Oregon's Marcus Mariota wins 2014 Heisman Trophy

In one of the most anti-climactic Heisman announcements in recent memory, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was awarded the trophy Saturday night.


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The other finalists were Wisconsin tailback Melvin Gordon -- who reached the 2,000-yard plateau faster than any FBS player in history -- and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Mariota had 2,534 points. Gordon finished second with 1,250 and Cooper third with 1,023. The rest of the top 10: TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin was fourth, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett fifth, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston sixth, Indiana running back Tevin Coleman seventh, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott eighth, Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright ninth and Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty 10th.

An emotional Mariota thanked his family, teammates, coaches and home state of Hawaii in his acceptance speech. Mariota, who is Polynesian, also told Polynesian children to use his Heisman win as motivation and to "strive for greatness."


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USC running back O.J. Simpson, who won the award in 1968, holds the record for overall point margin (1,800 votes over Purdue running back Leroy Keyes). Simpson also holds the record for most first-place votes, with 855. But there were more voters then than there are now, so the sheer number of points and first-place votes aren't comparable.

Perhaps the best way to measure domination is the highest percentage of possible points. USC running back Reggie Bush in '05 holds the record at 91.8. Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith (2006) is second at 91.6 and Mariota now is third (90.9).

Bush was named on 95.8 percent of all the ballots, which is the most ever; Mariota is second at 95.2 percent and Smith third at 94.8 percent.

Mariota's 778 first-place votes are third-most all time, behind Simpson and Smith (801).

The announcement capped off a week in which Mariota, a fourth-year junior from Honolulu, won a lot of hardware. He previously was announced as the winner of the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards, both of which go to the nation's top player, and the Davey O'Brien Award, which goes to the top quarterback. Interestingly, Mariota is just the second player to wear No. 8 to win the Heisman. The first? O'Brien, when he played for TCU in 1938.

Mariota is the first player from Oregon to win the award; Oregon State quarterback Terry Baker won in 1962. Mariota also is the first Pac-12 player to win the award since USC running back Reggie Bush in 2005 (the league was called the Pac-10 then, and Bush later returned the trophy because of NCAA violations). Overall, Mariota is the 11th player from a school that was in the Pac-8/10 when he won and the first such player not from USC since Stanford's Jim Plunkett in 1970.

Mariota has accounted for 53 touchdowns this season (38 passing, 14 rushing, one receiving), which is more than 94 teams scored during the 2014 campaign. He has thrown for 3,773 yards and 38 touchdowns, and has added 669 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. He has accounted for at least four TDs in 10 games this season and at least five touchdowns four times. He will lead the Ducks in the Rose Bowl against Florida State on Jan. 1 in a playoff semifinal. That game will match the past two Heisman winners, as FSU is quarterbacked by Jameis Winston.

Mariota is the fifth consecutive quarterback to win the award, and it's the 13th time in 15 seasons that a quarterback has won the trophy. The only non-quarterbacks in that span were running backs Mark Ingram of Alabama in 2009 and Bush.

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Mariota -- who has said he will officially decide whether to turn pro after the Ducks' season ends -- is just the third Maxwell winner in the past 11 seasons to also win the Heisman, joining Cam Newton in 2010 and Tim Tebow in 2007.

Mariota has thrown at least two TD passes in every game this season; in addition, he has tossed at least three TD passes seven times and at least four three times. He is second nationally in TD passes, leads the nation in quarterback rating and is fifth in total offense at 341.7 yards per game. Mariota is one of 100 players with at least 2,000 yards of total offense per game, and he leads in per-play average at 9.1 yards (the next-highest is 8.55, and there are just five others averaging at least 8.0). Mariota also has had 10 games with at least 300 yards of total offense.

His Heisman also serves as a sort of "career achievement" award: He is the only player in FBS history to have thrown at least 30 TD passes as a freshman, sophomore and junior, and his career TD-to-interception ratio is an incredible 99-to-12.


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Cooper is just the second receiver to finish in the top three of the voting since Michigan's Desmond Howard won the award in 1991. The other is Pitt's Larry Fitzgerald, who finished second to Oklahoma's Jason White in 2003. Gordon is the second Wisconsin tailback to finish in the top four in the past four years; Montee Ball was fourth in 2011, when Baylor's Robert Griffin III won.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.