The college football season ended on Monday night with Ohio State winning the first ever College Football Playoff, with a win 42-20 over the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks, as you know, are led by junior quarterback Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Memorial Trophy winner. Mariota was held in check by the Ohio State defense, throwing for 333 yards and two touchdowns in the 22-point loss to the Buckeyes. In losing, Mariota failed to become the fourth Heisman Trophy winner in the past six years to win the National Championship. However, he did extend the streak of six consecutive Heisman winners winning the bowl game each individual played directly after winning the award. This was after Mariota won the Rose Bowl earlier this year. His performance in the Rose Bowl (more on that later) made us wonder how he stacked up against his Heisman-winning counterparts in recent memory.
The list of Heisman trophy winner's bowl performances since the start of the new millennium have, for the most part, left a lot to be desired. The record of these Heisman trophy winners and their respective teams is a respectable 9-6 since the year 2000. Here are the performances of the past 15 Heisman winners in bowl games after winning the award.
14 QB Troy Smith (2006 Winner, Ohio State) vs Florida in the 2007 National Championship Game
As a senior for the Ohio State Buckeyes, quarterback Troy Smith turned in stellar season en route to becoming the seventh player in the school's history to win the Heisman Trophy. Smith capped off his Heisman campaign with a thrilling win against 2nd-ranked Michigan, by a score of 42-39, throwing for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Garnering the highest percentage of possible points in modern Heisman history (91.63%), Smith ran away with the award easily.
After winning the award, along with many other post season awards and honors, Smith was set to lead Ohio State against the Florida Gators in the BCS National Championship game. And for the Buckeyes, especially Smith, it was ugly. Smith tallied a meager 35 yards passing, going 4 for 14 with an interception. The Gators' defense swarmed and harassed Smith all game, on the way to a 41-14 victory. Smith was sacked five times and was held to a negative 29 yards on the ground on ten carries. It was not how Smith wanted to end his successful career at OSU, but he wasn't the only Heisman winning QB since 2000 to falter in a bowl game.
13 QB Jason White (2003 Winner, Oklahoma) vs LSU in the in 2004National Championship Game
White became the fourth Sooner and first of two Oklahoma QBs in the decade to win the Heisman trophy in 2003, after two injury riddled seasons in 2001 and 2002. White threw for 3,846 yards and 40 touchdowns in leading the nation's highest scoring offense (45.2 ppg) to the 2004 National Championship game against the LSU Tigers. White failed to carry the momentum from winning the trophy over into the game, as he was simply awful in a 21-14 loss to the Tigers. White went 13 for 37 for 102 yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass in the game, as the only score he did throw for was a 45-yard interception return by LSU defensive end Marcus Spears. White took a beating, as he was sacked seven times by the swarming LSU defense.
12 QB Chris Weinke (2000 Winner, FSU) vs Oklahoma in the 2001 BCS National Championship Game
Chris Weinke became the oldest player to win the Heisman Trophy at 28 years old in 2000. Weinke led the NCAA in passing yardage with 4,167 yards, threw for 33 touchdowns and led the Seminoles to a #2 ranking in the country. He followed Charlie Ward as the 2nd Florida State QB to win the Heisman.
Weinke, along with the rest of the team, turned in an all-around dreadful performance in the 2001 Orange Bowl. FSU was only able to muster up a meager 2 points as it fell to Oklahoma by a score of 13-2. Weinke threw for 274 yards and two interceptions, failing for the first time in the season to throw a touchdown pass. Weinke also fumbled once as he and the Noles failed to show up for the big game
11 QB Eric Crouch (2001 Winner, Nebraska) vs Miami in the 2002 National Championship Game
Now to be fair, if Crouch had been a running back, his performance would not have been as bad in this game (he played in an option offense). Crouch rushed for 114 yards on 22 carries in the 2002 Rose Bowl vs the Miami Hurricanes. But as a QB, those rushing statistics did not matter as the Cornhuskers QB's overall performance was mediocre in a crushing 37-14 defeat to the number one Hurricanes.
Crouch led Nebraska's option offense to a tee during his Heisman campaign in 2001, rushing for 1,115 yards and 18 touchdowns and adding 1,510 yards through the air and seven touchdowns. Crouch edged out Florida QB Rex Grossman to become Nebraska's third recipient of the award.
10 QB Sam Bradford (2008 Winner, Oklahoma) vs Florida in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game
In 2008, Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford became the second ever sophomore to win the Heisman trophy (Tim Tebow, 2007), building off a sensational freshman campaign the previous year. Bradford's TD production jumped from 36 as a freshman to 50, while keeping his INTs down to only 8, the same as the previous year. Bradford beat out Texas QB Colt McCoy and returning winner Tebow to become the fifth Sooner to win the coveted award. In winning the award, a rare match up was set between Heisman winning QBs as the Sooners would take on the Florida Gators and Tim Tebow in the National Title Game.
Bradford was average at best in the game, throwing for two touchdowns against two interceptions. Tebow also threw the same amount of TDs to INTs, but it was his running ability and play-making ability in the 4th quarter that eventually took down Bradford and the Sooners, 24-14.
9 RB Reggie Bush (2005 Winner, USC) vs Texas in the 2006 BCS National Championship Game
The multi-threat RB for the USC Trojans, Reggie Bush, won the 2005 Heisman trophy in a landslide. He showed his versatility that made him a legend at Southern Cal in the title game, but was overshadowed by the player who finished second to him in the Heisman voting, Texas QB Vince Young. Bush did a little of everything as he ran for 82 yards, gained 95 yards through the air, and racked up 102 yards on returns but his effort (and lateral/fumble) didn't stop Texas from taking the game 41-38. Bush was also overshadowed by backfield mate Lendale White who ran for 124 yards and three touchdowns.
Bush, as every college football fan knows, has since been forced to forfeit his trophy after he was found to have received gifts from an agent during his time at Southern Cal.
8 QB Robert Griffin III (2011 Winner, Baylor) vs Washington in the 2012 Alamo Bowl
Griffin turned in a solid performance in the 2011 Alamo Bowl after he became the first player in Baylor Bears history to win the Heisman Trophy in 2011. Griffin passed for 295 yards and accounted for two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) as the Bears won a shootout over the Huskies, by a score of 67-56. Griffin was only able to give a small sample of what he had done his entire Heisman season, partly due to the 200 yards rushing and five touchdowns scored by Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway. But nonetheless Griffin finished his career at Baylor a winner.
7 QB Carson Palmer (2002 Winner, USC) vs Iowa In The 2003 Orange Bowl
After unimpressive sophomore and junior seasons, Carson Palmer's senior season gave Southern Cal some great quarterback plau. Palmer passed for 3,942 yards and 33 touchdowns to become the fifth USC Trojan to win he Heisman Trophy. Palmer was able to cap off his strong senior season with a win in the Orange Bowl over the University of Iowa, by a score of 38-17. Palmer turned in a very solid performance, passing for 303 yards and a touchdown. It was a great way for Palmer to end his Heisman season and his USC career, before eventually becoming the 1st overall pick in the 2003 Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
6 RB Mark Ingram (2009 Winner, Alabama) vs Texas in the 2010 National Championship Game
Mark Ingram capped off the first ever Heisman season by member of the Crimson Tide by being named Offensive MVP in the 2010 National Championship game. Ingram ran for 116 yards on 22 carries against the Longhorns, carrying his team to a 37-21 victory.
Ingram won the Heisman as a sophomore, setting the Crimson Tide rushing record with 1.658 yards and 17 touchdowns, while scoring three times on 32 receptions for 334 yards.
6. QB Tim Tebow (2007 Winner, Florida) vs Michigan in the 2008 Capital One Bowl
To an outsider looking in with no knowledge of this game, seeing four touchdowns on Tebow's stat line would make one wonder why he isn't higher on the list. The 2008 Capitol One Bowl vs the Michigan Wolverines was probably Tebow's worst game of the season and it came in a 41-35 loss. That show's just how good of a season the sophomore quarterback had. Tebow went 17 of 33 for 154 yards and three touchdowns, while adding one more on the ground with 57 yards rushing. Tebow could not put the Gators on his back long enough to secure a win against a team playing for its coach in his last game (Lloyd Carr) and a defense over-matched by the combination of Michigan QB Chad Henne and RB Mike Hart.
5 QB Cam Newton (2010 Winner, Auburn) vs Oregon in the 2011 National Championship Game
Cam Newton was the definition of clutch in leading the Auburn Tigers to a National Championship in thrilling fashion. Newton went 20 of 34 for 265 yards and two touchdowns and added 64 yards on the ground as the Tigers defeated the Ducks on a last second field goal. It was a solid performance from the Heisman trophy winner who suffered through back pain throughout the entire game, but would not let it stop him from claiming the crystal football.
Newton won the 2010 Heisman trophy after a season that saw him set school records for passing and rushing totals. Newton passed for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns while running for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns.
4 QB Jameis Winston (2013 Winner, Florida State) vs Auburn in the 2014 National Championship Game
The poise that Seminoles' redshirt freshman Jameis Winston showed when leading his team on an eventual go-ahead game winning touchdown drive in the National Championship game was not that of most athletes at 19 years old. Down 31-27 with 1:19 left to play, Winston drove the Noles 80 yards, culminating with a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left to lift Florida State over Auburn 34-31. Winston went 20 of 35 for 237 yards and two touchdowns and FSU finished the season undefeated.
During his Heisman campaign, Winston threw for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns.
3 QB Marcus Mariota (2014 Winner, Oregon) vs Florida State in the 2015 Rose Bowl
Marcus Mariota led his Oregon Ducks into the first-ever College Football Playoff game vs the Florida State Seminoles and did so in impressive fashion. In a rare match-up of Heisman winning QBs, Mariota was able to out-duel counterpart Jameis Winston, leading the Ducks to a 59-20 win in the Rose Bowl. Mariota was gifted plenty of opportunities to score by the Noles and he did not disappoint in accounting for three touchdowns. Mariota finished the game 26 of 36 for 338 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score on 62 yards rushing.
Mariota became the first player in the school's history to win the Heisman Trophy after a stellar season for the Ducks. Turning in his finest season, the junior QB passed for 4,454yards and 42 touchdowns to just four interceptions and added 770 rushing yards and fifteen scores on the ground to become the 80th winner of the prestigious award.
2 QB Johnny Manziel (2012 Winner, Texas A&M) vs Oklahoma in the 2013 Cotton Bowl
Johnny Football took the nation by storm in 2012, becoming the first ever freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. He left the nation wanting more after his performance in the 2012 Cotton Bowl vs the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners experienced just what the much-hyped "Manziel Mania" was, as the quarterback threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 229 yards rushing and two rushing scores. Manziel put on a full display for the nation to see, just in case anyone was wondering why he was the first ever freshman to win the award.
He finished the season with 3,706 passing yards and 26 touchdown passes and ran for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns.
1 QB Matt Leinart (2004 Winner, USC) vs Oklahoma in the 2005 National Championship Game
Matt Leinart's performance in the 2005 Orange Bowl was nothing short of spectacular, as he led the USC Trojans to a dominating 55-19 win over the Oklahoma Sooners to claim the National Championship. Leinart passed for 332 yards and five touchdowns, as he and the Trojans had the game won by halftime. Leinart's five TD passes, at the time, was an Orange Bowl record.
Leinart became the sixth USC Trojan to win the Heisman in 2004. Leinart finished the season with 33 touchdown passes to just 6 interceptions, throwing for 3,322 yards with a 65.3 completion percentage. A spectacular season in a long list of prolific quarterbacking seasons at USC since the new millennium.