Bo Levi Mitchell wins Payton Award
FRISCO, Texas (AP) Eastern Washington quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell won the Walter Payton Award on Friday night as top player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Mitchell, who led the Eagles to the national championship a year ago, received 57 first-place votes and 453 points from a national panel of 131 voters. Lehigh quarterback Chris Lum and Indiana State running back Shakir Bell tied for second with 219 points.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Mitchell led the nation in passing yards (4,009) and touchdown passes (33) during the regular season. He completed 318 of 503 attempts and had 13 interceptions for the Eagles (6-5).
"It's an honor even to be mentioned in the final three," Mitchell said, "but to win the award is a huge accomplishment not only for me but for Eastern and our community."
Mitchell, from Katy, Texas, is the second player from Eastern Washington to win the award - following quarterback Erik Meyer in 2005 - and the sixth winner from the Big Sky.
Mitchell transferred to Eastern Washington from SMU following his sophomore year.
"He really had an amazing career here," Eagles coach Beau Baldwin said. "It's a compliment to his work ethic and his ability to pick up a new system. He had the talent and basically just evolved within our system and kept getting better. Even though our record wasn't what we wanted, he kept finding a way to improve and get better every week all the way until the end of the season. That says a lot about his mentality, his competitiveness and his overall drive."
On Thursday night, New Hampshire junior linebacker Matt Evans won the Buck Buchanan Award winner as the outstanding defensive player. Towson running back Terrance West won the inaugural Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman, and Towson coach Rob Ambrose took the Eddie Robinson Award as the coach of the year.
On Saturday night, Sam Houston State will face North Dakota State in the division championship game.
Updated January 6, 2012