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Why Vessels won: Because of his performance against Notre Dame. The Sooners lost 27-21, but Vessels rushed for 195 yards and scored three touchdowns, monster numbers for that time. 1969 1. Steve Owens, OU: 1,488 2. Mike Phipps, Purdue: 1,344 3. Rex Kern, Ohio State: 856 4. Archie Manning, Ole Miss: 582 Why Owens won: Because he was a workhorse, and because the quarterback stars of 1970 (Jim Plunkett, Manning, Joe Theismann) were a year away. Owens his final two seasons carried 751 times in 21 games, for 3,172 yards and 44 touchdowns. 1978 1. Billy Sims, OU: 827 2. Chuck Fusina, Penn State: 750 3. Rick Leach, Michigan: 435 4. Charles White, USC: 354 Why Sims won: Because he had four 200-yard games and a huge season, 1,762 yards before the Orange Bowl. 2003 1. Jason White, OU: 1,481 2. Larry Fitzgerald, Pitt: 1,353 3. Eli Manning, Ole Miss: 710 4. Chris Perry, Michigan: 341 Why White won: Because his storybook return from two major knee surgeries was compounded by the ridiculous numbers — 40 touchdown passes and six interceptions before the Sugar Bowl. 2008 1. Sam Bradford, OU: 1,726 2. Colt McCoy, Texas: 1,604 3. Tim Tebow, Florida: 1,575 4. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech: 2 Why Bradford won: Because of outrageous numbers and a record-setting offense. Bradford has thrown 48 touchdowns and just six interceptions on a team that has scored at least 60 points in five straight games.
OU’s Heisman history
OU WINNERS1952 1. Billy Vessels, OU: 525 2. Jack Scarbath, Maryland: 367 3. Paul Giel, Minnesota: 329 4. Don Moomaw, UCLA: 257
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