Heisman finalists’ historic years result in tension-filled ceremony


There is no such thing as a fallacious reply.

There may be Tua Tagovailoa, the very best participant on the very best crew in the very best convention.

There may be Kyler Murray, the quarterback for essentially the most explosive offense within the nation.

And there may be Dwayne Haskins, the Huge Ten record-holder in landing passes and complete yards.

“I feel we’re all right here for a cause,” mentioned Murray, Oklahoma’s dual-threat quarterback and multi-sport star who was additionally a first-round MLB draft decide of the Athletics in June. “Everyone is deserving of it. I feel it’s enjoyable, for us as the blokes who can win it.”

Saturday night time, certainly one of these record-breaking quarterbacks will win the Heisman Trophy — essentially the most prestigious award in school sports activities, voted on by writers and previous winners — and in contrast to earlier years there may be intrigue main as much as the announcement at The PlayStation Theater in Occasions Sq..

Murray, a redshirt junior, is taken into account a razor-slim favourite over Tagovailoa, hoping to provide Oklahoma back-to-back winners after Baker Mayfield captured the award final December. Tagovailoa, the Alabama sophomore from Hawaii, may turn out to be the primary quarterback to win the award in this system’s illustrious historical past. He has seen the trophy earlier than: Former winner Marcus Mariota introduced it to Saint Louis College in Hawaii, which each attended.

“Once you’re a child you dream of issues like that,” Tagovailoa mentioned. “Marcus received to do it, and with the ability to see Marcus do it, be capable of see the folks again house, how proud they had been of him, it’s superior.”

As an indication of how shut this can be, the 2 have break up 4 main awards. Tagovailoa received the Maxwell Award for participant of the 12 months and the Walter Camp Award for greatest participant, whereas Murray was named the Davey O’Brien Award winner because the nation’s greatest quarterback and received the Related Press’ Participant of the Yr.

The hero of final 12 months’s nationwide championship sport in reduction, Tagovailoa was thought of the heavy favourite for a lot of the season, main undefeated Alabama to at least one blowout after one other, hardly ever taking part in into the fourth quarter. However he completed poorly, throwing two interceptions within the SEC Championship sport and struggling a left ankle damage that required minor surgical procedure. He’s nonetheless anticipated to be prepared for the School Soccer Playoff semifinal on Dec. 29 towards Murray and Oklahoma. Murray, in the meantime, by no means slowed down, reaching the common season’s end line with a flourish, carrying the defenseless Sooners to the Huge 12 title and main Oklahoma to at the least 39 factors in every of its previous 9 video games.

“I’ve solely seen one sport, and that was the West Virginia-Oklahoma sport. Excessive-scoring sport,” Tagovailoa mentioned. “The primary landing, I feel he had a dashing landing. Jeez, this man was transferring. He can beat you together with his arm and he can beat you together with his legs.”

There are arguments that may be made for each gamers. Murray performed underneath strain all season, understanding something lower than his greatest would lead to defeat for Oklahoma. The Sooners confronted 4 second-half deficits, and he at all times got here via within the clutch. Of their lone loss, a 48-45 setback to Texas, Murray produced 396 complete yards and 5 touchdowns. He led the nation in complete yards (4,945), factors liable for (306) and passing effectivity (205.7).

Alabama’s one come-from-behind victory, over Georgia final Saturday, got here with Tagovailoa sidelined with the ankle damage. However Alabama held huge leads all through the season due to his brilliance. He threw for 3,353 yards and 37 touchdowns, in comparison with 4 interceptions, regardless of spending a lot of the second half of video games on the sideline.

“I’m simply grateful to be right here,” he mentioned. “If I don’t [win it], I might have one other alternative to win once more subsequent 12 months.”

In some other 12 months, Haskins can be in line for the award, after throwing 47 landing passes and finishing 70.2 % of his passes to steer Ohio State to the Huge Ten title. However due to what the opposite two achieved, the redshirt sophomore’s prize is an all-expenses paid journey to New York Metropolis in December. He received’t be the one one disenchanted. Both Tagovailoa or Murray will fall brief, too, regardless of sensational seasons.

“Everyone’s been saying if [Tua] did what he did some other 12 months, it will be a landslide. If I did what I did [it would be the same]. Even Dwayne,” Murray mentioned. “This season offensively has been traditionally one thing offenses have by no means accomplished earlier than, and I’m simply proud to be part of it.”

Heisman Trophy announcment

Who will win the Heisman: Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
Recency bias is taking on. Murray completed so sturdy, throwing for a mixed six touchdowns and 734 yards in wins over West Virginia and Texas, and holds a slim edge in numerous media straw polls and playing odds.

Who ought to win the Heisman: Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
Overlook the SEC Championship sport. One mediocre efficiency doesn’t wipe away a season filled with brilliance. Simply think about Tagovailoa’s numbers if he weren’t on the sideline so typically within the second half, and if he confronted the type of tackling-averse defenses Murray received fats towards within the Huge 12.

TV: Saturday, eight p.m., ESPN

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