FCS Awards Watch List Player
(STATS) - It was quite a season for Jeremiah Briscoe. So good in fact that he often didn't even play four quarters and somehow still found a way to etch his name in the record books.
Sam Houston State's Briscoe set the FCS single-season record with 57 touchdown passes and finished one shy of matching Colt Brennan's Division I mark set in 2006. Briscoe threw six TDs or more four times in 11 games and was the FCS regular-season leader in passing yards (4,096), passing yards per game (372.4) and passer rating (187.0).
Remarkably, of his 503 pass attempts, only 136 came in the second half of a game, including just 52 in the fourth quarter.
"Jeremiah's not played seven fourth quarters, so his numbers could be more ridiculous than they are," said the Bearkats' K.C. Keeler, the STATS FCS Eddie Robinson Award winner as FCS Coach of the Year. "But he just wants to win. I don't think he's paid attention to the numbers."
Briscoe was named the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award winner Friday night at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation in Frisco, Texas. The Eastern Washington duo of receiver Cooper Kupp and quarterback Gage Gubrud finished second and third, respectively.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Briscoe opened this season by throwing three touchdown passes in each of his first three games before totaling 17 in the next three. Included in that stretch was a school-record seven-TD, 438-yard performance in a rout of Stephen F. Austin. As the wins kept piling up for Sam Houston State, so did the touchdowns for Briscoe. He closed the regular season with another seven-score game in a win over Central Arkansas that gave the Bearkats a perfect regular season for the second time in school history and the Southland Conference championship.
He averaged 4.4 touchdowns per game for an offense that led the FCS in points per game (49.5) and total yards (547.3).
Briscoe remained humble after setting the single-season record with five TD passes in a playoff win over Chattanooga.
"It's an absolutely true honor, but none of that happens without the best receiving corps in the country," he said. "Our receivers kept making plays and plays and crazy catches. That's what happens when our offensive line protects the way they do and our receivers just make plays. It's not me at all."
Briscoe, the first Bearkat and second Southland Conference player ever to claim the award, was selected from 25 finalists by a national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. The voting reflected the regular season, with Briscoe receiving 77 first-place votes and 569 points followed by Kupp with 31 first-place votes and 372 points and Gubrud with 20 first-place votes and 362 points.
Kupp, the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year in 2015 and a four-time first-team All-American, caught a Big Sky-record 117 passes (sixth in FCS history) for 1,700 yards (fourth in FCS history) and tied teammate Shaq Hill for the FCS lead with 17 touchdown receptions. He also scored two other TDs and threw for another two. Kupp left EWU as the all-time FCS leader in catches (428), receiving yards (6,464) and receiving touchdowns (73).
Gubrud, a redshirt sophomore, was on the other end of 16 of Kupp's 17 TD catches this season, finished with 48 and set the FCS record with 5,160 passing yards. He led the nation with 5,766 total yards, just 33 shy of Steve McNair's FCS record at Alcorn State in 1994.
By winning the Payton Award, Briscoe earned the first-team quarterback spot on the STATS FCS All-America Team.