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Sports Then and Now

Crimson Tide Finally Quench Heisman Trophy Thirst

Posted on December 12, 2009 by Dean Hybl
SEC Championship - Alabama v Florida

Mark Ingram is the first player in the storied history of Alabama football to win the Heisman Trophy.

In their storied football history, the University of Alabama could boast of 12 National Champions and 92 first team All-Americans, but until Saturday night held the dubious distinction of having the most football wins of any school without a Heisman Trophy winner.

That finally changed with the announcement that sophomore running back Mark Ingram had edged out Stanford running back Toby Gerhart to win the 2009 award.

Ingram is actually the first Crimson Tide player to ever finish better than third in the Heisman voting. The previous best finish for an Alabama player was a third place showing by David Palmer in 1993.

After going 72 years without ever having a sophomore claim the award, Ingram’s selection marked the third straight year that a sophomore has claimed college football’s most prestigious award.

In a year in which no clear favorite ever emerged, Ingram claimed the award in the closest balloting in the history of the trophy.

Ingram received 227 first-place votes and totaled 1,304 points. Gerhart got 222 first-place votes and 1,276 points, while Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, last season’s runner-up, received 203 top votes and 1,145 total points.

The 2009 Heisman Trophy finalists included (L to R) Toby Gerhart of Stanford, Tim Tebow of Florida, Mark Ingram of Alabama, Colt McCoy and Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska.

The 2009 Heisman Trophy finalists included (L to R) Toby Gerhart of Stanford, Tim Tebow of Florida, Mark Ingram of Alabama, Colt McCoy and Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska.

The 28-point margin of victory is the closest in the 75-year history of the award. The previous closest finish was in 1985 when Bo Jackson of Auburn edged Chuck Long of Iowa by 45-points.

In helping lead Alabama to an undefeated regular season for the second straight year and then a victory over previous number one ranked the University of Florida, Ingram established a new school record with 1,542 yards rushing. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry and scored 18 touchdowns.

The national championship game will match Ingram and Alabama against the University of Texas, which is led by senior quarterback Colt McCoy.

After finishing second to Sam Bradford of Oklahoma for the Heisman a year ago, McCoy finished third this season, 159 points behind Ingram

No doubt, McCoy will have extra incentive when the two teams meet for the National Championship on January 7th.

If history is any guide, Ingram and the Crimson Tide could be in for trouble against McCoy and Texas.

Last season Bradford and Oklahoma faced Tim Tebow, who was third in the 2008 Heisman balloting, and the Florida Gators for the title.

Tebow out-shined Bradford and the Gators claimed their second title in three years.

McCoy and the Longhorn faithful will certainly be looking for similar results at the Rose Bowl.

Because he is ineligible for the NFL Draft, Ingram will try in 2010 to accomplish something that Tebow, the 2007 winner, and Bradford could not accomplish. He will look to join Ohio State legend Archie Griffin as a two-time Heisman Trophy winner.

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