By Craig Haley, FCS Executive Director
Second in a three-part series profiling the top finalists for the 2010 Walter Payton Award.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It isn't surprising Stephen F. Austin quarterback Jeremy Moses can play an entire football video game and beat his opponent by only passing the football.
He gets annoyed, however, when he throws an interception. That's right, Mr. Madden.
Imagine how Moses felt during recent offseasons for SFA after he threw 20 interceptions in 2008 and 21 interceptions in 2009.
"That's one stat, if it gets up there, it's a stab to the heart," he said.
Make no mistake, Moses had enjoyed plenty of success in those two seasons. He threw for at least 40 touchdowns each season as well as yardage totals that opponents got tired of counting.
But this past offseason, Moses worked to perfect his technique and changed his outlook on how he could beat teams.
The results in 2010 were extraordinary. During the regular season, Moses led the Football Championship Subdivision in pass attempts (499), completions (303), touchdown passes (34) and passing yards (3,658), yet threw only four interceptions. He did so with a relatively new unit of receivers after SFA lost three of its top four pass catchers from 2009, including Duane Brooks, who had 118 receptions.
Behind Moses' lead, the Lumberjacks won the Southland Conference title and qualified for the FCS playoffs for a second straight year. They finished with a 9-3 record.
Now their Walter Payton Award finalist, who was seventh in the voting last year, is hoping to become the first Southland Conference player to be named the FCS' outstanding player.
"This is his fourth season running our offense and he does a tremendous job, and it shows in his stats," SFA head coach J.C. Harper said. "He really has grown into a field general for us."
The announcement of the Payton Award, presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com, will be made at the 24th Annual FCS Awards Banquet on Thursday night, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas. Moses, Western Illinois quarterback Matt Barr and Appalachian State quarterback DeAndre Presley are among the top three vote-getters and will be in attendance for the announcement of the winner.
The 6-foot, 195-pound Moses has been there every step of the way while Harper has rebuilt SFA?s program. Moses started five games as a freshman in Harper?s first season in 2007 - an 0-11 finish. The Lumberjacks improved to 4-8 in 2008, then 10-3 in 2009, when they appeared in the playoffs for the first time since 1995.
This season, Moses ran their offense like a video game.
"This was kind of what I've been trying to put together the last couple years here, be more efficient with the ball, not turn it over, and really just get our playmakers the ball, give them a chance to make plays," Moses said.
"What we do isn't very complicated. Our play-calling into certain coverages has gotten really simple. We know what we're looking for on the defensive side of the ball and we know what plays we want to run against it. That comes with a lot of film study and experience."