Saturday night a small piece of history was made when Marcus
Mariota was announced the winner of the 2014 Heisman Trophy Award.
Mariota’s win was not surprising after three years of
high-end on the field production for the Ducks, but his win was historic for
program becoming the first player in school history to capture the honors. In
2001 Joey Harrington and 2010 LaMichael James were finalists but could not
bring home the hardware.
The hype machine for Mariota’s Heisman votes were not needed
this year. The redshirt junior threw for 3,783 yards, fifth best in the nation,
completing 68.3 percent of his passes while throwing 38 touchdown passes, second
best in the nation, against just two interceptions. He also rushed for 669
yards with 14 additional scores and caught one 26-yard touchdown pass. He also
led the nation in passer rating posting a mark of 186.2.
Mariota cracked a little during his acceptance speech stating,
“I’m humbled to be standing here today.” He added, “I had to give thanks to so
many people because where I am today, it's all do to all those people. It's
hard not to get emotional. It's been a long journey. My emotions got the best
The voting turned into the second biggest landslide win in
Heisman history with Mariota doubling up on second place finisher Melvin
Gordon. The Wisconsin running back received
1,250 votes, Mariota 2,534. Alabama
wide receiver Amari Cooper finished third in the balloting.
In a historical snapshot Mariota captured the second highest
percentage of Heisman votes in a given year coming up with 90.92 percent of the
ballots cast. In 2006 Ohio
State quarterback Troy
Smith received 91.63 percent of the votes.
The highest percentage voted in modern times was Reggie Bush’s
91.77 in 2005. After Bush was found to have violated NCAA rules during his days
at USC, his Heisman Trophy Award was stripped nullifying the win.
The Honolulu native’s win was
a breath of fresh air in New York
for college football fans. The previous two winners, Texas A&M’s Johnny
Manziel and Florida
State’s Jameis Winston,
were not without some controversy leading up to the award ceremony or shortly
thereafter tainting the honors. Even Cam Newton’s win in 2010 was under a cloud
Winston was not on hand to take part in the Heisman honors
opting to stay out of the public eye and presumably to avoid any questions
about his school’s conduct code hearing over a reported sexual assault case from
Dec. 2012 that could keep him off the football field depending on the findings.
Mariota and Winston will get to square off in a rare Heisman
vs. Heisman collegiate contest. Florida
State and Oregon
will meet in the first round of the college football playoffs at the Rose Bowl
in Pasadena, California on Thursday Jan. 1.
Photo credit: Kelly Kline; Marcus Mariota posing with his
Heisman Trophy Award.
Photo credit: Julio Cortez: Marcus Mariota wearing leis in
support of his Hawaiian culture during post Heisman activities.