For the first time in school history, an Oregon Duck has won the Heisman Trophy. Cue appropriate applause:
On Saturday night, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota became the first player in school history to win the Heisman Trophy, beating out Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper. And he did it without any sort of cheesy marketing campaign. Need a reason why marketing college athletes doesn't always pay off? The University of Oregon spent a quarter of a million dollars on the larger-than-life "Joey Heisman" ad. How much did they spend on the Mariota campaign? Zilch. Zip. Nada. The kid marketed himself on the field and let his numbers do the talking. This was the result.
Mariota also became the first Hawaiian born player in history to win the prestigious award.
The ceremony was more of just a formality for Mariota to collect his hardware, while Cooper and Gordon were just along for the ride. Both were deserving finalists who put up extraordinary numbers this season, but the Heisman has always leaned towards the quarterbacks, and Marcus Mariota was in a league of his own this year. Before hoisting the trophy, Mariota delivered an emotional speech in which he broke down in tears. Of course, Mariota started the speech by thanking his teammates, continuing to put others before himself. Before you hit play, make sure to have the nearest box of tissues ready. It gets dusty.
As expected, Mariota won in a landslide. In fact, Mariota's margin of victory was the second largest in history behind Troy Smith in 2006.
Mariota's 90.9 margin of victory was second highest in #HeismanTrophy history. Only Ohio State QB Troy Smith, 91.6, had bigger win margin— Channel 3 Sports (@WKYCSports) December 14, 2014
Mariota finished with 788 first-place votes, 74 second-place votes and 22 third-place votes for 2,534 total points. Melvin Gordon finished in second with 1,250 total points (37 first-place votes) while Amari Cooper finished in third with 1,023 points (49 first-place votes).
Perhaps the most mind-boggling stat of all was the fact that Mariota was named on the highest percentage of ballots in history, and five percent of voters still left the Oregon quarterback off their ballots completely.
Marcus Mariota was named on 95.16% of all ballots -- highest of all time.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 14, 2014
4.84% of Heisman voters go to bed too early on Saturday nights.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 14, 2014
Someone get these east coast voters a damn Red Bull.
There were no fancy billboards in New York City this time around. No, Marcus Mariota marketed himself in the best place possible, and that was on the football field.
This season, Marcus Mariota set career highs in just about every stat category including completions (254), passing yards (3783), yards per attempt (10.17), passing touchdowns (38), rating (186.3). raw QBR (89.4) and adjusted QBR (91.9), as well as a career low in interceptions (2).
This year, the Ducks scored 77 touchdowns. Marcus Mariota accounted for 53 of those. In addition to his 38 touchdown passes, Mariota also had 14 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown.
Mariota threw for at least two touchdown passes in every game this season to go along with seven games with at least 300 yards passing. Mariota also rushed for at least one touchdown in eight games this year, including a career-high three rushing touchdowns against Arizona in the Pac-12 championship game. Mariota ended the regular season on a streak of five consecutive games with a rushing touchdown.
Just asked Mariota if he'd trade all the awards he's received the past few days to win the next 2 games. Answer: "Of course." As expected.— Aaron J. Fentress (@AaronJFentress) December 14, 2014