“And the winner of the 2014 Heisman Trophy is Marcus Mariota, quarterback, University of Oregon.”
This line echoed through the halls of New York City’s Radio City Music Hall as many on-lookers cheered in celebration of the junior’s outstanding season. Mariota made history by becoming not only the Ducks first ever winner, but also the first ever-Hawaiian native to win the nation’s most prestigious award.
The 80th Heisman Trophy race saw one of the most dominating victories in recent history, Mariota recording the second-largest winning margin since Troy Smith’s win in 2006. Mariota received 788 of the possible 894 first place points totaling 90.9 percent of the overall points.
Mariota reflected on his season during the award’s speech.
“It’s hard not to be emotional,” Mariota said. “It’s been a long journey. For all those people who helped me out, and to support me and believe in me, it just means the world. My emotions got the best of me. … I’m just so grateful. I can’t emphasize it enough. I’m just so thankful for so many people. This isn’t a one-person deal. It’s a lot of people who put their heart and their hard work into it.”
Over the last three seasons, many considered Mariota’s memorable night as a long time coming, after recording 35 wins as a starter. This season, however, was his finest of all, completing 68.3 percent of his passes while compiling 38 touchdowns passes to only two interceptions. Not only was Mariota dynamic through the air, but he also ran for an additional 14 scores.
Standing at 6’4’’, Mariota has all the tools to become an elite NFL quarterback, however, he will first attempt to maneuver the Ducks through the College Football Playoff.
Finishing a distant second place was Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. Like Mariota, Gordon has had a record-breaking year as well, rushing for 408 yards in a game earlier this season. Still, the Badgers didn’t defeat enough high-quality opponents – including their pitiful performance against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, and Gordon’s candidacy was never a true threat for the Trophy. Wrapping up the top three was Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper, who burst onto the scene during the Crimson Tide’s late season push.
Cooper and Gordon are near the top of the mock draft charts as well for their respective positions.
Despite winning the award, Mariota has always been a silent display of excellence on the field and will now be thrust into the spotlight as the Duck’s aim for the National Championship. Many fans wonder if Mariota will be able to handle the title of being named a Heisman Trophy winner.
*Section Photo credit to Brian Bahr, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Brian Davies, Register-Guard