Mark Ingram Wins The Heisman
Alabama RB Mark Ingram
In the closest Heisman race ever, Mark Ingram became the third sophomore in a row to win and the first in Alabama's great history. He came up big in some of the biggest games of the season, and because he helped lead his team to the national title game, he gets the Heisman by just 28 points over Stanford's Toby Gerhart.
Mark Ingram Wins The Heisman
Gerhart 2nd in the closest race ever
Sam Bradford bombs his way to a Heisman
Tim Tebow the first sophomore to win
Troy Smith wins in a landslide
Congratulations, Alabama. Now you're officially a
big-time college football program.
For the first time in its long and glorious history,
Alabama has a Heisman winner as running back Mark
Ingram beat out Stanford's Toby Gerhart in the
closest finish ever. It's not like there haven't
been great Tide players worthy of being in the
picture, but most of the program's greatest stars
were on defense, while its greatest offensive
player, John Hannah, was a lineman. But now Ingram
has changed all of that in a season that was defined
by what he did in the biggest games and with the
spotlight on ... for the most part.
Ingram wasn't necessarily the best running back in
2009; Gerhart won the Doak Walker. He wasn't
necessarily the top player on the Tide; LB Rolando
McClain, DT Terrence Cody, and the offensive line
had a lot to do with the team's success. And he
wasn't necessarily the biggest statistical star
running the ball; he finished the regular season
12th in yards per game and with a total of 1,542
yards and 15 touchdowns. But he helped carry the
Tide when it needed the most help, and without him,
the team probably would be going to New Orleans for
the bowl season instead of Pasadena.
He made a big statement in the opening game of the
year rushing for 150 yards and a score against
Virginia Tech, but he wasn't needed against FIU and
North Texas running a total of 18 times in the two
games for 147 yards and two scores. But when the
offense started to sputter a bit with QB Greg
McElroy unable to keep up the success of the first
part of the season, it was Ingram who took over.
While the SEC Championship game might have put
Ingram over the top in the Heisman debate, it was a
three-game October stretch that likely won it for
him. Kentucky gave the Tide all it could handle, and
then Ingram took over on the way to a 140-yard, two
touchdown day and a 38-20 win. With everyone
watching against Ole Miss, Ingram put on a show with
172 bruising yards and a touchdown in a 22-3 win.
And then came the 246-yard, one touchdown day
against South Carolina that pushed him to the top of
the list of mediocre Heisman candidates. The
144-yard game against LSU showed that he wasn't
going to go away.
Ingram detractors will point out that Tennessee held
him to 99 yards and almost won (if not for Cody's
two blocked field goals), and they'll also point out
that some of his biggest games came against
Mississippi State (149 yards and two scores) and
UT-Chattanooga (102 yards and two scores). Getting
hurt against Auburn, and being held to just 30 yards
on 16 carries, opened the door for Gerhart, Colt
McCoy, and Ndamukong Suh, but Ingram shut it with a
Was he going to play? That was the big question
going into the SEC Championship, and in what some
would argue was the national championship, against
Florida. Could Ingram get through his hip injury to
even be a factor, or was he going to have to rest up
with the hope that he could be ready for the bowl
game? On 28 carries for 113 yards and three
touchdowns, along with two catches for 76 yards,
Tide was the star of the biggest win of the season,
and for that, he became the year's signature player.
But plenty of voters weren't convinced.
Ingram received 227 first place votes while Gerhart
received 222, McCoy 203, and Suh 161. Just a few
votes the other way and Ingram doesn't win. Gerhart
did just as much in the big games, rolling for 223
yards and three scores against an Oregon defense
that finished 38th in the nation against the run,
and he ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns
against USC, 136 yards and four scores against Cal,
and 205 yards and three touchdowns against Notre
Dame. That was just in the last four games of the
Suh faced an uphill battle as a defensive tackle,
but there's little arguing that his 12 tackle, seven
tackle for loss, 4.5 sack day against Texas in the
Big 12 Championship was the most dominant
performance of the season. Nowhere near a one-game
wonder, he finished the regular season with an
unheard of (for a defensive tackle) 82 stops and 12
sacks. But did he get his team to a national title?
He sure tried and he certainly came close to
carrying his offensively-challenged Huskers to a Big
12 championship, but Alabama is in the BCS
Championship and Nebraska isn't.
The victor go the spoils. Right now it's Alabama's
college football world, and for the moment, Mark
Ingram is the king.