Kirk Herbstreit says Tua Tagovailoa's lead in Heisman race may not be as safe as many think
For most of the season, it has seemed like Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has had the Heisman Trophy all but secured.
But in Kirk Herbstreit’s eyes, the Heisman race is far from over.
During an appearance on Tuesday’s edition of “Get Up!,” the ESPN analyst said Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray could push Tagovailoa for the prize over the final two weeks of the season. You can read his full comments on the situation below (via OU Insider, 247Sports.com’s Oklahoma website).
“You’ve got to remember how this thing works. Everybody who votes for the Heisman puts three names down. The guy you put down as No. 1 gets three points. The No. 2 guy gets two points and the No. 3 guy gets one point. I think it’ll interesting depending on how people vote. How they look at Tua, who really hasn’t necessarily had the Heisman moment yet. Meanwhile, Kyler Murray, how about the pressure of replacing Baker Mayfield? If you look at him statistically, he’s on the verge of doing something that’s never been done. Averaging over 300 yards passing and 60 rushing per game for the entire year — that’s never been done in FBS history. You’re talking about a remarkable year and he still has some big stages. If it’s in doubt, both guys are going to have big stages over the next two weeks to have those signature Heisman moments, but still, in my opinion as a voter, I still think it’s Tua ahead of the rest of the pack including Kyler Murray.”
Both quarterbacks have been the driving force behind their respective team’s huge offensive seasons. The No. 6 Sooners are first nationally in scoring at 49.5 points per game, with the top-ranked Crimson Tide less than a point behind with 48.7 (third nationally).
Their individual stats are close, too. Tagovailoa leads the country in yards per attempt (12.1) and passer rating (212.22), and Murray is second in both categories (11.9 yards per attempt and a 205.82 passer rating). Murray does have the edge as a rusher, which is partly due to Tagovailoa’s lingering knee issues.
But as Herbstreit said, both players will have huge chances to stake their claim for the Heisman. Alabama hosts Auburn and takes on No. 5 Georgia in the SEC championship game, while Oklahoma travels to No. 9 West Virginia before a likely Big 12 title game rematch against No. 15 Texas.
Herbstreit made sure to note that he still favors Tagovailoa, but the separation between him and Murray may be smaller than we initially thought.