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Foster a finalist for 'Payton' award
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    Jayson Foster is a step closer to the coveted Walter Payton Award.
    Georgia Southern’s senior quarterback was one of three finalists announced by the Sports Network Monday and is in line to join Adrian Peterson (1999) as the only Eagles to win the prestigious honor.
    Quarterbacks Josh Johnson (San Diego) and Eric Sanders (Northern Iowa) are the other two finalists. Foster capped a remarkable career with an outstanding senior year this fall, rushing for the most yards by a quarterback in NCAA history (1,844). The total was good for second behind Peterson on GSU’s all-time list and third in the Southern Conference record books. Foster finished the season with a school-record 3,047 yards of total offense, shattering the previous mark set by legendary Eagle quarterback Tracy Ham, a College Football Hall of Famer.
    The Payton Award was established by the Sports Network in 1987 and is presently annually to the most outstanding player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
    Media and sports information directors across the nation vote for the winner, which will be announced Dec. 13 at the Chattanooga Marriott during the annual Sports Network awards dinner.
    Under first-year coach Chris Hatcher, Foster spent 2007 as the team’s starting quarterback, a position he last held during GSU’s eight-win 2005 season. With the Canton native occasionally lining up at receiver last year, the Eagles were a school-worst 3-8, and Foster’s return to the helm this season was instrumental in the team’s 7-4 finish.
    At the end of the regular season, Foster — the SoCon offensive player of the year — ranked second in FCS with 167.6 rushing yards per game, third in scoring (13.5 points), fifth in all-purpose yards (189 yards) and 12th in total offense (277 yards). He also threw for 1,203 yards and six touchdowns on a 109-of-170 clip and didn’t throw an interception in GSU’s last six games.
    San Diego’s Johnson ranked first in the nation in passing efficiency (198.3) and total offense (371.4), throwing for 43 touchdown passes and one interception this year.
    Sanders, of Northern Iowa, ranked fourth nationally in passing efficiency and 29th in total offense (224.1 yards per game), hitting 184 of 241 attempts for 2,237 yards and 15 touchdowns.