Bayou bliss: LSU QB Joe Burrow takes home Heisman

There’s only one major trophy remaining for Joe Burrow to lift up this college football season.

The LSU quarterback on Saturday won the Heisman Trophy, given to the most outstanding player in college football. He beat out fellow quarterbacks Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma) and Justin Fields (Ohio State) and defensive end Chase Young (Ohio State) to hoist the 85th edition of the award at the PlayStation Theater in New York City.

Burrow finished with the largest margin of victory in Heisman history, as 1,846 points separated him from second-place Hurts. He also received a record 90.7% of all the first-place votes available and was named on 95.5% of ballots, another record.

Fields finished third, and his Ohio State teammate Young came in fourth.

“My journey, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world,” said Burrow — who transferred to LSU from Ohio State after the 2017 season — during an emotional acceptance speech.

The senior thanked his offensive line and other teammates first during his speech but saved his gratitude toward LSU coach Ed Orgeron for last.

“You have no idea what you mean to my family,” Burrow said through tears. “You know I didn’t play for three years, and you took a chance on me, not knowing if I could play or not, and I am forever grateful for you.

“Can you imagine a guy like Coach O, giving me the keys to his football program? He just means so much to me and my family … and to LSU. I sure hope they give him a lifetime contract, because he deserves it.”

Burrow is just the second player in LSU history to win the award, joining running back Billy Cannon, who won it in 1959.

He threw for an SEC-record 48 touchdown passes and 4,715 yards in 2019 while leading the Tigers to the conference title. The Heisman capped a spectacular week in which Burrow added to his trophy haul after winning the Maxwell Award (best overall), Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback) and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, in addition to being named the Associated Press player of the year.

He is on pace to set a major college record, completing 77.9% of his passes this season.

Only the College Football Playoff national championship trophy remains out there for Burrow to hoist. LSU, the top seed, will take on Hurts and No. 4 Oklahoma in a semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 28 (4 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App), while No. 2 Ohio State plays No. 3 Clemson in the other semifinal, at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl that same day (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App).

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Joe Burrow reflects on his Heisman trophy win and shows his appreciation for LSU head coach Ed Orgeron.

Burrow entered the season as largely an unknown for LSU, with his odds to win the Heisman as low as 200-1 to start the season. He didn’t take too much time in making a name for himself, throwing for 471 yards and four TDs against then-No. 9 Texas on Sept. 7. He then went on post gaudy numbers against top defenses such as then-No. 7 Florida (293 yards passing, 3 TDs), then-No. 9 Auburn (321/2), then-No. 3 Alabama (393/3) and then-No. 4 Georgia (349/4).

Against AP Top 25 teams this season, Burrow was 143-of-182 for 1,827 yards, 16 total touchdowns and two interceptions, which resulted in a 78.6% completion rate and a 187.9 passer rating.

“Joe’s meant a lot to Louisiana,” Orgeron said after LSU whupped Texas A&M 50-7 on senior night Nov. 30. “Louisiana’s very proud of LSU football. People in Louisiana have heart, man. When they love you, they love you — and they love Joe, and Joe loves them.”

Burrow showed that love back to the fans by wearing a custom-made jersey with a Cajun-inspired “BURREAUX” spelling on the nameplate during pregame introductions.

Hurts, who transferred to Oklahoma after spending his first three seasons at Alabama, was vying to become the third consecutive Sooners quarterback — and a record-breaking eighth OU player overall — to capture the Heisman, following wins by Baker Mayfield (2017) and Kyler Murray (2018). In 13 games, Hurts threw for 3,634 yards with 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions and rushed for 1,255 yards and 18 more TDs.

Fields, a sophomore who transferred to Ohio State after spending his freshman season at Georgia in 2018, threw for 2,953 yards with 40 touchdown passes to just one interception and added 471 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

Young, who led the nation with 16.5 sacks and in tackles for loss per game (1.9), became just the fourth defensive lineman to be named a finalist in the award’s history, joining Washington’s Steve Emtman (1991), Miami’s Warren Sapp (1994) and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh (2009). None of the defensive lineman finished higher than fourth in the voting.

Ohio State was the seventh school to have multiple players invited to the Heisman ceremony in the same year, but the first to have both an offensive player and a defensive player.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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