Garoppolo Named to Walter Payton Award Watch List

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Published on October 2 2012 2:32 pm
Last Updated on October 2 2012 2:32 pm
Written by Millie Lange

PHILADELPHIA – Eastern Illinois junior quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is already chasing many of the school records held by current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.  Now Garoppolo will be chasing Romo in another category as he was named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List Tuesday.

Romo was a three-time candidate for the Walter Payton Award as the OVC Offensive Player of the Year from 2000-02.  Romo won the Payton Award in 2002 becoming the only player in the Ohio Valley Conference to accomplish that feat.

Garoppolo was one of three players added to the mid-season watch list joining Wynrick Smothers of Central Arkansas and Zach Zenner of South Dakota State.  Garoppolo is one of three players from OVC currently on the 20-player watch list joining preseason nominees Casey Brockman of Murray State and Zach Denham of Eastern Kentucky.

In his third season as the Panthers starting quarterback Garoppolo has thrived in new head coach Dino Babers up-tempo offense.  He currently ranks second in the nation in total offense at 369.4 yards per game while ranking third in passing yards per game (365.4), fifth in pass completions and 17th in passing efficiency.  Garoppolo is 141-of-233 this season for 1,827 yards.  He has 18 touchdowns with only five interceptions.

This season Garoppolo has four games with more than 300 yards passing including a career best 453 yards in this past weekend’s 65-15 win over Austin Peay.  He has three games with five touchdown passes.  Against APSU all five touchdown passes came from more than 50 yards while Garoppolo added a rushing touchdown to finish with 501 yards of total offense.

The Panthers are 3-2 this season and off to a 2-0 start in the OVC.  EIU plays at UT Martin this Saturday at 2 p.m.