Towson State's Tony Vinson became the first Division I-AA running back to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. He led the nation in all-purpose yards and scoring per game, and he led the Tigers to their best season in their seven-year history as a I-AA program.
However, that wasn't enough to impress the Walter Payton Award voters yesterday. Senior quarterback Doug Nussmeier of Idaho -- which lost in Saturday's national semifinals to Youngstown State -- became the seventh winner of the award, which recognizes the nation's top I-AA player.
Vinson finished third behind Princeton running back Keith Elias, the preseason Payton Award favorite whom Vinson passed late in the season to win the rushing crown.
"It's an honor to be considered in the top three, but personally, I wish I would have gotten a few more [votes]," he added. "First, we didn't make the playoffs. Then, I go out and lead the nation in rushing and finish third. I am frustrated."
Nussmeier, who threw for 2,960 yards and 33 touchdowns to lead the 11th-ranked Vandals to a 9-2 regular-season record, received 21 of 75 first-place votes and 90 points overall.
Vinson rushed for 2,016 yards and 24 touchdowns, averaging 201.6 yards in Towson's 8-2 season. He set or tied 15 school records and 11 NCAA I-AA records.
Towson State running back David Meggett won the Payton Award in 1988.