SLU’s Kelley named Walter Payton Award finalist
Published 2:58 pm Monday, November 22, 2021
Southeastern Louisiana University senior quarterback Cole Kelley was one of 25 finalists for the 2021 Stats Perform FCS Walter Payton Award announced by Stats Perform on Monday.
Kelley is looking to become the third two-time winner in the 35-year history of the award, named for the legendary Hall of Fame running back and presented to the national offensive player of the year in FCS.
After winning the honor in the spring, Kelley has been even better in the fall on the way to helping the Lions to its fourth postseason appearance in program history. The Lafayette, Louisiana native has thrown for 4,382 yards, 38 touchdowns and just six interceptions on 339-for-457 passing (74.2 percent), while also rushing for 16 scores.
Entering the postseason, Kelley is the national leader in passing yards, total offense (438.5 ypg), points responsible for (326), passing efficiency (179.5) and completion percentage. Ranked second in the FCS with 16 rushing touchdowns, Kelley is the nation’s only player in the top 10 in both passing and rushing touchdowns.
Kelley has rewritten the Southeastern record book in his time as a Lion. He closed out the regular season as the program’s single-season and career record holder in rushing touchdowns (33 – career, 16 – season), total touchdowns scored (35/16), passing yards (7,860/4,382), passing touchdowns (66/38), touchdowns responsible for (101/54) and total offense (8,561/4,824).
Behind a stalwart offensive line and dispersing the ball to a myriad of offensive weapons, Kelley has led a Lion offense that leads the nation in total offense (567.0 ypg), scoring offense (48.0 ppg), completion percentage (73.9) and first downs (328).
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