When Michael Gallup was notified last month that he was one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s top pass catcher, the senior Colorado State receiver was initially caught off guard.
“I could really care less if I won it or not. I’m just trying to go down there (to Atlanta for the awards show) to see what it’s like,” Gallup said. “Of course, everybody would prefer to win it, but it’s not very likely, and I’ve already understood that process. … I go to a Mountain West school. People don’t give us the time of day. It’s cool. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
While it’s true that a Group of Five receiver has not won the award since 1998 (Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech), CSU can now claim two Biletnikoff finalists over the past four years, with Gallup joining Rashard Higgins (2014). And there is reason to believe Gallup has a shot to win it against a pair of lethal Big 12 receivers in Oklahoma State’s James Washington and West Virginia’s David Sills.
The winner will be announced during ESPN’s broadcast of “The Home Depot College Football Awards Show” starting at 5 p.m. Thursday.
To fully appreciate Gallup, here is a look back at his top-five career performances wearing the green-and-gold over the past two seasons.
5. Nov. 12, 2016 at Air Force — 13 receptions, 213 yards, 1 touchdown
It marked the first of two monster outings from Gallup against the Falcons. He set a career high with 13 receptions (also No. 2 on the all-time program list) and fully established himself as the Rams’ go-to deep threat, despite a costly late-game fumble in a 49-46 road loss.
4. Sept. 30, 2017 at Hawaii — 8 receptions, 212 yards, 1 touchdown
Gallup’s average yards-per-catch was bonkers in Honolulu, 26.5, thanks in large part to a 76-yard touchdown catch (the longest of his career). Gallup has eclipsed 200 yards receiving in three games over two seasons. He did it this time with just eight catches.
3. Nov. 26, 2016 at San Diego State — 7 receptions, 139 yards, 3 touchdowns
CSU rolled up 63 points on SDSU in the regular season finale behind a dominating Gallup performance. It marked his first multi-touchdown game for the Rams with scoring receptions of 35, 18 and 6 yards. The performance pushed Gallup to over 1,100 yards receiving, despite having just eight total receptions through CSU’s first three games.
2. Dec. 22, 2016 vs. Idaho — 6 receptions, 108 yards, 3 touchdowns
Gallup’s first bowl performance was one to remember. He caught six passes and three went for second-half touchdowns of 12, 60 and 3 yards. The Rams lost a 61-50 heart-breaker to Idaho, but Gallup officially put the college football world on notice with his talents.
1. Oct. 14, 2017 vs. Nevada — 13 receptions, 263 yards, 3 touchdowns
The statistics alone put this performance atop the list as Gallup set a career high with 263 receiving yards, falling just short of the program record (Olabisi Johnson, 265), in addition to scoring three touchdowns. But one catch stood out among the rest. In the second quarter, Gallup snatched the ball over the outstretched arms of a Nevada defender.