Throwback Thursday: The SEC's Heisman moments of the 2000s
The 80th Heisman Trophy will be awarded on Saturday to one of three players — Alabama wideout Amari Cooper, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota or Wisconsin tailback Melvin Gordon. Whoever wins the award will be the 79th Heisman winner (Archie Griffin won the award twice in 1974-75), and if Cooper wins he’ll be the 12th SEC player initiated into the Heisman fraternity.
In honor of “Throwback Thursday,” we took a look back at the SEC’s Heisman winners of the 2000s and some of the defining moments of their Heisman seasons.
Johnny Manziel — Texas A&M — 2012
Manziel was as dynamic as any SEC quarterback in recent history, and while he may have attracted more attention for his actions off the field than he did between the white lines, he’ll always be remembered for his spectacular touchdown pass in a win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2012.
Cam Newton — Auburn — 2010
Newton was an unstoppable force in 2010, leading Auburn to a perfect season and a national championship victory over Oregon. To add even more context to his brilliance at AU, the Tigers lost five games without him in 2011 and went 2-10 in 2012, resulting in the dismissal of head coach Gene Chizik, who led Auburn to its national title just two years earlier.
Newton set the college football world on fire during his Heisman season, but his best play came on this 49-yard run against LSU:
Mark Ingram — Alabama — 2009
Ingram’s Heisman run in ’09 was defined by consistency and durability as the workhorse in the Alabama offense. He set the school’s single-season rushing record with more than 1,500 yards on the ground, and became the school’s first-ever Heisman winner at season’s end.
His best collection of plays came in a win over South Carolina. Ingram led a late scoring drive in a 13-7 game to cement a victory for the Crimson Tide, operating as a Wildcat quarterback for most of the possession. He ran for a career-high 246 yards that day, marking one of the best games of his career.
Here are some of his best runs from that final drive:
Tim Tebow — Florida — 2007
Tebow was a part of two national title teams at Florida in 2006 and 2008, but his best season, statistically speaking, came during his Heisman season in 2007. He amassed 4,181 total yards and 55 touchdowns in his first full year as the starter, beginning his reign as college football’s golden boy in the late 2000s.
Like Ingram, Tebow’s best game came against South Carolina (sorry Gamecock fans), when he amassed seven total touchdowns in a 51-31 victory. He threw for 300 yards and ran for 100 yards, and was simply unstoppable against the Gamecocks.
Here are some highlights from the game:
For what it’s worth, here are the SEC’s Heisman winners from the 20th century:
- Danny Wuerffel — Florida — 1996
- Bo Jackson — Auburn — 1985
- Herschel Walker — Georgia — 1982
- Pat Sullivan — Auburn — 1971
- Steve Spurrier — Florida — 1966
- Billy Cannon — LSU — 1959
- Frank Sinkwich — Georgia — 1942