Eight Quarterbacks Named Manning Award Stars of the Week

NEW ORLEANS (October 26, 2020) – The Manning Award, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, has named eight quarterbacks as its “Stars of the Week.” College football fans can now go to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Facebook page to vote for what they think was the best performance from this past weekend. When voting closes on Thursday at 11 a.m. (Central), the top vote-getter will be announced as the Manning Award Quarterback of the Week.


The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2004 to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that includes the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting.

This week’s eight Manning Award Stars of the Week are:

Justin Fields, Ohio State (20-of-21, 276 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 97.7)
Fields, who also runs for 54 yards and a touchdown, is near-flawless in his 2020 debut as he leads the Buckeyes to a 52-17 drubbing of Nebraska in Big Ten action.

T.J. Finley, LSU (17-of-21, 265 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 93.9)
Finley, who is just the seventh true freshman to start at QB for the Tigers, adds a rushing touchdown in an outstanding debut as he leads the Tigers to a 52-24 SEC victory over South Carolina.

Dillon Gabriel, UCF (26-of-40, 422 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 90.9)
Gabriel, who notches his school-record fourth 400-yard game, becomes just the second Knight QB with back-to-back five-TD games as he leads the Knights to a 51-34 AAC win over Tulane.

Graham Mertz, Wisconsin (20-of-21, 248 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 95.8)
Mertz has a sensational first career start (the first Wisconsin freshman to start a season opener since 1978), setting a school record for completion percentage (95.2%) and matching the single-game school records for touchdown passes (5) and consecutive completions (17) as he leads the Badgers to a 45-7 Big Ten win over Illinois.

Bo Nix, Auburn (23-of-30, 238 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, QBR: 84.1)
Nix, who also rushes for 52 yards and a touchdown, connects on a 58-yard TD pass with 1:11 to go and then converts the two-point conversion to lift the Tigers to a 35-28 win over Ole Miss in an SEC road game.

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati (13-of-21, 126 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, QBR: 97.6)
Ridder also rushes for 179 yards (on just eight carries) and three touchdowns, including a 91-yard score, to lead the Bearcats to a 42-13 win over No. 16 SMU in AAC action.

Zac Thomas, Appalachian State (16-of-23, 216 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, QBR: 98.4)
Thomas, who also runs for a career-high 82 yards and a touchdown, ties his career-high in TD passes as he leads the Mountaineers to a 45-17 Sun Belt victory over Arkansas State.

Malik Willis, Liberty (24-of-31, 345 yards, 6 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 90.3)
Willis, who also runs for 97 yards and a touchdown, sets the school record for TDs responsible for and has career-highs in all passing categories as he helps the Flames remain undefeated with a 56-35 win over Southern Miss.

While the Manning Award selected 30 quarterbacks for its preseason Watch List, additional quarterbacks are expected to be added to the Watch List later in the season. Ten finalists will be selected and the winner is scheduled to be announced following the College Football Playoff National Championship.

In its first 16 years, the Manning Award has recognized the top names in college football. It has honored quarterbacks from 12 different schools and from four different conferences. The Big 12 Conference (Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, Vince Young, Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III) and the Southeastern Conference (Joe Burrow, Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, JaMarcus Russell and Tim Tebow) lead the way with five Manning Award honorees each, while and the Atlantic Coast Conference (Deshaun Watson twice, Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston) has had four Manning Award winners. LSU (Burrow and Russell) joins Oklahoma (Murray and Mayfield) and Texas (McCoy and Young) as the only schools with two different winners.

All the Manning Award winners follow in the footsteps of the Mannings themselves. In college, Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning combined for over 25,000 passing yards and 201 touchdowns while playing in 10 bowl games and earning four bowl MVP awards. Archie was the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, while both Peyton and Eli were selected No. 1 overall.

In addition to the Manning Award’s yearly honor, each week during the regular season, eight quarterbacks are recognized as Manning Quarterbacks of the Week. Seventy-one players from 65 different schools were honored during the 2019 season and 377 different quarterbacks from 127 schools have been recognized since 2011.