Mark Ingram Wins 2009 Heisman Trophy
12/12/2009 8:02 PM ET
By Ray Holloman
The closest race in Heisman history ended with Mark Ingram's run into history.
The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Alabama running back who seemingly never gets knocked off balance, finished off another run Saturday night with the first Heisman trophy in Alabama school history.
"I"m a little overhwhelmed right now," Ingram said as he accepted the award. "It's a great honor to be here, to be a member of the Heisman fraternity. I'm so excited to bring Alabama its first Heisman winner."
Overcome by emotion, Ingram tearfully thanked his family and teammates, as well as his coaches.
Ingram carried the Tide all the way to the nation's No. 1 ranking and a berth in the BCS national championship game. Ingram rushed for 99 or more yards in eight of his last nine games, totaled 1,542 total yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. He also caught for 322 yards and three touchdowns.
The third consecutive sophomore to win the award -- and third overall -- Ingram knocked off several other candidates with historic agendas.
Defensive tackle Ndamakong Suh would have been the first purely defensive player to win in the award's history. Michigan's Charles Woodson won the award in 1997, but also returned punts and lined up at wide receiver.Suh made the best closing argument of all the finalists, registering 4.5 sacks in a Big 12 championship loss to Texas. He led the Huskers in tackles for a second straight season, with 82, an unlikely feat for a defensive lineman, and even broke up 10 passes, second on the team.
Florida's Tim Tebow, meanwhile, failed in his second attempt to become the second two-time Heisman winner. Tebow won the award in 2007 and was a finalist last year, finishing third behind McCoy and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford. Tebow, however, did become the first player to attend three straight Heisman ceremonies since Georgia's Herschel Walker.
Texas' Colt McCoy was a favorite of several Heisman predictors, but like Tebow, knowing his way around the stage didn't bring him the award. McCoy lost for the second straight season, though he leaves Texas as the winningest quarterback in college football history. McCoy wasn't as statistically dominant as a season ago, however. He completed 70.5 percent of his passes for 3512 and 27 touchdowns against 12 interceptions in 2009. McCoy will play for the national championship Jan. 7.
Toby Gerhart was the most surprising of the bunch relative to preseason expectations. A second-team all-Pac-10 running back last season, Gerhart exploded for 1,736 yards and a nation's-best 26 rushing touchdowns. The senior led all BCS conference players in rushing and finished second in the nation, behind only Fresno State's Ryan Mathews. Gerhart emerged as a serious candidate after rushing for 200 yards in a win over Washington in late September, then cemented his candidacy with 176 yards in Stanford's upset of Southern California. He finished his season with 205 yards and four touchdowns against Notre Dame.