Zach Abey, a junior from Navy, has been selected as the Manning Award Quarterback of the Week. He earns the win over seven other Manning Award Stars of the Week in the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Facebook contest.
Abey rushed 29 times for 214 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 75-yard scoring run in a thrilling 48-45 win over Air Force, one of Navy’s archrivals. While the option quarterback did significant damage with his feet, it was his arm which delivered the decisive blow for the Midshipman. Abey connected with Tyler Carmona on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds remaining to clinch the victory. He finished the game completing 4-of-11 passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns.
The Pasadena, Md., native is the first Navy player in school history to rush for more than 100-yards in each of the first five games of the season. He currently ranks second in the nation with 174.0 rushing yards per game.
Navy travels to face Memphis on Saturday in a key AAC West Division showdown. Kickoff is set for 2:45 p.m. CT and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
Abey’s top competitors this week were Riley Ferguson of Memphis and Buffalo’s Drew Anderson. Ferguson completed 34-of-48 passes for 431 yards and seven touchdowns as he led the Tigers to a 70-31 blowout of Connecticut on the road in AAC action. Anderson, making his second career-start, completed 35-of-61 passes for 597 yards and seven touchdowns as he led the Bulls to the FBS record for points in a losing effort as they fell 71-68 to Western Michigan in seven overtimes.
While the Manning Award selected 30 quarterbacks for its preseason Watch List, additional quarterbacks are expected to be added to the Watch List later in the season. The 10 finalists for the honor will be announced on Thursday, November 30 and the winner is scheduled to be announced following the College Football Playoff National Championship.
In its first 13 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 (Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, JaMarcus Russell and Tim Tebow) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (Deshaun Watson twice, Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston) lead the way with four Manning Award wins each, while Texas is the only school with two different winners (Colt McCoy and Vince Young).
All 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. Sixty-one players from 59 different schools were honored during the 2016 season.