|New York , NY–
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford has won the Heisman Trophy, college football’s most prestigious honor. Bradford beat out last year’s Heisman winner, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, and Texas QB Colt McCoy.
Bradford, a redshirt sophomore, became the fifth Oklahoma player to win the Heisman, joining quarterback Jason White (2003), running backs Billy Sims (1978), Steve Owens (1969) and Billy Vessels (1952).
“I was definitely surprised,” said Bradford. “I think it’s everything of what I imagined. I think it’s going to take a couple of weeks to soak it all in.” In the breakdown, Tebow actually had more first-place votes (309) than Bradford (309), but the Sooner QB totaled 1,726 points. McCoy was second with 1,604 points, including 266 first-place tallies. Tebow came in third at 1,575 points.
Bradford captured the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Thursday, the same night Tebow edged fellow signal-callers Graham Harrell of Texas Tech and McCoy, for the Maxwell Award, signifying the nation’s top all-around player. But two nights later in the Big Apple, it was Bradford who came away with the top honor.
That sets up a Bradford-Tebow battle in the BCS national championship game on January 8 in Miami. Last year, Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman. He was denied a shot at joining Ohio State running back Archie Griffin (1974-75) of was the only two-time winner of the Heisman.
With his left hand in the cast following surgery on his thumb, Bradford lifted up the Heisman Trophy with his right hand. Bradford guided the Sooners to a 12-1 record and a late-season surge that not only put him at the forefront of the Heisman race, but also landed Oklahoma in the No. 1 spot in the BCS.
Sam Bradford Led OSU to BCS Title Game and now he has some Hardware of His Own in the Heisman Trophy
The second-year starter, who tore ligaments in his non-throwing hand in the second-to-last game of the season, led the nation with 48 touchdown passes while completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 4,464 yards, and was intercepted just six times.
“I feel like my whole offense bails me out every game,” said Bradford. “Those guys make me look good. I can’t give them enough credit.” Bradford also ran for five scores and orchestrated an offense that eclipsed the 60-point barrier in each of the past five games including a 384-yard, two-touchdown effort in a 62-21 pasting of Missouri last Saturday to capture Oklahoma’s third straight Big 12 title.
“I was surrounded by such a strong supporting cast, I feel like I’m up here representing them,” said Bradford. “It’s an individual award, but I fell like I’m receiving it on behalf of my teammates. Without them, I would be nowhere.”
Tebow tossed for 216 yards and three TDs in the SEC championship last Saturday, when the Gators trumped previously top-ranked Alabama, 31-20, to sneak into the No. 2 spot of the BCS for another shot at a title. But his 2008 numbers fell shy of last season’s historic run, when he became the first player in FBS history to throw at least 20 TD passes and run for at least 20 scores in the same campaign. Nonetheless, the junior tossed for 2,515 yards with 28 TDs and just two picks, while rushing for 564 yards and a dozen touchdowns for a team that outscored its opponents by more than 32 points a game.
McCoy paced Texas to an 11-1 record, though the Longhorns fell just short of getting into the Big 12 title game due to the conference tie-breaking rules. McCoy not only passed for 3,445 yards with 32 touchdowns and a mere seven interceptions, but he led the Longhorns in rushing with 576 yards in addition to 10 scores