Written by Danny Morales
NEW YORK CITY — Marcus Mariota became the first University of Oregon Duck to ever win the Heisman Trophy when his name was called on Saturday night at the Best Buy Theater in New York City as the 80th winner of the Heisman Memorial Trophy.
Mariota’s play during the regular season spoke for itself as the junior quarterback threw for 3,783 yards with 38 touchdowns and only two interceptions giving him a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 19. He also added 14 touchdowns on the ground, bringing his total for the season to 53, which tied him with Sam Bradford for the most ever by a Heisman winner.
“It’s just something you dream of as a little kid,” said Mariota of the honor. “To stand up on the podium and try and make a speech after all that and all the emotions that are going through you it’s definitely tough, you're feeling so excited but at the same time you have to give thanks to everybody thats got you there,
“And that’s why I got emotional because all the hard work of other people led me to where I am today. I just know those sacrifices weren’t easy and I wish I could give them more thanks.”
Along with being the first-ever Heisman winner to come out of Oregon, Mariota is now also the first Hawaiian born player to receiver the award. This is something he takes great pride in and he hopes it will encourage other kids to leave the island and follow their dreams as he did.
Mariota showed how proud he is to be from Hawaii when he came out to the Heisman Trophy press conference decked out in leis that had been given to him by fellow teachers and classmates of his from grade school days back on the island.
“Ohana means family and that’s it right there,” said Mariota in his press conference following the presentation. “In Hawaii if one person is successful the entire state is successful, To be apart of that is something special and it’s hard to explain but I’m just grateful to be apart of it and thankful to be from Hawaii.”
The Heisman Trophy declares Mariota the Outstanding College Football Player in the United States for 2014 and it’ll mark the last of multiple awards for the signal caller out of Saint Louis School in Kaimuki, Hawaii, as he adds college football’s most prestigious honor to his list of trophies won during this season.
Mariota had already won the Maxwell, Walter Camp, Davey O’Brien and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm awards, making him the most decorated player in college football this season with a grand total of five major awards. But that didn’t stop the junior quarterback from getting choked up during his acceptance speech.
“I had to give thanks to so many people because where I am today is all due to all those people,” said Mariota after winning the Heisman. “It’s hard not to get emotional because it’s been a long journey and for all those people to help me out and to support me and to believe in me just means the world and my emotions got the best of me for sure.”
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon came in second place in the voting with 1,250 total points, while Alabama wideout Amari Cooper finished in third with 1,023 total points.
Mariota received 90.9 percent of the possible points in voting and beat out Gordon by 1,284 total points and had 751 more first place votes than the Badgers running back.
Now Mariota will have a couple of days of media obligations before he returns to Eugene, Oregon to begin preparing for 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles in the inaugural College Football Playoff semifinals on January 1.
By Danny Morales
NEW YORK CITY — Melvin Gordon, Amari Cooper and Marcus Mariota will all be in attendance for the Heisman Trophy presentation in New York City on Saturday.
Mariota is the likely front runner going into the weekend but Wisconsin's Gordon could surprise some people, as the junior leads the nation with 2,336 yards rushing on the season and he’s 293 yards away from breaking Barry Sanders’ single-season rushing record.
Gordon comes from a line of Heisman finalists over at Wisconsin, where he spent his freshman year watching Montee Ball make a run for the same exact award.
“It’s good, especially when you come in as a freshman and you watch Montee your first year do the great things he did and come to New York and be a Heisman finalist,” said Gordon on Friday. “I kind of sat there throughout the year and I just wishing, I wished I was in his shoes and one day I hoped to be there,
“And now I’m in his shoes and I’m here with my opportunity, it’s just surreal, it’s just real special.”
Cooper leads the FBS in receiving with 1,656 yards on 115 receptions and is the first wide receiver to be invited to New York as a finalist since Larry Fitzgerald in 2003.
The junior wideout from Miami, Florida has been excelling on the field with first-year quarterback Blake Sims and Lane Kiffin, who is in his first year as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. Kiffin has been known as a coordinator whose offense is made for playmaking wide receivers and this season it showed with Cooper’s stats.
“He’s helped a lot,” said Cooper of Kiffin. “He’s made the offense player friendly, not too hard and I think that was the biggest thing.
“He’s a cool guy, he’s a genius as an offensive coordinator and that’s who he is.”
Despite having to build newfound chemistry with both, Cooper has been one of the standout wide receivers in college football this season as he won the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top receiver, on Thursday in Orlando.
Mariota is considered the favorite to win the Heisman on Saturday, as the junior signal caller has thrown for 3,783 yards and 38 touchdowns while only throwing two interceptions for the season.
Both Cooper and Mariota will be preparing for a National Championship run after the weekend’s ceremony, as both Alabama and Oregon will be preparing to play in the semifinals of the first-ever College Football Playoff on New Year’s Day.
“You have to focus on the team because we still have a lot of plays to be played,” said Cooper of looming semifinal. “We still have to win if we want to get to our ultimate goal so we can’t get caught up on individual achievements.”
Gordon, Cooper and Mariota will all be at the Best Buy Theater in New York City on Saturday, where the winner of the 2014 Heisman Trophy will be presented on Saturday night. Television coverage for the event will start at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN.
Written by Adrian Beecher
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon earned his trip to New York by shredding defenses to the tune of 2,336 yards rushing and this season. Only two running backs that have won the coveted Heisman Trophy ran for more yards in their season that they won the award.
In 1981 Marcus Allen out of Southern California rushed for 2,427 yards and rushed for 22 touchdowns as the 2nd most rushing yards by a Heisman winner, though it was No. 1 at the time. In 1988 Oklahoma States Barry Sanders rushed for 2,628 yards and 37 touchdowns, both NCAA records that still stand to this day, on his way to claiming the trophy.
Gordon’s biggest game of the season came in mid November against Nebraska when he ran for a NCAA record 408 yards as the Badgers pummeled the Corn Huskers 59-24. The shocker was his record was then broke the next week by Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine with a 427-yard performance.
Its been a record book type of career for Melvin Gordon in the book of the Badgers, with a tie for most touchdowns in a game when he scored 5 times against Bowling Green in September of this year. And his average yard per carry of 7.81 in 2013 rank at No. 1 in Wisconsin history while this season he is boasting a 7.6 ratio.
Growing up in Kenosha, Wisconsin and then playing and making a name for himself as a Wisconsin Badger, the Heisman invitation is a another accolade to add to the man who is projected to make another of his dream, this one of becoming an NFL running back come true in the 1st round of next years NFL draft. The redshirt Junior made the announcement final Wednesday morning on the Dan Patrick Show.
We will have to wait until this Saturday night to see if Gordon has done enough this season to impress the voters and get the change to hoist the Heisman Trophy. Though he is going up against two of the best players in the country in Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Alabama’s Amari Cooper, both of which, respective schools will be competing in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
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