NEW ORLEANS - Colby Cameron, a junior from Louisiana Tech, has been selected as this week's Manning Award Player of the Week. Cameron earns the honor over seven other Manning Award Stars of the Week after earning the most votes in the Allstate Sugar Bowl's Facebook contest.
Cameron, a native of Newbury Park, Calif., led the Bulldogs to a 41-21 victory over Fresno State on Saturday. The junior passed for a career-high 376 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Louisiana Tech had 400 yards of total offense in the first-half alone. Cameron was hot from the beginning with two of his four touchdowns in the first-quarter, putting Tech ahead, 14-0. The second-quarter proved to be no different as the Bulldogs went on to score 20 more points. Things cooled off in the second-half, but it was far too late for a Fresno State comeback. Cameron has led the Bulldogs (5-4) to four consecutive wins as they remain in the hunt for the WAC title with a 4-1 league mark.
In addition to earning the Manning Award weekly honor, Cameron was named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Fresno State. This Saturday, the Bulldogs will attempt to become bowl eligible as they take on Ole Miss in Oxford.
The Louisiana Tech fans stepped up in their first opportunity to vote for their own quarterback as Cameron earned enough votes to beat out fellow nominees Case Keenum of Houston and Northern Illinois' Chandler Harnish. Keenum became the NCAA's all-time passing yardage leader with 17,212 yards. He threw for two scores and rushed for two touchdowns as well, throwing for 407 yards with zero interceptions as Houston had another blowout win, this time over UAB, 56-13. This victory also marked the Cougars first 9-0 start in school history. Harnish was 17-of-26, throwing for 265 yards and six touchdowns. He also rushed for a team-best 133 yards and led the Huskies to victory over rival Toledo, 63-60, with a TD with 19 seconds left on the clock for an extremely exciting finish.
The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2004 to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that includes the candidates' bowl performances in its balloting.
The honor will be recognizing its eighth winner this year. USC's Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the award in 2005, followed by Texas' Vince Young in 2006. Both went on to be top 10 NFL draft picks. In 2007, LSU's JaMarcus Russell earned the award and was the NFL's No. 1 draft pick. Boston College's Matt Ryan claimed the award in 2008 and was drafted No. 3, quickly becoming the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2009, Florida star Tim Tebow earned the honor - he also went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The 2010 winner was Texas signal-caller Colt McCoy, the winningest quarterback in college football history, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the draft. Last year saw Auburn's Cameron Newton earn the award, prior to being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.
Cameron will guide Louisiana Tech Saturday as the Bulldogs (5-4, 4-1 WAC) take a four-game winning streak to Ole Miss (2-7, 0-6 SEC).