Cameron, a native of Newbury Park, Calif., led the Bulldogs to a quick start, and then tossed a pair of third-quarter touchdowns as Louisiana Tech blew out Big Ten foe Illinois, 52-24, on the road. The Bulldogs scored 31 unanswered points, improving to 3-0 on the season. They have scored 50 or more points for the third consecutive game, marking the first time a LA Tech football team has accomplished the feat. It also marks the first time since 1997 that Tech has opened the year with three straight victories. For the season, Cameron has completed 68-of-98 passes for 913 yards and 11 touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Louisiana Tech fans stepped up in their first opportunity this year to vote for their own quarterback as Cameron earned enough votes to beat out fellow nominees Gary Nova of Rutgers and Wyoming's Brett Smith. Cameron was also a Manning Award Player of the Week late last season.
The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2004 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 Manning Award will be recognizing its ninth winner this year. USC's Matt Leinart was the inaugural winner of the award in 2005, followed by Texas' Vince Young in 2006. Both went on to be top 10 NFL draft picks. In 2007, LSU's JaMarcus Russell earned the award and was the NFL's No. 1 draft pick. Boston College's Matt Ryan claimed the award in 2008 and was drafted No. 3, quickly becoming the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2009, Florida star Tim Tebow earned the honor - he also went on to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The 2010 winner was Texas signal-caller Colt McCoy, the winningest quarterback in college football history, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the draft. Auburn's Cameron Newton earned the award in 2011, prior to being selected No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. This past season's honoree was Robert Griffin, III, from Baylor, who was also a top NFL draft pick (No. 2 overall by the Washington Redskins).