Week 2 Match-Ups Remind Us Of Big Heisman Moments

Mark Ingram - Alabama RB Heisman

Mark Ingram in the BCS National Championship against Texas, January 7, 2010.

After an exciting start to the college football season, Week 2 features some big-time match-ups — some with distinct Heisman history — that makes it a promising second course. 

But this is meal that has about 20 weekly courses through January, so pace yourself. Keep your portions modest, limit yourself to no more than six or seven games per weekend.

The biggest entree, err, match-up on the docket this week features No. 3 Alabama hosting No. 11 Texas in the second straight game between the traditional powers.

A year ago, 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young led a come back in Austin for a 20-19 Crimson Tide win. Trailing 19-17 with 2:26 left, Young led Alabama on a nine-play, 61-yard field goal drive for the win, completing five passes along the way for 41 yards to go with a 20-yard run.

The previous game in the series saw the teams meet in the 2010 BCS Championship game, where 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram helped Alabama win its first national title since 1992, 37-21.

Ingram had won Alabama’s first Heisman thanks to a regular season that saw 1,542 yards and 15 touchdowns as the Tide went 13-0. He did nothing to tarnish that performance, rushing for another 116 yards in the BCS title game with two scores, one of them a 1-yard run late in the game that gave Alabama a two-score lead.

Colorado, under first-year coach Deion Sanders, hosts Nebraska on Saturday, re-igniting the former Big 8 rivalry.  1994 Heisman winner Rashaan Salaam was on the wrong side of the score in Colorado’s only loss his winning season, though he did run for 134 yards and a touchdown.

Nebraska’s first Heisman winner, Johnny Rodgers, caught four passes for 79 yards and a score and also ran one in in a 33-10 win at No. 14 Colorado in 1972.

Mike Rozier ran for 155 yards and four TDs in a blowout victory over Colorado in 1983 — which was among his lowest totals that season. Colorado spoiled 2001 Heisman winner Eric Crouch and Nebraska’s unbeaten campaign, beating the Huskers in the regular season finale. Crouch did all he could, posting a season-best 360 all-purpose yards.

And then there’s the No. 6 USC-Stanford content, an evening affair — kind of like a dessert course. It’s renewing a series that has seen many Heisman moments.

Most recently, reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams led USC to a 41-28 win at Stanford in 2022, throwing for 341 yards and four touchdowns.

In 1970, Stanford QB Jim Plunkett helped the Cardinal snap its losing string to the Trojans while also putting an end to Troy’s 25-game regular-season unbeaten streak. Stanford came into the contest at 4-1, fresh off a loss the previous week to Purdue. Through five games, Plunkett had over 1,000 passing yards.

The Trojans came to Palo Alto at 3-0-1, its last regular season loss was a 3-0 decision at Oregon State back in 1967. But that ended as Plunkett led Stanford to a 24-14 win over USC, throwing for 275 yards on 19-of-31 passings and a touchdown. Beating USC truly jumpstarted his Heisman credentials.

Stanford had USC on the ropes again in 2004, looking to derail USC’s early national title hopes. The Trojans trailed 28-17 at the half, but 2004 Heisman winner Matt Leinart led Troy to two USC second-half scores, including his one-yard scoring run in the third quarter, as the Trojans won 31-28. Leinart finished with 284 yards on 23-of-30 passing with one TD pass to go with his scoring run. 

Carson Palmer, the 2002 winner, threw for 317 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-17 win at Stanford in November that year as his Heisman campaign kicked into high gear. Palmer through for at least four touchdowns in five of his final six games that year.

Marcus Allen also had four TDs against Stanford, albeit on the ground, to go with 153 yards in his Heisman season of 1981. Charles White ran for 221 yards and two scores in a 21-21 tie against Stanford in 1979 while Mike Garrett also eclipsed 200 yards — 205 to be exact – in an early-season win during his 1965 Heisman season. O.J. Simpson also had over 200 yards against Stanford, going for 220 on 47 carries in 1968.