How did other Heisman winners do in their final games?Sam Bradford will have the final say in this year’s Heisman Trophy race. The Oklahoma quarterback will be the last of the frontrunners on the field, with Florida’s Tim Tebow playing Saturday afternoon and Texas’ Colt McCoy and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell sitting at home. But how much impact could Slingin’ Sam’s closing argument have on the voting? Here’s a look at what some Heisman winners who won close votes did in their final games:
Matt Leinart, 2004The Southern Cal quarterback failed to throw a touchdown pass in the Trojans’ regular-season finale against UCLA. It was the first time Leinart had been held without a touchdown pass in 25 starts. →The result: Leinart still held off Adrian Peterson and Jason White to win the award by 328 points.
Carson Palmer, 2002The Southern Cal quarterback threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns against Notre Dame in the regular-season finale. No one had ever thrown for that many yards against the Irish. It followed on the heels of a four-touchdown performance against UCLA. →The result: Palmer carried all six regions in the Heisman voting, becoming the first USC quarterback to claim the award and winning by 333 points.
Eric Crouch, 2001The Nebraska quarterback set a school record for offensive yards in a game with 360 in the regular-season finale. His team didn’t have near as good a day; Colorado beat Nebraska in a landslide, 62-36. →The result: Crouch surprised many by holding off Florida’s Rex Grossman and Miami’s Ken Dorsey to win the Heisman by 62 points. It was the closest vote since 1985.
Charles Woodson, 1997The Michigan do-it-all was electric in the regular-season finale against Ohio State. He returned a punt for a touchdown, snagged an interception in the end zone and caught a pass that set up Michigan’s only offensive touchdown. →The result: Woodson became the first defensive player to win the Heisman, beating Peyton Manning by 272 points.
Danny Wuerffel, 1996The Florida quarterback had his roughest day of the year in the Gators’ last regular-season game. Florida State sacked him six times and drew three other roughing-the-passer penalties as Florida lost 24-21. →The result: Wuerffel and Troy Davis split the regions, each winning three, but Wuerffel held off the Iowa State running back and won by 185 points. By Jenni Carlson