The Real Top Three

The three finalists for the Walter Payton Award were announced Tuesday and to no surprise Jimmy Garoppolo and Vernon Adams were two of the finalists, Towson running back Terrance West was selected as a third but we found out how close NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen was to be selected as a finalist. It should be noted that the last nine years a quarterback has won this award.


Vernon Adams, Eastern Washington

  • The numbers for EWU’s signal caller are gaudy, 4,059 passing yards and 46 touchdowns, a new Big Sky conference record. Adams ran for nearly 500 yards and added four scores, and led the FCS in total offensive yards per game. Adams is another in a long list of great EWU quarterbacks, just two years ago Bo Levi Mitchell won the award, Adams came in last year against Sam Houston in the FCS semis and nearly led a miracle comeback, he has a large spotlight on him starting Saturday against SDSU.


Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois

  • Garoppolo has been on my radar since early last season and he’s done even more in 2013. EIU’s signal caller started off the season with a bang as his team beat San Diego State, he followed that up with 6 TDs against Illinois State and still unbeaten Northern Illinois. He’s thrown for nearly 4500 yards in 12 games, and will win this award, joining Tony Romo, another EIU grad to win the Payton back in 2002. His NFL stock will rise or fall with this year’s playoffs, his team is on trial starting Saturday, EIU was blasted by South Dakota State in the 1st round last year, its trial begins against a conference foe in Tennessee State, it would be good for the FCS for Garoppolo and his team to make some noise.


Brock Jensen, NDSU

  • Much has been made about Jensen’s numbers heading into 2013, but the four year starter is going to leave Fargo as the school’s most prolific passer and perhaps its most decorated winner. His game from 2012 to now is an absolute 180, Jensen was timid in the playoffs last year, being asked to not lose a game after a string of pick 6’s. Now he’s become a true quarterback with an aerial attack to boot, his combination with Zach Vraa has led Vraa to set a new school record in touchdown receptions, while Jensen has set the school record for touchdown throws. He’s still as dangerous as ever with his feet, this stat is tremendous, he leads NDSU with 12 rushing first downs in third down situations. His status as a winner will never be questioned thanks to his 44 wins, now the all-time leader in FCS history and his legacy was cemented going 7 of 7 on the final drive at K-State. People will say that Jensen is a system quarterback, but whatever that system is plenty of teams should want it; Jensen may not get the chatter of being in the elite quarterbacks in FCS, but his numbers say otherwise.

25 thoughts on “The Real Top Three

  1. Could not agree more. I love Terrance West but he should not have been ahead of Brock. Jensen has been nearly flawless this season.

  2. Though Brock Jensen has had a great year, I was surprised he finished 4th ahead of Zach Zenner and other great players. When he was added to the 20 finalists, I thought he was a token Bison, I had no idea he would finish 4th.
    Congrats Brock!!

  3. He should have made it based on what he has done in his career combined with the strong season he’s had. All around, its amazing how much better he is playing right now that one year ago, which is the reason this team has such a strong chance to win it all again.

    We’ll see who gets the last laugh in the playoffs when it comes to crunch time. No one I would rather see under center than 16. JG hasn’t even won a single playoff game at this point and couldn’t win at Northern Illinois while Brock led the Bison to a win at K-State. If Crockett or Ojuri was a straight feature back, either one would have better numbers than West with ease.

  4. To paraphrase the famous speech by General Douglas MacArthur: Bison football is about “the team, the team, the team.” Players do what is needed to win, and the recent streak that they are on is unbelieveable.

  5. Brock has been amazing, no other QBy I would rather have when its 4th down and you decide to go for it.

  6. Knowing the quality person that Brock Jensen is, he will gladly give up the Walter Payton Award for a 3rd National Title any day. Football is a team sport and the Bison are The Team this year!

  7. Jensen is a great quarterback and has had arguably one of the best careers for a quarterback in FCS history, but the Walter Payton Award is not about a career but is awarded base on the most outstanding offensive player for a SINGLE season.
    I know you have to cater to your readers, but Jensen does not belong in the same discussion as Vernon Adams and Jimmy Garappolo when looking at this season’s stats and performance. Its embarassing to argue otherwise based on their stats in 2013.
    Jensen is ranked 57th in the FCS in passing yards (2,076 yds) and 13th in touchdown passes (26 td) this season. Those statistical numbers are nearly half of what Adams or Garappolo have put up this year.
    Brock Jensen has had a great year and a great career but should not even have been close to being awarded the Walter Payton Award or even mentioned in the same breath as Adams and Garappolo.

    • Stats are for losers.

      You don’t think Brock could have all kinds of gaudy stats on his stat line? The Bison don’t run up the score and when they get a comfortable lead they blead the clock.

      How many of the other QB’s yards and TD’s were when the game was well in hand?

      Brock will just have to settle for an undefeated season and his 3rd national championship in a row.

    • Hey big time, being a qb is way more than passing and td’s thrown! How many rushing td’s, rushing yds, clock management, leadership etc……

  8. you think that AJ McCarron should be discussed as a top three candidate for the Heisman Trophy this year? McCarron’s career and stats resemble Jensen’s stats in the FBS. Two consecutive National Championships and he threw for 26 touchdowns and 2,600 yards this year.

    • AJ’s performance has been steady in 2013, but in a relative sense, he is not hitting the major creshendo that Brock is hitting relative to performance this year.

      • So AJ should have been worse the last few years and that would have made his play this year that much better? Weird thinking but not surprising.

    • AJ was getting a bunch of Heisman hype (See ESPN Gameday last week- particularly the AJ Segment) last week and would have been in the mix at least as much as Brock was on teh Payton list (no. 4) until he choked at Auburn. AJ was just a tad off all game and ruined his consistency argument. Have a feeling AJ knew he was playing for the Heisman that game, and cost his team a championship.

  9. I think the fact Brock finished 4th is an accomplishment in itself. These awards are all about huge numbers. I think the top three are well deserved and should be ahead of Brock.

  10. I’m curious to see how Vernon Adams will do against the Jackrabbit defense. They held us to a season low 20 points.

  11. These awards in the same category as selecting who should be in playoffs, everybody feels their guy or team is more deserving. I said this back last spring when there was some who felt Brock was not the best QB because of his passing. I still feel Brock is overall the best QB in FCS because of his leadership, running, passing and overall wins to include 2 championships. He is more than a one dimensional player which in most cases these awards end up going to because they look at the most passing or rushing yards.

  12. Brock is a leader on a TEAM of solid performers. The other three who got more votes may be studs, but they only stand out because their teammates are very average.

    The strength of the bison is the herd, and the strength of the herd is the bison.

    • You make a good point. The Walter Payton Award has always been about stats, but Brock Jensen’s track record may benefit the big picture in that perhaps the ones voting for this award in the future will look at more than Madden video game-esque stats.

      • Most individual awards are based on statistics…championship banners are the things that measure the intangibles. Two complete and separate discussions of which Brock Jensen should only be mentioned in the latter category.

        • You’re right, most individual awards are based on individual statistics, but sometimes an exception slips through. When Joe Mauer won his MVP in 2009, he led the league in batting avg, but he wasn’t even close to leading the league HR, RBI, SB, or 2B. He didn’t even lead the league in hits that year. However, the Twins had a great season, and so I think that factored in to some of the voting. All I was saying is that Brock finishing so high in the Payton Award voting could be a game changer in how some of the voters think about this award in the future.

          • A “most valuable” player award is different than the Walter Payton Award or Heisman Trophy award. I believe the players stats are taken into consideration with the players team achievement…but in the end its all subjective. Don’t get me started on the BBWAA who vote on the MLB AL/NL MVP and Hall of Fame inductees. Cripes…Jacque Jones is on the HOF ballot this year!!!

        • So your saying Jordan Lynch should be hands down the Heisman winner. Best Stats

          Ball don’t lie

    • do you really think they are average? You dont put up stats like that with average teammates.

  13. “” we found out how close NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen was to be selected as a finalist.””

    How close?

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