To make it to New York as a Heisman finalist, you have to have a great season.
That not only means producing lots of yards and touchdowns, it also means playing well in big games and coming through for your team in key moments.
Each of the 2018 Heisman finalists did just that. Here’s a breakdown of what got them invited to the Heisman ceremony and how those accomplishments compare to previous Heisman winners:
The 6-3, 220-pound third-year sophomore led Ohio State to a 12-1 record, the Big Ten title and a berth in the Rose Bowl against Washington. He led the nation in passing yards (4,580) and touchdowns (47) — both Big Ten records — and was second in yards per game (352). His passer rating of 175.77 was fourth nationally. He was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week six times, more than any player in a single season. He topped 300 yards passing in nine games and went over 400 yards five times. His 51 touchdowns running and passing tied with Kyle Murray as tops in the country. His consistent brilliance earned him a return trip to New York as a finalist, the first Buckeye to be named a finalist since Troy Smith won the Heisman in 2006.
If he were to win the Heisman, his total offense yardage of 4,702 yards would be the third-best total in Heisman history (Ty Detmer had 5,022 yards in 1990). His passing yardage of 4,580 would be third best. His 51 total touchdowns would be tied with Lamar Jackson for the third-best in Heisman history, while his 47 touchdown passes would be the second-most ever to Sam Bradford’s 48. His win would give Ohio State a record eight Heisman Trophies.
Passing Stats – 4,580 yards, 47 TDs, 8 INTs, 70.2%, 175.77 rating.
Rushing Stats – 1,22 yards, 4 TDs
Total Offense – 4,702 yards, 51 touchdowns, 8.26 yards per play.
Highlights of Haskins
The 5-10, 195-pound fourth-year junior led Oklahoma to a 12-1 record, the Big 12 championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff against Alabama. Murray, who spent the last couple seasons as a backup to 2017 Heisman winner Baker Mayfield after transferring from Texas A&M, produced a season that was arguably better than Mayfield’s. In fact, his passer rating of 205.72 tops Mayfield’s as the best in FBS history. Murray led the nation in yards per pass attempt (11.9), and was second nationally in completion percentage (70.9) and touchdown passes (40). His 51 total touchdowns tied Dwayne Haskins for the nation’s lead. Perhaps his most impressive game came against Baylor, when he completed 17 of 21 passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns, to go with an amazing passer rating of 348.03. This model of efficiency had eight games with a passer rating of at least 200. In addition to his passing numbers, he also added 892 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
If Murray wins the Heisman, his passer rating of 205.72 would be the best in Heisman history. His 4,945 yards of total offense would be second to Ty Detmer’s 5,022. His yards per play of 10.68 would surpass Mayfield’s 10.24 for best all time. His 51 total touchdowns would tie him with Lamar Jackson for third most on the Heisman chart. His 4,053 passing yards would be sixth-highest in Heisman history. More impressively, he would be the first player to take over for a departing Heisman winner and win the Heisman that same season. He would also be the seventh Sooner to win the Heisman, which would tie Oklahoma with Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Passing Stats – 4,053 yards, 40 TDs, 7 INTs, 70.9%, 205.72 rating.
Rushing Stats – 892 yards, 11 TDs
Total Offense – 4,945 yards, 51 touchdowns, 10.68 yards per play.
Murray’s Season Highlights
Tagovailoa, a true sophomore, led Alabama to a 13-0 record, the SEC title and a berth in the College Football Playoff against Oklahoma. Along the way, he produced one of the finest seasons by a passer in FBS history. Tagovailoa completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,353 yards with 37 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. His 37 touchdowns is an Alabama record, topping the 30 set by Heisman runner up AJ McCarron. His passer rating of 202.30 was second nationally to Murray and his 37 touchdown passes was tied for third. Tagovailoa produced these numbers despite sitting out most of the fourth quarters this season as the Crimson Tide beat teams by an average score of 48 to 15. He did not throw an interception until game nine. Perhaps his most impressive performance came against Arkansas, when he completed 10 of 13 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns, resulting in a remarkable passer rating of 394. 27. He also threw for 324 yards and tallied six total touchdowns against Auburn.
If Tagovailoa wins, his yards per play of 10.36 would be best in Heisman history, while his passer rating of 202.30 would be second best. His 42 total touchdowns would tie him for 11th-best on the Heisman list. He would become Alabama’s third Heisman winner — all coming since 2009 — and first quarterback winner.
Passing Stats – 3,353 yards passing, 37 TDs, 4 INTS, 67.7%, 202.30 rating.
Rushing Stats – 190 yards, 5 TDs.
Total Offense – 3,542 yards, 42 touchdowns, 10.36yards per play.