Sunday, December 09, 2001

Huskers: Heisman, and Roses?

Crouch wins trophy; Vols upset by LSU

Enquirer news services

Eric Crouch poses with the trophy.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        NEW YORK — What a day for the University of Nebraska. First, quarterback Eric Crouch won the 2001 Heisman Trophy by beating out five other quarterbacks. Then, some 3 1/2 hours later, the Cornhuskers were back in the national title picture following No.21 Louisiana State's 31-20 upset of No.2 Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

        Tennessee was ranked second in the BCS entering the game and would have clinched a Rose Bowl berth with a victory. But LSU's win muddled the championship picture again.

        Nebraska, having been ranked third in the BCS, would appear to earn the berth.

        Colorado, which handed Nebraska its only loss, 62-36 on Nov.26, was fourth in the BCS and once-beaten Oregon was fifth.

        The final standings will be announced today.

        Crouch edged Florida's Rex Grossman by just 62 points, the fourth-closest vote in the award's 67-year history. Bo Jackson beat Chuck Long by 45 points in 1985, Ernie Davis won by 53 points in 1961 and Johnny Lattner had a 56-point margin of victory in 1953.

        “Down to the minute, this has been the most anticipated thing in my life,” said Crouch, a senior who led te Cornhuskers to an 11-1 record this season.

        Crouch received 162 first-place votes and 770 points, while Grossman, who was attempting to become the first sophomore to win the Heisman, had 137 first-place votes and 708 points.

        Miami's Ken Dorsey was third with 109 first-place votes and 638 points, followed by Oregon's Joey Harrington with 364 points.

        “Any one of these guys would be deserving of this award,” said Crouch, who passed for 1,510 yards and ran for 1,115 this season. “It's truly an honor to be up here.”

        Fresno State's David Carr was fifth in balloting with 280 points, and Indiana's Antwaan Randle El was sixth with 267.

        Quarterbacks Top Voting

        It's the first time the award's top six vote-getters have been quarterbacks.

        Only twice before had as many as three quarterbacks finished atop the voting, most recently last year, when Florida State's Chris Weinke beat Oklahoma's Josh Heupel and Purdue's Drew Brees for the award. In 1970, Stanford's Jim Plunkett won over Notre Dame's Joe Theismann and Mississippi's Archie Manning.

        Crouch had more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (7) this season but became just the 13th player in Division I-A history to have 1,000 or more yards rushing and 1,000 yards passing in the same season.

        Crouch ran for 18 touchdowns to increase his career total to 59, an NCAA record for quarterbacks.

        “We literally put the ball in his hands to win football games and he's responded,” Nebraska coach Frank Solich said.

        Crouch joins Mike Rozier (1983) and Johnny Rogers (1972) as Nebraska's Heisman winners. He's the 24th quarterback and the 54th senior to win the Heisman.

        Grossman, who threw for 3,896 yards and 34 touchdowns for Florida, is just the fifth sophomore to finish second in the Heisman voting. He joins Notre Dame's Angelo Bertelli in 1941, Army's Glenn Davis in 1944, Georgia's Herschel Walker in 1980 and San Diego State's Marshall Faulk in 1992. Faulk was the only one who didn't eventually win the award.


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