PHILADELPHIA – University of New Hampshire senior quarterback Kevin Decker (Armonk, N.Y.) has been added to the 2011 Walter Payton Award Watch List for the most outstanding player in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The announcement was made Tuesday by The Sports Network, which presents the award with sponsor Fathead.com.
Decker, a co-captain, has guided the Wildcats to a 3-1 record and a No. 6 ranking in this week's The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25. The signal caller ranks fifth nationally and second in the CAA in passing efficiency (169.59), eighth nationally and tops in the CAA in total offense/game (310) and he's No. 2 in the FCS in points responsible for/game (23.5). The 6-foot-2, 205-pound QB leads the CAA in passing yards/game (270.8) and is second among non-kickers in scoring/game (8.5 points).
Through four games, the first-year starter has completed 89 of 125 passes (71.2 percent) for 1,083 yards and 10 touchdowns; he is UNH's second-leading rusher with a team-high 46 carries for 157 yards, averaging 3.4 yards/carry, and he's tallied five of the Wildcats' seven total rushing scores.
Decker, who set personal bests with 352 passing yards and four touchdowns while tying a career high with 23 completions in last Saturday's 39-32 victory against Holy Cross, has previously been feted with the Gold Helmet Award from the New England football writers Sept. 28 and the CFPA National Performer and National Quarterback Performer of the Week awards Sept. 12.
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will vote on the 25th Walter Payton Award after the regular season. The honor will be presented at the FCS national awards banquet Friday night, Jan. 6, in Frisco, Texas.
Running back Jerry Azumah (1998) and quarterback Ricky Santos (2006) are the two previous Wildcats to garner the Payton Award.
UNH plays host to Villanova in a CAA conference clash this Saturday at Cowell Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.