Torretta on the receiving end of Heisman

December 13, 1992|By Malcolm Moran | Malcolm Moran,New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- He qualified as a Heisman Trophy contender by throwing the football. But in the final hours before his senior season definitely became a Heisman season, Gino Torretta of the University of Miami was forced to do a little scrambling.

Torretta became the winner of the 58th Heisman Memorial Trophy Award yesterday, but not before the storm throughout the Northeast forced a change in his itinerary.

Torretta began the trip in Louisville, Ky., where he accepted the Johnny Unitas Award on Friday. He flew to Cleveland, then to Newark, N.J., and then went by limousine to the Downtown Athletic Club in Manhattan to claim an award that was won by a comfortable margin.

He received 1,400 points, 320 more than San Diego State sophomore running back Marshall Faulk. Torretta's 310 first-place votes, out of 779 ballots, exceeded the combined total of Faulk and Garrison Hearst of Georgia, who finished third. Marvin Jones, a linebacker from Florida State, finished fourth, ahead of running back Reggie Brooks of Notre Dame.

Torretta led in four of the six voting regions -- the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Southwest. Faulk carried the Far West and Hearst won the South.

"This is truly a prestigious honor," Torretta said. "I want to thank my teammates, especially the defense, because they're the reason I'm here."

His mother, Connie, attended the ceremony, along with his three brothers. His father, Al, died in 1988. "I always told him if he'd put his best foot forward, he'd be the best, and today he is the best," Mrs. Torretta said.

Torretta became the second Miami player to win the Heisman, which honors college football's best player, joining Vinny Testaverde, who won in 1986. Torretta is the first senior to win since Notre Dame's Tim Brown in 1987. The four previous winners -- Desmond Howard, Ty Detmer, Andre Ware and Barry Sanders -- were juniors.

Torretta's comfortable margin of victory came as a result of a career record of 26-1 as the starting quarterback of the University of Miami Hurricanes, currently the consensus

No. 1-ranked team. The Hurricanes (11-0) will meet No. 2 Alabama (11-0) in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.

Torretta will have an opportunity to join Davey O'Brien of Texas Christian and Tony Dorsett of Pitt as the only Heisman winners to play for an undefeated, untied national championship team that won a bowl game. O'Brien did it in 1938, Dorsett in 1976.

The Hurricanes quarterback completed 228 of 402 passes this season for 3,060 yards. Torretta threw 19 touchdown passes with just seven interceptions. He threw 123 consecutive attempts without an interception.

Torretta has won more games than any of Miami's other quarterbacks, including Testaverde, Bernie Kosar and Jim Kelly. Since Torretta became the full-time starter in 1991, Miami has gone 23-0.

Gino is smart, he makes few mistakes and he probably operates the offense better than anyone I've ever had," Miami coach Dennis Erickson said.

Torretta, 6 feet 3, 205 pounds, is Miami's career leader in completions (555), attempts (991), passing yards (7,690) and total offense (7,772). He needs two touchdown passes against Alabama to become the Hurricanes' all-time leader in that category.

Heisman Trophy voting

OC

Player ... .. .. .. .. ..1st .. .. 2nd .. .. 3rd .. .. Total

Gino Torretta, Miami .. ... . 310 .. .. 179 .. .. 112 .. .. 1,400

Marshall Faulk, San Diego St. 164 .. .. 207 .. .. 174 .. .. 1,080

Garrison Hearst, Georgia .. . 140 .. .. 196 .. .. 170 .. .. . 982

Marvin Jones, Florida St. .. . 81 .. ... 51 .. ... 47 .. .. . 392

Reggie Brooks, Notre Dame .. . 42 .. ... 53 .. ... 62 .. .. . 294

Charlie Ward, Florida St. .. . 18 .. ... 18 .. ... 36 .. .. . 126

Micheal Barrow, Miami .. .. .. 10 .. ... 10 .. ... 14 .. .. .. 64

Drew Bledsoe, Washington St ... 6 .. .. . 8 .. ... 14 .. .. .. 48

Glyn Milburn, Stanford .. .. .. 5 .. ... 11 .. ... 10 .. .. .. 47

Eric Curry, Alabama .. .. .. .. 3 .. ... 13 .. ... 12 .. .. .. 47

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