NEW ORLEANS – – After helping lead Ball State football to its first MAC Championship since 1996 and its first-ever bowl victory, quarterback Drew Plitt has been named to the prestigious Manning Award Watch List for the 2021 season.

The Manning Award, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, was created to honor the college football accomplishments of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning. It is the only quarterback award that includes the candidates’ bowl performances in its balloting. The winner will again be selected by a voting panel, which includes national media and each of the Mannings, after the bowls.

Plitt, a native of Loveland, Ohio, enters his third year as Ball State’s full-time starter in 2021. The former Wing-T quarterback in high school accounted for 21 touchdowns over the shortened 2020 campaign (17 passing and four rushing). He capped a spectacular season by being named the offensive player of the game for both the MAC Championship and the Arizona Bowl.

Plitt, who was also a named to the Manning Award Watch List last season, ranked 18th nationally in passing efficiency (155.6) in 2020 and was 23rd in completion percentage (.656). He also helped the offense rank 27th nationally in yards per game (447.2) and 25th in scoring (34.2).

With his 273 passing yards in the MAC Championship, Plitt moved past head coach Mike Neu and into fourth place in BSU history for career passing yards and currently maintains the spot at 6,520. He is also third in school history with 50 career touchdown passes.

The team’s fourth string QB as a redshirt freshman in 2017, Plitt was forced into action with three starts that year because of injuries. He was the backup in 2018, again starting three games, before taking over the reins full time in 2019 and directing the MAC’s top offense.

Plitt is one of three MAC quarterbacks on the prestigious list that also includes six of last year’s Manning Award finalists – Matt Corral (Ole Miss), Dillon Gabriel (UCF), Sam Howell (North Carolina), Grayson McCall (Coastal Carolina), Brock Purdy (Iowa State) and Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati).

Finalists will be selected prior to the postseason and the winner will be announced following the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The Cardinals are looking to “run it back” as the favorite to win the MAC West Division and the Rocket Mortgage MAC Football Championship Game in the league’s annual preseason media poll.