Wyoming's Brett Smith Earns Manning Award Player of the Week Honor park
Brett Smith, a true freshman quarterback from Wyoming, has been selected as this week's Manning Award Player of the Week. Smith earns the honor over seven other Manning Award Stars of the Week after earning the most votes in the Allstate Sugar Bowl's Facebook contest.
Smith, a native of Salem, Ore., led the Cowboys to a 30-27 victory over San Diego State on Saturday. The freshman passed for a career-high 341 yards, including two touchdown passes while also rushing for two scores. The Cowboys scored all 30 of their points in the first-half and were able to hold off the Aztecs in the fourth-quarter to remain perfect in Mountain West play. Smith is now ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West and No. 30 in the nation in total offense, averaging 271.4 yards per game and also ranks second in the conference and No. 41 in the NCAA in passing yards, averaging 237.9 yards passing per game.
In addition to earning the Manning Award weekly honor, Smith was named the Mountain West Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Aztecs. This Saturday, the Cowboys will be tested as they take on a powerful TCU squad in Laramie for a share of the top spot in the conference.
The Wyoming fans stepped up in their first opportunity to vote for their own quarterback as Smith earned enough votes to beat out fellow nominees Case Keenum of Houston and Missouri's James Franklin, both of whom have collected "Star of the Week" recognition in earlier weeks. Keenum set the FBS record for career touchdowns with five and then added four more for good measure, for a total of nine TDs, throwing for 534 yards with zero interceptions as the Cougars crushed Rice, 73-34. Franklin was 16-of-24, throwing for 198 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 97 yards and a pair of scores to lift Missouri to an overtime upset win over nationally-ranked Texas A&M, 38-31.
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.
The honor will be recognizing its eighth winner this year. USC's Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the award in 2005, followed by Texas' Vince Young in 2006. Both went on to be top 10 NFL draft picks. In 2007, LSU's JaMarcus Russell earned the award and was the NFL's No. 1 draft pick. Boston College's Matt Ryan claimed the award in 2008 and was drafted No. 3, quickly becoming the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2009, Florida star Tim Tebow earned the honor – he also went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The 2010 winner was Texas signal-caller Colt McCoy, the winningest quarterback in college football history, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the draft. Last year saw Auburn's Cameron Newton earn the award, prior to being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.