STARKVILLE, Miss. - One of only five quarterbacks this season with 10-plus passing touchdowns and less than two interceptions, Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell was named to the Manning Award Watch List, the Allstate Sugar Bowl announced Wednesday. In the award's ninth year, Russell is the first player in school history to make the prestigious watch list.
Under the leadership of Russell behind center, the Bulldogs' offense has scored at least 25 points in each of the first six games for the first time in the 113 years of the program. In three SEC games this season, Russell is 66-of-105 (62.8 percent) for 782 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The Meridian, Miss., native, despite having started only 10 games in his still-young career, has already tossed 25 touchdown passes, tied for sixth on the school's all-time list. The junior has also entered the school's top 10 in passing yardage (3,051), and his passer efficiency and completion percentage would both rank near the top of each category. Russell is on pace to demolish the school single-season record in completions, attempts, passing yardage and touchdowns.
The Manning Award is the only quarterback award that includes the candidates' bowl performances in its balloting. After announcing 25 quarterbacks to watch during the preseason, the Manning Award opted to increase its focus players based on the many outstanding performances during the first half of the year.
Ten finalists will be determined by a selected panel of national media covering college football, as well as each of the Mannings. That list will be released on Wednesday, Nov. 28. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 9.Russell and his undefeated Bulldogs take on Middle Tennessee for homecoming this Saturday at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. For more information on the No. 12 team in the BCS, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateFB and like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateFB.