Heisman hindsight (cont.)
Posted: Friday December 7, 2007 11:12AM; Updated: Saturday December 8, 2007 8:56PM
No one will forget the pose, but Howard had his Heisman moment when he hauled in "The Catch," a TD on fourth-and-inches against Notre Dame. Howard was the first wide receiver to lead the Big Ten in scoring, as he caught 61 balls for 950 yards and had 23 total TDs. His domination was backed up by his 1,574-point margin of victory over Florida State's Casey Weldon.
In retrospect, Torretta's win seemed to be a statement by voters of every bias that has haunted the award since; it went to a senior with decent numbers (3,060 passing yards, 19 touchdowns) on a major team that was in contention for the national title. But the right pick would have been Faulk, a sophomore who ran for 1,630 yards, including 299 vs. BYU, and scored 15 TDs.
The only winner to go on to play in the NBA, Ward led the Seminoles' no-huddle, shotgun "Fast Break" attack. He accounted for 31 touchdowns, including 27 passing, and had 3,536 yards of total offense, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. He beat out Tennessee's Heath Shuler by 1,662 points, the third-biggest margin of victory.
Granted, Salaam became the fourth back to top 2,000 yards and had 516 more than Carter, but Salaam did it with 100 more carries than Carter, who averaged 7.7 yards per attempt. Carter was part of an explosive Penn State team that won by an average of 26 points a game and was often sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter. Carter was at a disadvantage because he had Heisman competition from teammate Kerry Collins, who finished fourth.
It was the closest voting in history at the time, as George edged Nebraska QB Tommie Frazier by 264 points. Had the voting been conducted after the bowls, in which Frazier ran for a then-QB record 199 rushing yards to give the Cornhuskers the national title and George's Buckeyes lost to Tennessee, it might have gone the other way. But George had the better regular season, which included a 314-yard performance against Illinois.
Wuerffel won a close race (189 points) over Iowa State's Troy Davis. Davis, the first player with two 2,000-yard rushing seasons, played for a 2-9 team, while Wuerffel directed the eventual national champs. Wuerffel's numbers were impressive with 3,625 passing yards and 39 touchdowns, including 401 yards and six TDs in the SEC title game.
Voters may have gotten caught up in Woodson's do-everything exploits at corner, wide receiver and on punt returns. But while he did deliver some spectacular plays, Manning was spectacular the whole season. He passed for 3,819 yards, 36 touchdowns and had just 11 picks. Manning was likely the victim of lofty expectations and voters who were more excited about honoring a defensive player, rather than the most dominant one.
Forget everything that's happened since he left school; Williams was a force in college. He set a then Division I-A career records for career yards (6,279) and rushing touchdowns (73) and broke or tied 18 other marks. He was rightfully a runaway winner over Kansas State quarterback Michael Bishop.
Basically, you can take every reason Williams won and understand why "The Great Dayne" was the only logical choice. He broke Williams' career-rushing record with 6,397 yards and won the award by 1,048 points over second-place finisher Joe Hamilton (Georgia Tech), earning 586 of 770 first-place votes.