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December 17, 2012

Walsh Finishes Fourth in Eddie Robinson Award Balloting

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Cal Poly head football coach Tim Walsh finished fourth in balloting for the 2012 Eddie Robinson Award, presented annually by The Sports Network to the Football Championship Subdivision's Coach of the Year.

Walsh earned 153 total points from 145 members of a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. The Big Sky Conference Coach of he Year collected six first-place votes, 13 for second place, 10 for third place, 15 for fourth place and 11 for fifth place.

Walsh guided Cal Poly to a 9-3 overall record and, in its first season in the Big Sky Conference, a share of the conference title with Eastern Washington and Montana State, all with 7-1 marks. Walsh is 26-19 in four seasons at the helm of the Mustangs, including three winning campaigns.

Cal Poly has produced three nine-win seasons since 2004 and nine winning seasons in the last 10 years, three resulting in NCAA FCS playoff berths. The Mustangs fell to 2012 finalist Sam Houston State 18-16 in the second round Dec. 1 in Huntsville, Texas.

Cal Poly, 93-40 in its last 10 football seasons, finished this fall No. 1 in the FCS in passing efficiency, No. 3 in rushing offense, No. 7 in scoring offense and No. 8 in sacks allowed.

Walsh was 27-14 in four years at Sonoma State and 90-68 in 14 seasons at Portland State before he was hired as offensive coordinator at Army for two seasons (2007-08). His current overall coaching record is 143-101 for 22 seasons. He was named Cal Poly's 16th head football coach on Jan. 9, 2009.

Walsh was a finalist for the 1999 Eddie Robinson Award as well while he was at Portland State.

Craig Bohl, who guided North Dakota State to the 2011 FCS championship and a spot in the 2012 finals, was named the 2012 Eddie Robinson Award winner Monday night.

Bohl received 42 of the 145 first-place votes and 364 points. Villanova's Andy Talley, who presented Bohl with the Robinson Award at the national awards banquet in Philadelphia, finished second, and Eastern Illinois first-year coach Dino Babers was third.

North Dakota State and Sam Houston State vie for the 2012 FCS title Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas.

Montana State defensive end Caleb Schreibeis was presented the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the FCS, giving the Big Sky Conference its fourth Buchanan winner in the last six years and its fifth in the last decade.

Schreibeis (6-3, 252 pounds) helped lead the Bobcats to 11 wins as a co-captain, setting a school record by forcing eight fumbles, tops in the FCS. Schreibeis also recorded 12.5 sacks and his 15 tackles for loss yardage led the Big Sky. He also hurried the quarterback seven times and broke up four passes, finishing with 59 tackles, including 16 against Montana.

Cal Poly produced three consecutive Buck Buchanan Award winners -- linebacker Jordan Beck in 2004, defensive lineman Chris Gocong in 2005 and linebacker Kyle Shotwell in 2006.

Villanova redshirt freshman quarterback John Robertson earned the Jerry Rice Award, presented to the outstanding freshman in the FCS. Robertson received 56 of the 145 first-place votes and 412 points, while Northern Iowa quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen finished second in the voting with 361 points.

Robertson helped fuel Villanova's turnaround -- from 2-9 in 2011 to 8-3 in 2012 -- as a dual-threat signal-caller. He started 10 games in the regular season, rushing for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns and passing for 1,830 yards and 14 touchdowns. Add in the FCS playoffs and he finished the season rushing for 1,021 yards and 14 touchdowns and passing for 1,965 yards.

The Colonial Athletic Association has now produced back-to-back Rice winners, as Towson running back Terrance West won the inaugural award last season.

The Walter Payton Award, which goes to the FCS player of the year, was presented to Old Dominion sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke. He received nearly half of the first-place votes from a national media panel - 72 of 145 - and 531 points to capture the award over Stony Brook senior running back Miguel Maysonet (284 points) and Wofford senior fullback Eric Breitenstein (197).

As ODU finished 10-1 in the regular season, the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder from Atlanta led the FCS in passing yards (4,158), total yards (4,535), touchdown passes (35) and points responsible for (24.2 per game). He rushed for 377 yards and eight touchdowns.

Heinicke, a mechanical engineering major, commanded the national spotlight on Sept. 22 when he set Division I single-game records with 730 passing yards and 791 total yards in Old Dominion's 64-61 victory over New Hampshire.

Old Dominion will move to the Football Bowl Subdivision next year.

Including ODU's two playoff games, Heinicke finished the season with an FCS- record 5,076 passing yards. He threw for 44 touchdowns, rushed for 11 more and had 5,546 yards of total offense.

Cal Poly senior slotback Deonte Williams finished 16th in balloting for the annual award, tallying 22 points, including a pair of second-place votes, three for fourth place and eight for fifth place. There were 20 candidates on the watch list.

Others from the Big Sky Conference include No. 9 DeNarius McGhee of Montana State and No. 15 Brad Sorensen of Southern Utah, both quarterbacks, and No. 17 Zach Bauman of Northern Arizona, a running back.

The 26th annual award ceremony was held at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel in Philadelphia.