League defeats against Lehigh, Bucknell and Colgate were by a total of eight points. Moorhead, who played quarterback at Fordham, is the first former Patriot League player to take over as head coach at one of the schools.
Patriot Leaguers have won major FCS awards five times. Colgate running backs Kenny Gamble (1987) and Jamaal Branch (2003) claimed Walter Payton Awards, while Holy Cross' Mark Duffner (1987), Lafayette's Bill Russo (1988) and Lehigh's Pete Lembo (2001) are Eddie Robinson Award winners.