February 21, 2018

Remember RG3…in the Valero Alamo Bowl!

Throughout its 143-year history, college football has showcased many outstanding players—long to be remembered for various accomplishments, including spectacular plays, leading a team to a national championship or for winning one of college football’s annual awards.

Of all the hardware that has been awarded, one brings back memories of the previous winners simply by mentioning its name.

This award is the Heisman Trophy, awarded since 1935.

Like with life itself, many surprises have been associated with this award.

It has been said that a player who wins the award often wins as a result of an outstanding season and from the backing of a poet (writer) in the press box.

Some schools present a full-blown ad campaign similar to a person running for political office while others let their players’ accomplishments speak for themselves.

The majority of the players winning this award came from winning teams. One player won from a school that finished the season with an equal amount of wins and losses (Jay Berwanger, the first recipient of the award). Another player won from a sub-.500 team: Notre Dame’s Paul Hornung in 1956. His team finished 2-8-0.

A complete breakdown of each season since 1935 shows that 25 winners never participated in the postseason—including 19 of the first 22 honorees.

Since 1970, Houston’s Andre Ware, the 1989 awardee, is the only Heisman winner not to play in a postseason game.

Of the remaining 52 former winners, 43 have gone on to play in a bowl game that would be considered—in today’s terms—a “BCS Bowl Game.”


"BCS Bowls"       Games      W-L
Orange              10       7-3
Rose                11       6-5
Cotton               7       4-3
Sugar                8       3-5
BCS Title Game       4       2-2
Fiesta               3       1-2


Baylor’s Robert Griffin III was selected as the 2011 Heisman Trophy Winner. Not only was he chosen to be the first winner from Baylor, but his selection also broke a string of two consecutive winners that would lead his team to the National Championship.

Davey O’Brien was the first Heisman Trophy winner to lead his team to the National Championship. There have been 15 in total.


Year     Winner              Team
1938     Davey O'Brien       Texas Christian
1941     Bruce Smith         Minnesota
1943     Angelo Bertelli     Notre Dame
1945     Doc Blanchard       Army
1947     Johnny Lujack       Notre Dame
1949     Leon Hart           Notre Dame
1976     Tony Dorsett        Pittsburgh
1986     Vinny Testaverde    Miami
1993     Charlie Ward        Florida State
1996     Danny Wuerffel      Florida
1997     Charles Woodson     Michigan
2004     Matt Leinart        USC
2005     Reggie Bush*        USC
2009     Mark Ingram         Alabama
2010     Cam Newton          Auburn
*Heisman Trophy later vacated


RG3 became the ninth winner of this prestigious award to play in what can be classified as “Non-BCS Bowl Game.” Griffin led the Bears to the Alamo Bowl; the first time a Heisman winner would play in this game.


"Non-BCS Bowls"   Games      W-L
Liberty              2       2-0
Alamo                1       1-0
Holiday              2       1-1
Capital One          1       0-1
Citrus               1       0-1
Gator                2       0-2


Let’s take a closer look at the nine players who won college football’s most prestigious award, but did not showcase their abilities on the stage of a “BCS Bowl Game.”

Interestingly, the first two Heisman Trophy winners to play in a “Non-BCS Bowl Game” came in back-to-back seasons (1961-62), but then not again until the 1988 season; a year when college football would see many of its records fall as Barry Sanders established many standards.


Heisman Trophy Winners that played in and won a “Non-BCS Bowl Game”:

  • 1961 Ernie Davis, Syracuse, Liberty (30-140/rushing)
  • 1962 Terry Baker, Oregon State, Liberty (9-21, 123/passing)
  • 1988 Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State, Holiday (29-222/rushing)
  • 2011 Robert Griffin III, Baylor, Alamo (24-33, 295/passing)

Heisman Trophy Winners that played in and lost a “Non-BCS Bowl Game”:

  • 1957 John David Crow, Texas A&M, Gator (14-46/rushing)
  • 1980 George Rogers, South Carolina, Gator (27-113/rushing)
  • 1990 Ty Detmer, BYU, Holiday (11-23, 120/passing)
  • 1995 Eddie George, Ohio State, Citrus (25-101/rushing)
  • 2007 Tim Tebow, Florida, Capital One (17-33, 154/passing)


In a couple of these “Non-BCS Bowl Games” that the Heisman winner would play in, their teams displayed offensive fireworks that lit up the scoreboard.

Capping his last year in Stillwater, Barry Sanders found the end zone five times in leading his team to a 62-14 wipe out of Wyoming.

In the most recent such game, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III would only score twice, but would orchestrate many of the Bears many comebacks in its match-up with Washington, winning 67-53. This would be highest scoring game in bowl history for a game played in regulation.


Here is a summary of the Heisman Trophy winners in the postseason:


Year Winner           Team             Bowl        Opponent        D   Score
1935 Jay Berwanger    Chicago          None
1936 Larry Kelley     Yale             None
1937 Clint Frank      Yale             None
1938 Davey O'Brien    Texas Christian  Sugar       Carnegie Tech   W    15-7
1939 Nile Kinnick     Iowa             None
1940 Tom Harmon       Michigan         None
1941 Bruce Smith      Minnesota        None
1942 Frank Sinkwich   Georgia          Rose        UCLA            W     9-0
1943 Angelo Bertelli  Notre Dame       None
1944 Les Horvath      Ohio State       None
1945 Doc Blanchard    Army             None
1946 Glenn Davis      Army             None
1947 Johnny Lujack    Notre Dame       None
1948 Doak Walker      SMU              Cotton      Oregon          W   21-13
1949 Leon Hart        Notre Dame       None
1950 Vic Janowicz     Ohio State       None
1951 Dick Kazmaier    Princeton        None
1952 Billy Vessels    Oklahoma         None
1953 Johnny Lattner   Notre Dame       None
1954 Alan Ameche      Wisconsin        None
1955 Howard Cassady   Ohio State       None
1956 Paul Hornung     Notre Dame       None
1957 John David Crow  Texas A&M        Gator       Tennessee       L     0-3
1958 Pete Dawkins     Army             None
1959 Billy Cannon     LSU              Sugar       Ole Miss        L    0-21
1960 Joe Bellino      Navy             Orange      Missouri        L   14-21
1961 Ernie Davis      Syracuse         Liberty     Miami           W   15-14
1962 Terry Baker      Oregon State     Liberty     Villanova       W     6-0
1963 Roger Staubach   Navy             Cotton      Texas           L    6-28
1964 John Huarte      Notre Dame       None
1965 Mike Garrett     USC              None
1966 Steve Spurrier   Florida          Orange      Georgia Tech    W   27-12
1967 Gary Beban       UCLA             None
1968 O.J. Simpson     USC              Rose        Ohio State      L   16-27
1969 Steve Owens      Oklahoma         None
1970 Jim Plunkett     Stanford         Rose        Ohio State      W   27-17
1971 Pat Sullivan     Auburn           Sugar       Oklahoma        L   22-40
1972 Johnny Rodgers   Nebraska         Orange      Notre Dame      W    40-6
1973 John Cappelletti Penn State       Orange      LSU             W    16-9
1974 Archie Griffin   Ohio State       Rose        USC             L   17-18
1975 Archie Griffin   Ohio State       Rose        UCLA            L   10-23
1976 Tony Dorsett     Pittsburgh       Sugar       Georgia         W    27-3
1977 Earl Campbell    Texas            Cotton      Notre Dame      L   38-10
1978 Billy Sims       Oklahoma         Orange      Nebraska        W   31-24
1979 Charles White    USC              Rose        Ohio State      W   17-16
1980 George Rogers    South Carolina   Gator       Pittsburgh      L    9-37
1981 Marcus Allen     USC              Fiesta      Penn State      L   10-26
1982 Herschel Walker  Georgia          Sugar       Penn State      L   23-27
1983 Mike Rozier      Nebraska         Orange      Miami           L   30-31
1984 Doug Flutie      Boston College   Cotton      Houston         W   45-28
1985 Bo Jackson       Auburn           Cotton      Texas A&M       L   16-36
1986 Vinny Testaverde Miami            Fiesta      Penn State      L   10-14
1987 Tim Brown        Notre Dame       Cotton      Texas A&M       L   10-35
1988 Barry Sanders    Oklahoma State   Holiday     Wyoming         W   62-14
1989 Andre Ware       Houston          None
1990 Ty Detmer        Brigham Young    Holiday     Texas A&M       L   14-65
1991 Desmond Howard   Michigan         Rose        Washington      L   14-34
1992 Gino Torretta    Miami            Sugar       Alabama         L   13-34
1993 Charlie Ward     Florida State    Orange      Nebraska        W   18-16
1994 Rashaan Salaam   Colorado         Fiesta      Notre Dame      W   41-24
1995 Eddie George     Ohio State       Citrus      Tennessee       L   14-20
1996 Danny Wuerffel   Florida          Sugar       Florida State   W   52-20
1997 Charles Woodson  Michigan         Rose        Washington St.  W   21-16
1998 Ricky Williams   Texas            Cotton      Mississippi St. W   38-11
1999 Ron Dayne        Wisconsin        Rose        Stanford        W    17-9
2000 Chris Weinke     Florida State    Orange      Oklahoma        L    2-13
2001 Eric Crouch      Nebraska         Rose        Miami           L   14-37
2002 Carson Palmer    USC              Orange      Iowa            W   38-17
2003 Jason White      Oklahoma         Sugar       LSU             L   14-21
2004 Matt Leinart     USC              Orange      Oklahoma        W   55-19
2005 Reggie Bush      USC              Rose        Texas           L   38-41
2006 Troy Smith       Ohio State       BCS Title   Florida         L   14-41
2007 Tim Tebow        Florida          Capital One Michigan        L   35-41
2008 Sam Bradford     Oklahoma         BCS Title   Florida         L   14-24
2009 Mark Ingram      Alabama          BCS Title   Texas           W   37-21
2010 Cam Newton       Auburn           BCS Title   Oregon          W   22-19
2011 Robert Griffin   Baylor           Alamo       Washington      W   67-53


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