Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel rode a record-breaking season all the way to a history-making finish in the Heisman Trophy race.
The dual-threat quarterback from Kerrville, Texas, became the first freshman winner in the 78 year history of the prestigious trophy on Saturday night.
Manziel tallied 474 first-place votes and 2,029 total points, comfortably ahead of runner up Manti Te’o, the linebacker from Notre Dame. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was third with 894 points.
The 6-1, 190-pound Manziel was fantastic in his first year as a starter, compiling an SEC-record 4,600 yards of total offense — including 43 total touchdowns — while leading the Aggies to a 10-2 record in their first year in the league. It was A&M’s best season since 1998. Manziel became just the fifth player in FBS history — and the first freshman– to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000.
The highlight of Manziel’s season — and probably the key to his Heisman win — was his performance in Texas A&M’s upset of then-No.1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 10. Manziel threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns and added another 92 yards on the ground in the dramatic 29-24 victory.
It’s the second Heisman Trophy for Texas A&M, with the first coming in 1957 when running back John David Crow took home the honor while playing for Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant. Coincidentally, the runner up to Crow was also a defensive player — Alex Karras of Iowa.
NOTES FROM THE 78th HEISMAN CEREMONY
— For the sixth year in a row, the final HeismanPundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Straw poll nailed the winner of the Heisman. The top four in the poll mirrored the top four in the final vote.
— Last night, I wrote that the winning margin would look like the 1992 result, when Gino Torretta beat Marshall Faulk by 320 points. This year’s margin? 323 points.
— Manziel is the first freshman to win the award.
— Manziel was named on 92% of the ballots. Te’o was on 84%. Klein on 64%.
— The three finalists received 86% of the votes tabulated.
— 77% of the ballots were received in the second week of voting, after the final game.
— 14 players received first-place votes. Thirty players in all appeared on ballots.
— Manziel is the 13th winner to exceed 2,000 points.
— Te’o had the second-most first-place votes for a runner up in the history of the Heisman.
— Kevin Sumlin is the first African-American head coach to coach a Heisman winner.
— Sophomores and freshmen comprised 40% of the top 10, the most in Heisman history.