Heisman Trophy: How Past Winners Performed in Their Follow-Up Bowl Games

Stephen ShepperdContributor IDecember 5, 2012

Heisman Trophy: How Past Winners Performed in Their Follow-Up Bowl Games

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    The Heisman Trophy is college football's most prized and coveted award. Any player who is lucky enough to hoist the bronze statue prior to bowl season will be immortalized among legends of the sport until the end of time.

    But for some that are awarded the trophy, the success stops there.

    With all of the attention, hype and glory the Heisman winner receives post-ceremony, it's understandable for their bowl-game preparation to take a backseat. Some players find a way to focus through all the fame; some do not.

    Click through to see how recent Heisman Trophy winners performed in their follow-up bowl game.

Robert Griffin III, Baylor QB (2011)

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    Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III lit up defenses in the Big 12, won the respect of voters and became the university's only Heisman winner.

    In 2011, the Bears were invited to the Valero Alamo Bowl to face the Washington Huskies in what ended up being an exciting shootout.

    Robert Griffin wasn't his normal dazzling self, but he was good enough pull off a victory for his team.  

    RG3 wound up going 24-of-33, accounting for one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown.

    These stats pale in comparison to what really shined in that game: the Baylor running game. The Bears rushed for 482 yards and eight touchdowns.

Cam Newton, Auburn QB (2010)

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    Auburn quarterback Cam Newton came into the Tostitos National Championship game with some back pain and a chip on his shoulder.  

    All season long, Newton battled allegations that he was involved in illegal recruiting practices, and all season long, he didn't let it faze his game on the field. Winning the Heisman wasn't enough.

    Newton completed 20-of-34 passes for two touchdowns and one interception while rushing for another 64 yards. Cam carried the team on his back all game, but it was left it up to kicker Wes Byrum to nail a 19-yard FG with no time left on the clock to clinch the national championship for the Tigers.  

Mark Ingram, Alabama RB (2009)

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    Alabama running back Mark Ingram walked away from New York with the university's first Heisman Trophy and ran into the university's first BCS National Championship game with huge numbers.

    The Crimson Tide's leading rusher put up consistent numbers all season long and wasn't going to let coach Nick Saban down in the most important game of the season against the Texas Longhorns.

    Alabama put away the 'Horns 37-21, with Ingram being awarded the offensive MVP. The Heisman winner had 22 carries for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

    Not to be outdone, backup running back and future Heisman finalist Trent Richardson also had a huge game with 19 rushes, 109 yards and two touchdowns of his own.   

Sam Bradford, Oklahoma QB (2008)

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    Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford's Heisman honeymoon phase was cut short by someone who had his own Heisman Trophy: Tim Tebow.

    The 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship showcased two Heisman-winning quarterbacks. Both threw for two touchdowns and two interceptions. But only one also rushed for 109 yards. Sam Bradford could not keep up with Tebow's ground attack and had to ultimately watch the Gators hoist the National Championship trophy.

    Not only could Sam Bradford not kick the Heisman funk, he couldn't kick Oklahoma's BCS bowl-game funk either. This was the Sooners' fifth straight BCS bowl loss. On the other side of the field, this was the SEC's fifth BCS championship.

Tim Tebow, Florida QB (2007)

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    Florida QB Tim Tebow walked into the 2008 Capital One Bowl against Michigan with a broken bone in his non-throwing hand. This was not as big of a setback as the Wolverines had hoped.

    Tebow kept his Gators in the game by throwing for 154 yards and tossing three touchdowns and running for another TD. This was supplemented by Percy Harvin's 13 rushes for 165 yards and a touchdown.

    But this was not enough offense to put away Michigan. Quarterback Chad Henne and running back Mike Hart put up huge stats as well, giving the Wolverines the win by the score of 41-35.

Troy Smith, Ohio State QB (2006)

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    Ohio State QB Troy Smith may still be wishing he hung up his cleats after hoisting the Heisman trophy in New York City instead of playing out the BCS National Championship game a month later against the University of Florida.

    The Gators manhandled the Buckeyes 41-14. This doesn't tell the whole story of how disappointing Troy Smith's performance was on college football's biggest stage.

    Smith went 4-of-14, throwing for only 35 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception and one fumble.

    This continued Ohio State's losing streak against SEC teams in bowl games, extending their record to 0-8. 

Reggie Bush, USC RB (2005) (*Vacated)

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    USC running back Reggie Bush had a highlight reel of a season on a team that was being considered one of the best college football teams of all time. To top it all off, Bush won a large percentage of the Heisman votes over Vince Young, bringing home the bronze statue to Los Angeles for the second straight year.

    Bush had 13 rushes for 82 yards and a touchdown along with 96 yards receiving in the Rose Bowl against Young and the Texas Longhorns. His only setback came when he bolted 37 yards down the middle of the field off of a screen pass and tried to pitch the ball to a teammate as he was being tackled. The pitch was tipped, and the Longhorns fell on it.

    Vince Young bottled up the angst that arose seeing Bush hoist the Heisman and put up a legendary performance to ultimately defeat the USC Trojans 41-38, bringing the National Championship trophy to Austin.

Matt Leinart, USC QB (2004)

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    USC QB Matt Leinart made it known who the real Heisman Trophy winner was as he faced fellow recipient Jason White in the 2005 Orange Bowl.

    Leinart threw for five touchdowns, completing 18-of-35 passes in a 55-19 route over the Oklahoma Sooners to win the national championship.  

    The Trojan offense also had help from LenDale White, who scored two touchdowns, and future Heisman winner Reggie Bush, who rushed for 75 yards.

    Former-winner Jason White threw for two touchdowns and a devastating three interceptions.

Jason White, Oklahoma QB (2003)

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    Oklahoma QB Jason White was able to lead the highest-scoring offense in the nation in 2003 and win himself the Heisman.  

    The LSU defense made sure this trend stopped at the 2004 Nokia Sugar Bowl.

    White only completed 13-of-37 passes for 102 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions against the Tigers in a game that was to award one of the teams the national championship.

    The trophy did not go to the Oklahoma Sooners that evening.

Carson Palmer, USC QB (2002)

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    USC QB Carson Palmer had the pleasure of facing an Iowa defense in the 2003 Orange Bowl that ranked last in the Big Ten conference against the pass.

    You couldn't give a Heisman-winning quarterback a bigger gift than that.

    Palmer threw for 303 yards and a touchdown against the Hawkeyes, which was more than enough to seal a 38-17 victory for the USC Trojans.

    The win would bring coach Pete Carroll his first of what would be a few national championships. Carroll would also go on to coach two more Heisman Trophy winners in his tenure at USC.