Cooper Rush, a senior from Central Michigan University, has been selected as the Manning Award Quarterback of the Week for the third week of the 2016 college football season. He earns the honor over seven other Manning Award Stars of the Week in the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Facebook contest.
Rush set a Kelly/Shorts Stadium record with six touchdown passes while completing 20-of-33 passes for 352 yards – the 12th 300-yard game of his career – in a 44-21 win over UNLV. He also went over 10,000 career passing yards and recorded his 800th career completion in the game. The win lifted the Chippewas to their first 3-0 start since 2002.
A Charlotte, Mich., native, Rush was named the Mid-American Conference West Division Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. It is his second MAC weekly honor as he was also the division’s player of the week after throwing for 361 yards and four touchdowns, including a last-second Hail Mary connection, in a 30-27 victory over No. 22 Oklahoma State. He was also selected as a Manning Award Star of the Week for that effort. The Chippewas (3-0) play at Virginia (0-3) on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. CT.
Rush’s top competition came from Miami’s Brad Kaaya and Lamar Jackson of Louisville. Kaaya led the Hurricanes to points on their first four possessions en route to a 45-10 road victory over Appalachian State. The junior finished the afternoon 21-for-27 with 368 yards and three touchdowns, moving past Miami legends Gino Torretta, Steve Walsh and Vinny Testaverde into a tie for third-most touchdowns in Miami history (49). Jackson continued his sensational start to the season as he rushed for 146 yards and four touchdowns in a shocking upset of No. 2 Florida State, 63-20. Through the air, he went 13-for-20 for 216 yards and one touchdown. The Cardinals head east to face Marshall, looking to end a four-game losing streak against the Thundering Herd.
While the Manning Award selected 30 quarterbacks for its preseason Watch List all quarterbacks remain eligible for the honor. Midseason additions to the Watch List will be announced on Wednesday, October 12. The list of 10 finalists will be released on Wednesday, November 30. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, January 11.
In its first 12 years, the Manning Award has recognized the top names in college football. It has honored quarterbacks from 11 different schools and from four different conferences. The Southeastern Conference leads the way with four Manning Award winners (Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, JaMarcus Russell, Tim Tebow), while Texas is the only school with two winners (Colt McCoy and Vince Young). Watson is the third winner from the Atlantic Coast Conference, joining Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007) and Jameis Winston (Florida State, 2013).
All of 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. Fifty-five players from 52 different schools were honored during the 2015 season.