PHILADELPHIA — South Dakota State University running back Zach Zenner is one of 20 players named to the initial watch list for the Walter Payton Award, which is presented annually to the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision by The Sports Network.
A 6-foot, 220-pound senior, Zenner is the only two-time finalist in the initial pool of players being considered for the award. A native of Eagan, Minnesota, Zenner placed seventh in the balloting in 2012 and sixth in 2013. The watch list will be updated periodically during the 2014 season, with the Walter Payton Award to be presented for the 28th time on Dec. 15. The award is selected by a panel of more than 150 sport information directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries.
During the 2013 season, Zenner became only the second player in FCS history to rush for 2,000 yards in two separate seasons, gaining 2,015 yards and scoring 25 touchdows — 23 rushing, two receiving — as the Jackrabbits made a return trip to the postseason. He burst onto the FCS scene in 2012 by leading the nation in rushing with 2,044 yards — an average of 157.2 yards per game.
A two-time first-team All-America selection, Zenner leads all active FCS players with 4,529 career rushing yards and 5,871 career all-purpose yards. His all-purpose yards mark already is a Missouri Valley Football Conference record, while his rushing total is 218 away from a league record.
Zenner has crossed the 100-yard mark 21 times in the team's 27 games over the past two seasons, including six performances of 200-plus yards.
For updates throughout the 2014 season, follow Twitter using the hashtag #ZennerForPayton.
Courtesy: SDSU Jason Hove