DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Southern Oregon senior quarterback Austin Dodge has been named the 2014 Rawlings-NAIA National Football Player of the Year, announced Thursday night as part of the NAIA Banquet of Champions held at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort.
“Getting this award is incredible,” said Dodge. “It’s a great feeling. I No. 1 appreciate every single one of the fans, friends and family that came out that have supported us (Southern Oregon) throughout this year. It has been great.”
A native of Vancouver, Wash., Dodge is the first Southern Oregon player to win the award and the fourth individual from a team that is a member of the Frontier Conference. The other three Frontier Conference winners played for Carroll (Mont.) – Tyler Emmert (2003 and 2005), Owen Koeppen (2008) and Chance Demarais (2011).
One of 10 quarterbacks to win the award since its inception in 1997, Dodge led the Raiders to their first-ever appearance in the NAIA Football National Championship. Southern Oregon, which failed to make the playoffs a season ago, had never advanced beyond the quarterfinals in four previous attempts. The Raiders downed MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (44-26) in the first round of the NAIA Football Championship Series (FCS), before earning road victories against top-ranked Carroll (Mont.) (45-42) and Saint Xavier (Ill.) (62-37)
Dodge, a three-time Frontier Conference Player of the Year, was selected to the AFCA-NAIA All-America First Team for the first time in his career in 2014. He enters the national championship leading the NAIA in passing yards per game (369.9), total offense (5,312), total offense per game (379.4) and total passing (5,178), while also ranking No. 2 in pass efficiency (171.9). Dodge has thrown 49 touchdowns – six shy of the NAIA single-season record – while only being intercepted 10 times in 543 attempts.
With one game left in his career, Dodge owns six NAIA career records – total offense (17,166), pass attempts (1,916), completions (1,232), passing yards (16,832), touchdown passes (151) and total touchdowns responsible for (158). The four-year starter has thrown for at least 4,300 yards and 40 touchdowns in three of his four years at Southern Oregon.
Dodge owns a 33-13 record as the Raiders’ starting quarterback, including a 4-1 mark in the FCS.
Dodge is the first award winner to be participating in the championship game since Demarais in 2011. Eddie Eviston of Georgetown (Ky.), who claimed three-straight awards from 1999 – 2001, and Tyler Emmert of Carroll (Mont.) are the only repeat winners. Emmert received the honor in 2003 and 2005. Overall, there have been 15 offensive and two defensive players named to this exclusive club.
For the first time in the 59-year history of the event, the NAIA Football Championship will travel to Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Friday Dec. 19. The City of Daytona Beach is serving as the host for the contest, which will air for the first time ever live on ESPNU. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. EST.
All-Time Rawlings-NAIA Player of the Year Award Winners
1997 – Bo Hurley, Findlay (Ohio), QB
1998 – Jack Williams, Azusa Pacific (Calif.), RB
1999 – Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.), QB
2000 – Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.), QB
2001 – Eddie Eviston, Georgetown (Ky.), QB
2002 – Nick Kortan, Sioux Falls (S.D.), RB
2003 – Tyler Emmert, Carroll (Mont.), QB
2004 – Cory Jacquay, Saint Francis (Ind.), RB
2005 – Tyler Emmert, Carroll (Mont.), QB
2006 – Brian Kurtz, Saint Francis (Ind.), LB
2007 – Chad Cavender, Sioux Falls (S.D.), QB
2008 – Owen Koeppen, Carroll (Mont.), LB
2009 – Lorenzo Brown, Sioux Falls (S.D.), QB
2010 – Jon Ryan, Sioux Falls (S.D.), WR
2011 – Chance Demarais, Carroll (Mont.), RB
2012 – Jimmy Coy, Saint Xavier (Ill.), QB
2013 – Kyle Schuck, Morningside (Iowa), WR
2014 – Austin Dodge, Southern Oregon, QB