MACON, Ga. (MERCER RELEASE) – With the historic first season of the Mercer football program in the record books, head coach Bobby Lamb and quarterback John Russ continue to receive national attention as the duo made headlines in Monday's postseason awards released by The Sports Network.
As finalists for two of the four major FCS awards handed out at the conclusion of each season, Russ finished fifth in voting for the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in the country, while Lamb was tabbed 11th in the Eddie Robinson Award voting as the top FCS coach in the land.
Among the 21 finalists as the best freshman in the country, Russ received nine first place votes, 11 second and third place votes, 14 fourth place votes and 10 fifth place votes. His 160 total votes were less than 100 votes behind runner-up winner Marcus Cox of Appalachian State, while Eastern Washington's Cooper Cox ran away with the award, capturing more than half of the first place votes.
Russ was named the PFL Offensive Freshman of the Year as he completed 122-of-233 passes for 1,916 yards and 21 touchdowns and added 903 yards on the ground with 12 scores.
After finishing third in the PFL Coach of the Year voting, Lamb became one of 21 finalists as the nation's top FCS coach and captured 62 total votes to finish No. 11 in the country. Starting 19 freshmen and three sophomores, Lamb's Bears shocked the FCS world in 2013, winning 10 games and setting the NCAA Division I record for wins by a first-year program.
Following the banner season, the 10-year coaching veteran was awarded with a contract extension from the university to keep Lamb as the leader of the Mercer football program through the 2019 season.
Voting for both awards was conducted by a nationwide panel of sports information and media directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. The award winners will be honored this evening at The Sports Network FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation in Philadelphia.
Mercer will sign the program's first scholarship recruiting class in February 2014, before transitioning to the Southern Conference next fall.