Haskins finishes third in Heisman


Wire Reports - Associated Press



Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray speaks after winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in New York. (Todd J. Van Emst/Heisman Trophy Trust via AP, Pool)

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray speaks after winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in New York. (Todd J. Van Emst/Heisman Trophy Trust via AP, Pool)


Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray holds the Hesiman Trophy after winning the award Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)


Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray speaks after winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in New York. (Todd J. Van Emst/Heisman Trophy Trust via AP, Pool)


NEW YORK (AP) — Kyler Murray waited three years to fulfill the five-star potential he brought to college football. With one shot to deliver, Murray replaced a Heisman Trophy winner by becoming a Heisman Trophy winner.

The Oklahoma quarterback won college football’s most prestigious individual award Saturday night (Dec. 8), beating out Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and setting up a College Football Playoff matchup of Heisman winner versus runner-up.

“This is crazy,” Murray said in his acceptance speech. “This is an honor, something that I’ll never forget. Something that I’ll always cherish for the rest of my life.”

The fourth-ranked Sooners play the top-ranked Crimson Tide in the Orange Bowl semifinal Dec. 29 in the seventh bowl matchup of Heisman winner and runner-up, and first since second-place finisher Vince Young and Texas beat Reggie Bush and Southern California in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

This season, Murray stepped into the starting job at Oklahoma held by last year’s Heisman winner and first overall NFL draft pick, Baker Mayfield. Oklahoma is the first school with Heisman-winning quarterbacks in consecutive seasons and the fifth overall with winners in back-to-back years. Mayfield was also a finalist in 2016.

“Luckily, we’ve been here three years in a row,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “We’re going to have to start paying taxes here.”

Unlike most seasons, the winner was no foregone conclusion, but Murray (517 first-place votes and 2,167 points) ended up with a fairly comfortable margin of 296 points over Tagovailoa. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the other finalist, was a distant third with 783 points. Three more quarterbacks followed: Will Grier of West Virginia, Gardner Minshew II of Washington State and McKenzie Milton of Central Florida.

Murray appeared on 92 percent of the Heisman ballots, third most all time. Tagovailoa’s 1,871 points was the most for a runner-up in the 84-year history of the Heisman.

Murray, a pinpoint passer and explosive runner, surpassed the production of Mayfield. Murray has averaged 380 yards of offense per game and accounted for 51 touchdowns in leading the Sooners to the Big 12 title and the playoff. Mayfield averaged 353 yards of offense and accounted for 49 touchdowns as Oklahoma won the conference and lost a playoff semifinal to Georgia.

“This didn’t just happen,” Murray said later during a news conference. “I’ve put so much time and effort into this game.”

Murray said he was in constant contact with Mayfield this week.

“It was just casual, bro to bro. He just told me to enjoy it. Have fun with it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” Murray said.

Tagovailoa was the Heisman front-runner for most of the season, but Murray surged late as the Sooners turned to him and the rest of their offense to bail out a leaky defense down the stretch. Meanwhile, Tagovailoa picked a bad time to have his worst game of the season, throwing two interceptions in the Southeastern Conference championship game against Georgia and leaving early with a sprained ankle.

Murray’s first season as a starting quarterback in college is set up to also be his last. The junior already signed a $4.66 million contract with the Oakland Athletic after he was selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft in June. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, Murray is small for an NFL quarterback but talented enough to be an intriguing prospect if he ever decided to give it a try.

For the next month, though, Murray is focused on capping his college career with a national championship. He took a circuitous route to get to a place most always expected him to be.

Playing for Texas powerhouse Allen High School, just outside of Dallas, Murray won three straight state championships at the state’s highest level and his team went 42-0 with him starting.

“Kyler’s journey, in particular, it’s kind of the stuff of legends,” Riley said. “But with all the high points there’s been a lot of tough moments.”

Murray signed with Texas A&M in 2015 but transferred after one tumultuous season.

At Oklahoma, the plan was to sit out the 2016 season to fulfil NCAA transfer rules and then step in for Mayfield in 2017. But Mayfield was granted an extra year of eligibility and returned for 2017, relegating Murray to backing up the best quarterback in the country.

This season, as the focal point of Riley’s creative offense, Murray developed into the dominant player he had seemed destined to become while at Allen.

“I trusted the process,” Murray said.

He fought back tears while thanking Riley during his speech.

“You pushed me harder than any coach ever has and I just want to say thank you for believing in me and allowing me to be the quarterback of this team. The leader of this team,” Murray said.

Murray is the fourth Oklahoma quarterback since 2003 to win the Heisman, joining Jason White, Sam Bradford and Mayfield, and the 16th quarterback overall to win the award in the last 19 years.

Oklahoma’s seventh Heisman matches Ohio State, Southern California and Notre Dame for the most by any school. That means another statue in Heisman Park in Norman, next to Memorial Stadium.

“I just hope they put the bandana on me,” Murray said. “I hope they get the swag right.”

Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray won The Associated Press college football Player of the Year on Thursday (Dec. 6), becoming the second straight Sooners quarterback and fifth overall to win the award since it was established in 1998.

Murray beat out Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on 56 ballots submitted by AP college football poll voters and announced Thursday. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. was third.

“It’s humbling and an honor to be named AP Player of the Year, to be mentioned in the same realm as a lot of great players, a lot of hall of famers,” Murray said. “It’s a special deal for me and hopefully I can continue to make my family and teammates proud.”

Murray received 39 first-place votes and a total of 145 points. Tagovailoa received 13 first-place votes (117 points) and Haskins was listed first on four ballots (55 points).

Murray added the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback Thursday night at ESPN’s College Football Award Show at the Hall of Fame in Atlanta. Tagovailoa won two player of the year awards, taking the Walter Camp and Maxwell awards.

Murray and Tagovailoa will now head to New York City as Heisman trophy finalists, with the winner more uncertain than usual. Haskins also is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy , which will be presented Saturday night in New York.

The last five Walter Camp winners won the Heisman Trophy and the last four Maxwell winners have won the Heisman. Only twice since 2002 has the AP Player of the Year not won the Heisman, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh in 2009 and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey in 2015.

Murray and Tagovailoa will then face each other in the College Football Playoff, when No. 1 Alabama plays No. 4 Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl semifinal on Dec. 29.

The rest of the college football award winners Thursday night were:

— Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen won the Chuck Bednarik award as the nation’s top defensive player.

— Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s top interior lineman.

— Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.

— Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor won the Doak Walker as the nation’s best running.

— Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver.

— Syracuse kicker Andre Szmyt won the Lou Groza Award.

— Texas A&M punter Braden Mann won the Ray Guy Award.

Murray joins Baker Mayfield (2017), Josh Heupel (2000), Jason White (2003) and Sam Bradford (2008) as previous AP Player of the Year winners from Oklahoma. No other school has had more than two AP Player of the Year winners.

Murray, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound junior from Allen, Texas, won the award in his final year as a college athlete. The Oakland Athletics took Murray with the ninth pick in the Major League Baseball draft in June. Murray, who batted .296 with 10 home runs and 13 doubles in 50 games as the Sooners’ center fielder, signed for nearly $5 million, with the A’s agreeing to let him return to school and play football this season .

Murray was Mayfield’s backup last season and won the starter’s job in preseason practice. He went on to become one of three 4,000-yard passers in the nation and threw for 40 touchdowns. He also has rushed for 892 yards and 11 TDs.

Murray leads the country in total offense (4,945 yards), points responsible for (306) and passing efficiency (205.7).

Murray started his career at Texas A&M, where his father, Kevin Murray, set season and career passing records as the Aggies’ quarterback in the mid-1980s. Kyler Murray transferred to Oklahoma after his freshman season, sat out a season per transfer rules and then backed up Mayfield.

“It’s been a long journey with a lot of waiting, but I think it’s all been worth it,” Murray said. “All the hard work with my teammates has really paid off.”

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray speaks after winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in New York. (Todd J. Van Emst/Heisman Trophy Trust via AP, Pool)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/12/web1_121925804-01300e94d0f2453ba55043c921bf2bbe.jpgOklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray speaks after winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in New York. (Todd J. Van Emst/Heisman Trophy Trust via AP, Pool)

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray holds the Hesiman Trophy after winning the award Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/12/web1_121925804-68266b6fe9ba4c5186ff801e5f1ad4a3.jpgOklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray holds the Hesiman Trophy after winning the award Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray speaks after winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in New York. (Todd J. Van Emst/Heisman Trophy Trust via AP, Pool)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/12/web1_121925804-2185e8304d034a8d886ed5da7e172895.jpgOklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray speaks after winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 in New York. (Todd J. Van Emst/Heisman Trophy Trust via AP, Pool)

Wire Reports

Associated Press

Stories written by Ralph D. Russo and Eric Olson. More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Stories written by Ralph D. Russo and Eric Olson. More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25