Tide 1st for Ingram


No. 1 Alabama has Heisman winner at last in closest vote

December 13, 2009|By Jeremy Fowler | Tribune newspapers

NEW YORK - About 200 Alabama fans waited outside Times Square on Saturday, hoping to catch a glimpse of Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram.

They picked a good night to come out. Ingram made history for a football program with plenty of it.

In the closest Heisman Trophy vote, Ingram outdistanced Stanford running back Toby Gerhart by 28 points to become Alabama's first Heisman winner.

"I'm a little overwhelmed right now," Ingram said at the Downtown Athletic Club.

Ingram becomes the first running back to win the award since USC's Reggie Bush in 2005.

He finished with 1,304 points, including 227 first-place votes. Gerhart had 1,276 points (222 firsts), creating a tighter race than the 45-point win by Auburn's Bo Jackson over Iowa's Chuck Long in 1985.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy finished third with 1,145 points (203 firsts), Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fourth with 815 and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was fifth with 390.

Though Gerhart had the better statistical resume, Ingram likely won the race last week with a 189-yard, three-touchdown performance against Florida to help Alabama clinch a spot in the Bowl Championship Series national title game. Ingram has 1,542 rushing yards with 15 touchdowns, plus 322 receiving yards and three scores.

Gerhart called the suspenseful Heisman race "crazy."

"It makes it that much more exciting," Gerhart said. "In the years past, it was kind of decided beforehand. You had a feeling who was going to win it."

Gerhart won the Far West voting region, but he couldn't garner enough interest in the Southwest and South regions dominated by the other four candidates. Gerhart failed to become Stanford's first Heisman winner since Jim Plunkett in 1970.

After an NCAA-record 45 career wins, McCoy refused to be bitter despite a second straight Heisman loss.

McCoy completed 70.4 percent of his passes but didn't have the glossy stats - 3,512 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, 12 interceptions - to overcome the other playmakers.

McCoy finished second to Oklahoma's Sam Bradford in 2008.

"I'm humbled that they invited me back one more year," McCoy said. "I'm a representation of our team. I'm honored to be there. The guys that are up for the award are extremely deserving."

The glory was unattainable for Suh, who thrust himself into the Heisman race with seven tackles for a loss and 4 1/2 sacks against Texas last week.

Suh received 161 first-place votes, but he fell short of becoming the first defensive player since Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson (1997) to win the Heisman.


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