Meyer named I-AA's top offensive player

Updated: December 16, 2005, 4:21 PM ET
Associated Press

CHENEY, Wash. -- Quarterback Erik Meyer wrapped up a record-setting career at Eastern Washington University by winning the Walter Payton Award, given to the top offensive player in NCAA Division I-AA.

The senior from La Mirada, Calif., won the award Thursday evening at the 19th Annual I-AA College Football Awards in Chattanooga, Tenn., on the eve of the national championship game between Northern Iowa and Appalachian State.

The other finalists were New Hampshire quarterback Ricky Santos and Brown running back Nick Hartigan. The award was established in 1987 and is voted on by sports information directors and media members.

"When you're little you always dream about being a football player and winning awards," said Meyer. "My first year at Eastern I never dreamt about it. Last year when I was close I thought I had a chance but it's just amazing to be with the other names who have won this award."

Meyer led Eastern to back-to-back Big Sky Conference championships and appearances in the I-AA Playoffs.

Meyer was 21-14 in three seasons as a starter, including 7-5 this year.

Coach Paul Wulff attended the ceremony and said the award reflected well on EWU's program, which has a low profile in a state dominated by professional and major college sports.

"It hasn't been a goal of myself or our program but now that it's reality, it's a neat thing," said Wulff. "It's a great thing for him and the program and the caliber of players we have in our program."

Meyer ended his college career on Nov. 26, when the Eagles lost 41-38 at Northern Iowa in the first round of the playoffs. He passed for 387 yards and four touchdowns in the loss to finish with 4,003 yards and 30 touchdowns for the season.

Meyer has also been named the Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.

Former Big Sky players who have won the award include Idaho's John Friesz (1989), Weber State's Jamie Martin (1991), Idaho's Doug Nussmeier (1993), Montana's Dave Dickenson (1995) and Northern Arizona's Archie Amerson (1996).

In 2005, Meyer was second in I-AA in individual total offense as he averaged 352 yards per game. His average of 333.6 passing yards per game was second.

In addition to 30 touchdowns, he suffered just five interceptions this year and had a passing efficiency rating of 169.3.

With a completion percentage of .657, 10,261 yards, 84 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions in 42 career games, Meyer broke the I-AA record for efficiency rating by quarterbacks with at least 400 completions. His rating of 166.47 narrowly beat the record of 166.27 set by Montana's Dickenson from 1992-95.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press