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Monday, January 14, 2013

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Heinicke, pictured here in action at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium, joins former Georgia Southern running back Adrian Peterson as the only sophomores to win the Payton Award. Photo by Chuck Thomas
ODU Quarterback Taylor Heinicke Wins Walter Payton Award

Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke became just the second sophomore in FCS history to win the Walter Payton Award, given to the best player in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Heinicke received the award at The Sports Network's FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel on Dec. 17.

Heinicke becomes the ninth straight quarterback to win the award. He received 72 first-place votes and 531 points. Stony Brook running back Miguel Maysonet finished second with 284 points, and Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein finished third with 197 points.

Heinicke joins former Georgia Southern running back Adrian Peterson as the only sophomores to win the award. Peterson won the award in 1999.

A native of Atlanta, Heinicke posted a record-setting season that included breaking Steve McNair's (Alcorn State, 1994) FCS single-season passing yards record with 5,076 yards and also surpassing the single-season record for completions with 398, breaking Brett Gordon's mark of 386 for Villanova in 2002.

Heinicke led the FCS with his 5,076 passing yards, 390.5 passing yards per game, 44 touchdown passes, 55 total touchdowns, 26 points responsible for and 426.6 yards of total offense per game.

The ODU quarterback burst onto the national scene on Sept. 22 when he set the Division I record with 730 passing yards and 791 yards of total offense in ODU's 64-61 win over No. 18 New Hampshire.

Heinicke tied the FCS record by throwing for 200 yards in 13 games while passing for 300 yards nine times and going for 400 yards five times. He tossed three TD passes nine times and four or more scores on six occasions, including a season-best seven in the win over Campbell.

In the Monarchs' second-round FCS playoff win over Coastal Carolina, Heinicke set a single-game playoff record with 542 yards of total offense, throwing for 497 and running for another 45 yards. He also tied the single-game record with six TD passes.

For the season, Heinicke was 398 of 579 for 5,076 yards and 44 touchdown passes. He also had 126 carries for 470 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The end of the 2012 season also saw ODU's football team ranked No. 6 in the final The Sports Network Top-25 poll. The Monarchs finished the season with an 11-2 overall record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.

The team broke several NCAA team and individual records, leading the nation in a number of categories. ODU led the FCS in scoring offense, total offense and passing offense, and finished in the top 15 in seven other categories. Heinicke led the nation in eight passing categories, while wide receiver Nick Mayers finished tied for second in the nation in touchdown catches. Kicker Jarod Brown was fourth among all kickers in scoring and eighth in touchbacks, while punter Jonathan Plisco was fifth in punting average.

Brown set the record for most extra points made in a season without a miss. Plisco set the FCS career record for punting average at 45.1 yards per punt.

Football head coach Bobby Wilder was named the FCS Football Fall 2012 CaptainU Coach of the Year.

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