Nichols and Peach Named to The Sports Network Watch Lists

Aug. 29, 2008

The Sports Network has released its Payton Award and Buchanan Award "Watch Lists" for the 2008 season, and Eagles have been selected to each list of the top 16 defensive players and top 16 offensive players in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.

Junior quarterback Matt Nichols has been named to the watch list for the Walter Payton Award, an honor given to the top player in FCS. That award was won in 2005 by the EWU quarterback Nichols replaced, Erik Meyer. Senior defensive end Greg Peach was picked for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented to the top defensive player in FCS.

The honors were announced Friday (Aug. 29) on the eve of Eastern’s season-opener at Texas Tech. The Eagles enter the game ranked seventh in The Sports Network’s FCS preseason poll while the Red Raiders are 12th in the Associated Press preseason poll for members of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.

Saturday’s game may be heard live at 4 p.m. Pacific time in the Spokane, Wash., area on 101.1 FM with the pre-game show starting one hour prior to kickoff. The broadcast is also available via the internet at

Besides the watch list, Peach was also named this week as a second team selection on the College Sporting News Preseason All-America team. In addition, Eastern wide receiver Aaron Boyce was named to the second team and defensive tackle Lance Witherspoon was on the third team.

Nichols finished the 2007 season ranked in the top eight in three statistical categories in FCS. He was eighth in FCS in passing efficiency rating (156.5), fifth in passing offense (288.0) and fifth in total offense (318.2) to lead the Big Sky in all three categories.

Nichols completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,744 yards, a school-record 34 touchdowns and had just nine interceptions in 2007. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Nichols also broke the school’s single season rushing record for quarterbacks as he finished with 392 yards.

Peach and Witherspoon helped the Eagles rank 38th last season in FCS in rushing defense a year ago (144.1) en route to earning first team All-Big Sky Conference honors. Peach finished with 63 tackles, including 11 sacks to rank as the fifth-best performance in school history and 11th in FCS (0.85 per game). He will enter his senior season with 17 1/2 sacks that rank ninth in school history. Witherspoon, a former walk-on, ended the 2007 season with 44 tackles, a sack and 12 total tackles for loss to earn second team All-BSC accolades.

Boyce had 85 catches for 1,308 yards and 10 touchdown receptions to rank 14th in FCS in receptions (6.5 per game) and sixth in receiving yards (100.6). His catch total ranked second all-time at EWU and his yardage total was fourth.

The Payton and Buchanan awards will undergo two revisions, one in October and one in November, before ballots are sent out to a panel of sports information directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries on Nov. 24. The Sports Network awards banquet will be held Dec. 18 in Chattanooga, Tenn., on the eve of the FCS national championship game.

The Eddie Robinson Award, which goes to the FCS national coach of the year will also be awarded that night. The Robinson Award ballot will be announced in November.

The Sports Network established the Payton and Robinson awards in 1987, and began sponsoring the Buchanan Award in 1995. Georgia Southern quarterback Jayson Foster was the 2007 Payton Award winner, while Montana defensive end Kroy Biermann took home the Buchanan Award.


More on Sports Network Watch Lists . . .

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The race for the 2008 Walter Payton Award and Buck Buchanan Award has begun, with The Sports Network's announcement of Payton and Buchanan watch lists.

Eight players from last year's Walter Payton Award ballot are among the 16 names on the 2008 Payton Award watch list.

Receivers Ramses Barden of Cal Poly and Terrell Hudgins of Elon, quarterbacks Liam Coen of Massachusetts and Dominic Randolph of Holy Cross and running backs Herb Donaldson of Western Illinois, Mike McLeod of Yale, Tyler Roehl of North Dakota State and Jordan Scott of Colgate were the repeat selections.

Eight other players joined them on the Payton watch list, quarterbacks Nathan Brown of Central Arkansas, Armanti Edwards of Appalachian State, Rodney Landers of James Madison and Matt Nichols of Eastern Washington, receiver Andre Roberts of The Citadel and running backs Rashad Jennings of Liberty, Corey Lewis of Northern Iowa and Javarris Williams of Tennessee State.

Roehl, who finished eighth last season, is the highest returning vote-getter on the watch list. McLeod was ninth, Hudgins 11th, Randolph 12th, Donaldson 13th, Scott 14th, Barden 15th and Coen 16th last year. Nichols was 17th as a write-in candidate.

Linebacker Bobby Daly of Montana State and free safety Lardarius Webb of Nicholls State head up the 16 candidates named to the Buck Buchanan Award watch list, also released on Friday.

Daly, who finished sixth in the 2007 Buchanan Award voting, and Webb, who placed 10th, are the only players from last year's ballot on the Buchanan list.

Eight other linebackers joined Daly among the candidates, Bobby Abare of Yale, Pierre Banks of Appalachian State, Mario Brown of Gardner-Webb, Zach East of Prairie View, Cyrus Mulitalo of Sacramento State; Andy Romans of Lafayette, Andy Schantz of Portland State and Jason Williams of Western Illinois.

Other players selected included strong safety Colt Anderson of Montana, defensive ends Jovan Belcher of Mne, Greg Peach of Eastern Washington and Pierre Walters of Eastern Illinois, defensive tackle John Faletoese of UC Davis and free safety Terrell Whitehead of Norfolk State.

Walter Payton Award Watch List
Ramses Barden, WR, Cal Poly, 6-5, 230, Senior
Nathan Brown, QB, Central Arkansas, 6-2, 209, Senior
Liam Coen, QB, Massachusetts, 6-2, 220, Senior
Herb Donaldson, RB, Western Illinois, 5-11, 225, Senior
Armanti Edwards, QB, Appalachian State, 6-0, 185, Junior
Terrell Hudgins, WR, Elon, 6-3, 235, Junior
Rashad Jennings, RB, Liberty, 6-1, 230, Senior
Rodney Landers, QB, James Madison, 6-1, 220, Senior
Corey Lewis, RB, Northern Iowa, 6-0, 197, Senior
Mike McLeod, RB, Yale, 5-11, 200, Senior
Matt Nichols, QB, Eastern Washington, 6-2, 220, Junior
Dominic Randolph, QB, Holy Cross, 6-3, 223, Senior
Andre Roberts, WR, The Citadel, 5-11, 175
Tyler Roehl, RB, North Dakota State, 5-10, 232, Senior
Jordan Scott, RB, Colgate, 5-11, 205, Senior
Javarris Williams, RB, Tennessee State, 5-11, 215, Senior

Buck Buchanan Award Watch List
Bobby Abare, LB, Yale, 6-2, 210, Senior
Colt Anderson, SS, Montana, 5-11, 185, Senior
Pierre Banks, LB, Appalachian State, 6-0, 210, Senior
Jovan Belcher, DE, Maine, 6-2, 228, Senior
Mario Brown, LB, Gardner-Webb, 6-2, 230, Senior
Bobby Daly, LB, Montana State, 6-1, 226, Senior
Zach East, LB, Prairie View, 6-2, 230, Senior
John Faltoese, DT, UC Davis, 6-3, 290, Senior
Cyrus Mulitalo, LB, Sacramento State, 6-1, 245, Senior
Greg Peach, DE, Eastern Washington, 6-3, 255, Senior
Andy Romans, LB, Lafayette, 5-11, 215, Senior
Andy Schantz, LB, Portland State, 6-1, 235, Senior
Pierre Walters, DE, Eastern Illinois, 6-5, 261, Senior
Lardarius Webb, FS, Nicholls State, 5-11, 180, Senior
Jason Williams, LB, Western Illinois, 6-3, 235, Junior
Terrell Whitehead, Norfolk State, 6-2, 200, Junior

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