John Hoover

John E. Hoover: In the Peach Bowl, Jalen Hurts will draw motivation from Joe Burrow’s Heisman triumph

John E. Hoover: In the Peach Bowl, Jalen Hurts will draw motivation from Joe Burrow’s Heisman triumph

NCAA college football players and Heisman Trophy finalists, from left, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young pose for a photo with the Heisman Trophy, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason Szenes)

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow won the 85th Heisman Trophy as expected on Saturday night during the annual Heisman ceremony in Times Square.

Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts finished second in this year’s voting ahead of Ohio State QB Justin Fields and Buckeyes defensive end Chase Young.

Hurts and Burrow meet on Dec. 28 in the Peach Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal. It’s not as though Hurts and the Sooners require any additional motivation to drive him to beat the Tigers, but now they have some.

NCAA college football player, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow poses for a photo after winning the Heisman Trophy, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason Szenes)

Hurts was hoping to become the Sooners’ third consecutive Heisman winner behind Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018. OU was already the first school to produce back-to-back Heisman-winning  quarterbacks.

Instead, Burrow shattered multiple Heisman record for voting margin (see charts below), including largest margin of victory (1,846 points, beating O.J. Simpson’s 1968 mark of 1,750), highest percentage of first-place votes (90.7 percent, beating Troy Smith’s 2006 mark of 86.7 percent), highest percentage of possible points (93.8 percent, beating Smith’s record of 91.6 percent) and percentage named on all ballots (95.5 percent, beating Marcus Mariota’s 2014 record of 95.2 percent).

Heisman votes are awarded 3 points for a first-place vote, 2 points for second and one point for third.

Burrow received 841 first-place votes and finished with 2,608 points, while Hurts got only 12 first-place votes and narrowly edged out Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, 762 points to 747. Fields received the second-most first-place votes with 20.

Hurts finished third in first-place votes, second in second-place votes, but he received by far the most third-place votes, which provided the necessary margin to finish ahead of Fields.

Hurts became the Sooners’ sixth Heisman runner-up.

Burrow and Hurts share the national lead for most total touchdowns with 51. Burrow has 48 passing and three rushing while Hurts has 32 passing, 18 rushing and one receiving.

Burrow leads college football with a .779 completion percentage and ranks second nationally in passer efficiency rating (.779), passing yards (4,715) and total offense (384.9 yards per game).

Hurts leads the nation in yards per completion (16.37) and yards per attempt (11.76) and is third nationally in total offense (3,634 passing, 1,255 rushing) and passer efficiency (200.3) and ranks fourth in completion percentage (.718).

Fields has thrown for 2,953 yards and has accounted for 50 touchdowns, including 10 rushing. He also set an all-time TD-INT ratio record this season with 40 touchdown passes and just one interception.

Young leads the nation with 16 ½ quarterback sacks despite missing two games while serving an NCAA suspension.

All three Heisman finalist QBs were transfers. Burrow transferred to LSU (13-0) from Ohio State, Hurts transferred to OU (12-1) from Alabama, and Fields transferred to Ohio State (13-0) from Georgia.

* * * 

Here is how I voted on this year’s Heisman ballot:

  1.       Burrow
  2.       Hurts
  3.       Fields

* * * 

And here’s how I assessed the top candidates in this year’s field (listed by how I ranked them after the championship games):

  • Joe Burrow, LSU: Burrow’s raw numbers, big play results, analytics, efficiency and undefeated season made him a no-brainer. His first season in Baton Rouge was a largely pedestrian season for Burrow, but the addition of Broyles Award winner Joe Brady to the coaching staff opened up the LSU offense and allowed him to have one of the best seasons in FBS history.
  • Jalen Hurts, OU: Hurts and Burrow were virtually neck and neck on my season-long legal pad midway through October, but Hurts’ turnover troubles in November took him down a peg. Like Oklahoma’s CFP opponents, I kept waiting for Burrow to stumble down the stretch and open the door for Hurts, but he never did.
  • Justin Fields, Ohio State: Fields rocketed up my list toward the end of the season because he delivered big performances against tough teams. Fields’ September and October were fine, but for the most part he put up routine numbers against mediocre teams. His “Heisman moment” play came against Michigan, when he came off the bench from a knee injury to throw a clinching TD pass.
  • J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State: Dobbins ran for 1,829 yards and scored 22 touchdowns this season and surpassed 150 yards in a game seven times. Some of his best work came against the Buckeyes’ best competition (193 against Indiana, 172 against Michigan State, 163 against Wisconsin, 157 against Penn State, 211 against Michigan and 172 against Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game).
  • Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State: Hubbard was the best running back in the country for more than two months and led the nation with 1,936 yards. But then WR Tylan Wallace got hurt, and Hubbard’s numbers withered: he averaged just 4.5 yards per carry and 110 yards per game with three touchdowns in his last three games. That’s why we don’t vote on the Heisman until all the games are over.
  • Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin: While Hubbard’s numbers faded in November, Taylor surged with 900 yards in his final five games (1,909 total) — averaging 180 yards per game and 7.3 yards per carry and scoring six touchdowns against the likes of Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State. (For the record, I’d have voted for Hubbard ahead of Taylor for any postseason awards, but the stretch run obviously matters.)
  • Trevor Lawrence, Clemson: Although Lawrence finished the season as strong as anyone — 20 TDs, no INTs, a .755 completion percentage in his final six games —  he couldn’t overcome a painfully slow start: five INTs in his first three games and eight in his first seven. He also didn’t have elite stats, partly because Clemson blew out a lousy schedule and he seldom played late or was needed to make plays.
  • Travis Etienne, Clemson: Etienne averaged 8.2 yards per carry, rushed for 1,500 yards and scored 19 touchdowns. Now imagine what he could have done if the Tigers had needed him in the second half of games.
  • Chase Young, Ohio State: I voted for Young as my national defensive player of the year, and I strongly considered him on my ballot — before he got suspended for two games by the NCAA. (He received a loan, and repaid it, to pay for his girlfriend’s travel to last year’s bowl game.) But what took Young out of the conversation for me was his game against Michigan: zero sacks, zero TFLs, zero tackles. You can’t be schemed off the field in the biggest game of the year and get my Heisman vote.


Formerly co-host of “Further Review” and “The Franchise Drive,” columnist John E. Hoover is a college football insider on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover co-hosts The Franchise “Inside OU” Podcast with Brady Trantham and Rufus Alexander, and the Locked oN Sooners podcast on the Locked oN Podcast Network. He also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his YouTube channel at, and his personal page at


2019 Heisman Trophy Voting 

Player, school 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Joe Burrow, LSU 841   41     3 2,608
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma   12 231 264    762
Justin Fields, Ohio State     6 271 187    747
Chase Young, Ohio State   20 205 173    643
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin     6   44   83    189
J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State     2   36   36    114
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson     3   25   29      88
Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State     0   11   46      68
Travis Etienne, Clemson     0     7   11      25
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama     1     4   13      24


Heisman voting records

Most First-Place Votes

These are the raw totals of the Heisman winners who garnered the most first-place votes. However, keep in mind that in some years (1968, 1976) there were more voters than in recent years.

Year Player School First-place votes
1968 O.J. Simpson USC 855
2019 Joe Burrow LSU 841
2006 Troy Smith Ohio State 801
2014 Marcus Mariota Oregon 788
1993 Charlie Ward Florida State 740
2017 Baker Mayfield Oklahoma 732
2010 Cam Newton Auburn 729
1998 Ricky Williams Texas 714
1976 Tony Dorsett Pittsburgh 701
1984 Doug Flutie Boston College 678
1986 Vinny Testaverde Miami 678
2013 Jameis Winston Florida State 668
1991 Desmond Howard Michigan 661


Most Points as a Percentage of Possible Points

Because the size of the Heisman electorate has varied over the years, a more accurate way to assess the size of a Heisman victory is to calculate the point total as a percentage of possible points available in that year.

Year Player, School Points Voters Percentage
2019 Joe Burrow, LSU 2,608 927 93.80%
2006 Troy Smith, Ohio State 2,540 924 91.63%
2014 Marcus Mariota, Oregon 2,534 929 90.92%
2017 Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma 2,398 929 86.0%
1998 Ricky Williams, Texas 2,355 921 85.23%
1993 Charlie Ward, FSU 2,310 919 83.79%
2010 Cam Newton, Auburn 2,263 925 81.55%
1968 O.J. Simpson, USC 2,903 1,200 80.64%
2013 Jameis Winston, FSU 2,205 929 79.12%
2018 Kyler Murray, Oklahoma 2,167 929 78%
1991 Desmond Howard, Michigan 2,077 917 75.50%
1976 Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh 2,357 1,048 74.97%
1999 Ron Dayne, Wisconsin 2,042 922 73.83%
2012 Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M 2,029 928 72.88%


Most Ballots Named, as a Percentage of Total Ballots

2019 Joe Burrow 841 41 3 885 927 95.5%
2006 Troy Smith 801 62 13 876 924 94.8%
2018 Kyler Murray 517 278 60 855 929 92.03%
2017 Baker Mayfield 732 87 28 847 929 91.17%
1998 Ricky Williams 714 91 31 836 921 90.8%
2012 Johnny Manziel 474 252 103 829 928 89.3%
1968 O.J. Simpson 855 128 82 1,065 1,200 88.8%
2008 Sam Bradford 300 315 196 811 926 87.6%
1967 Gary Beban 369 332 197 898 1,033 86.9%
2007 Tim Tebow 462 229 113 804 925 86.9%
1993 Charlie Ward 740 39 12 791 919 86.1%
2015 Derrick Henry 378 277 144 799 929 86.01%
2013 Jameis Winston 668 84 33 785 929 84.5%
2010 Cam Newton 729 24 28 781 925 84.4%


Largest Margin of Victory

Year Winner, School Points Runner Up, School Points Margin
2019 Joe Burrow, LSU 2,608 Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma 762 1,846
1968 O.J. Simpson, USC 2,853 Leroy Keyes, Purdue 1,103 1,750
2006 Troy Smith, Ohio State 2,540 Darren McFadden, Arkansas 878 1,662
1993 Charlie Ward, Florida State 2,310 Heath Shuler, Tennessee 688 1,622
1991 Desmond Howard, Michigan 2,077 Casey Weldon, Florida State 503 1,574
1998 Ricky Williams, Texas 2,355 Michael Bishop, Kansas State 792 1,563
1986 Vinny Testaverde, Miami 2,213 Paul Palmer, Temple 672 1,541
2013 Jameis Winston, Florida State 2,205 AJ McCarron, Alabama 704 1,501
1955 Howard Cassady, Ohio State 2,219 Jim Swink, TCU 742 1,477
1963 Roger Staubach, Navy 1,860 Billy Lothridge, Georgia Tech 504 1,356
1951 Dick Kazmaier, Princeton 1,777 Hank Lauricella, Tennessee 424 1,353


Smallest Margin of Victory

Year Winner, School Points Runner Up, School Points Margin
2009 Mark Ingram, Alabama 1,304 Toby Gerhart, Stanford 1,276 28
1985 Bo Jackson, Auburn 1,509 Chuck Long, Iowa 1,464 45
1961 Ernie Davis, Syracuse 824 Bob Ferguson, Ohio State 771 53
1953 John Lattner, Notre Dame 1,850 Paul Giel, Minnesota 1,794 56
2001 Eric Crouch, Nebraska 770 Rex Grossman, Florida 708 62
1989 Andre Ware, Houston 1,073 Anthony Thompson, Indiana 1,003 70
1956 Paul Hornung, Notre Dame 1,066 John Majors, Tennessee 994 72
1964 John Huarte, Notre Dame 1,026 Jerry Rhome, Tulsa 952 74
2000 Chris Weinke, Florida St. 1,628 Josh Heupel, Oklahoma 1,552 76
1978 Billy Sims, Oklahoma 827 Chuck Fusina, Penn State 750 77


* voting records from


John Hoover

John Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he was co-host of "Further Review" and "The Franchise Drive." Now he's The Franchise college football insider: Oklahoma's state Heisman rep, a voter in the FWAA Super 16 poll, an FWAA media access liaison, and a Big 12 writer at Sporting News and Lindy's preseason magazine. In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist and won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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