FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Athletics) -- North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance is among the top four finalists announced Monday, Dec. 9, for the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award, which is presented annually to the top offensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Lance, a 6-foot-3, 221-pound redshirt freshman from Marshall, Minn., will be invited to the Walter Payton Award announcement Friday, Jan. 10, in Frisco, Texas, along with Northern Arizona senior quarterback Case Cookus, Monmouth junior running back Pete Guerriero, and Sacramento State junior quarterback Kevin Thomson.
NDSU has had five previous finalists for the Walter Payton Award including quarterback Easton Stick, whose third-place finish in the 2018 vote was the highest by a Bison player.
The only freshman nominated for this year's Walter Payton Award, Lance is also a finalist for the STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award to be announced Wednesday, Dec. 11, recognizing the top freshman player in the FCS. Voting by a national panel of 156 broadcasters, writers and sports information directors was conducted at the end of the regular season.
Lance ranks first in the FCS in passing efficiency (187.8), first in yards per pass attempt (10.03), third in pass completion percentage (.685), and seventh in total points responsible for (216) through 13 games. He was the first freshman to be named Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year and was the fourth to take the league's Newcomer of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards.
Lance has attempted a school-record 236 consecutive passes without an interception going 161-for-235 this season for 2,356 yards and 25 touchdowns. He is also NDSU's second leading rusher with 117 attempts for 829 yards and a team-high 11 TDs for the Bison, who rank first in the FCS in passing efficiency (183.81), second in total offense (488.8 ypg), fourth in rushing offense (298.0 ypg) and fourth in scoring offense (39.8 ppg).
The first NDSU freshman to start a season-opener for the Bison, Lance burst onto the scene against Butler passing for 185 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 116 yards and two scores. He was the Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player and Newcomer of the Week for that performance.
He earned a second MVFC Newcomer of the Week honor following a win in the conference opener at Illinois State, where he accounted for 232 yards including 12 of 15 passing for 189 yards and three TDs.