Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - South Carolina State, Eastern Kentucky
and Liberty lead their respective FCS conferences in fewest rushing yards
allowed this season. Pardon their defenses, however, for needing to dust
themselves off after they faced running back Lorenzo Taliaferro.
The Coastal Carolina standout powered his way to over 150 rushing yards against
each defense while enjoying a record-breaking start to his senior season,
which on Thursday saw Taliaferro move onto the Walter Payton Award Watch List.
The 27th annual award, presented by The Sports Network, honors the outstanding
player in the FCS. This year's winner will join a list of Payton Award greats
such as Steve McNair, John Friesz, Brian Westbrook, Tony Romo, Brian Finneran
and Armanti Edwards.
Taliaferro has been the building block of sixth-ranked Coastal Carolina's 7-0
start this season. Make that bulldozer.
At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Taliaferro has raced through defenders to rank first
in the FCS in scoring (15.4 points per game), second in rushing touchdowns
(17), fourth in rushing yards per game (140.9), fifth in total rushing yards
(986), 10th in all-purpose yards per game (151.7) and 18th in points
responsible for (108) - the only non-quarterback among the top 30 in the
Taliaferro has set Coastal Carolina's single-season record for rushing
touchdowns and overall touchdowns (18) as well as total points (108). He needs
122 yards to surpass the school's single-season mark for rushing yards.
Included in Taliaferro's huge campaign were 205 rushing yards and three
touchdowns against Elon. It was one of his six games with multiple touchdowns
and one of four with at least three scores.
"Just a man-child out there playing against boys," Elon coach Jason Swepson
Other nominees on the Watch List are quarterbacks Vernon Adams of Eastern
Washington, Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois, Brock Jensen of North Dakota
State, Jeff Mathews of Cornell, DeNarius McGhee of Montana State, Jerick
McKinnon of Georgia Southern and Michael Nebrich of Fordham; running backs Zach
Bauman of Northern Arizona, Isaiah Crowell of Alabama State, Timothy Flanders
of Sam Houston State, Kyle Harbridge of Saint Francis (Pa.), David Johnson of
Northern Iowa, Fabian Truss of Samford, Terrance West of Towson and Zach Zenner
of South Dakota State; and wide receivers Jordan Harris of Bryant, Lee Kurfis
of Lehigh, Erik Lora of Eastern Illinois and Walter Powell of Murray State.
Bios of all 20 players can be found at http://tinyurl.com/yhv6oh8.
Other players considered for the Watch List: Lehigh quarterback Brandon
Bialkowski; Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson; San Diego quarterback Mason
Mills; and Villanova quarterback John Robertson.
The Payton Award Watch List can undergo revision during the season. Ballots
will be sent to a national panel of sports information and media relations
directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular
season. The top three vote-getters will be invited to The Sports Network FCS
Awards Presentation Dec. 16 in Philadelphia.
The Sports Network also presents the Buck Buchanan, Jerry Rice and Eddie
Robinson awards. The Buchanan Award honors the outstanding defensive player in
the FCS, the Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson
Award honors the FCS coach of the year. The winners of those three awards also
will be invited to the national banquet.
The Sports Network