Mark Ingram wins Heisman
- Christopher Walsh, Senior Writer
December 12, 2009

  Mark Ingram becomes Alabama's 1st Heisman Trophy winner
Mark Ingram poses with the Heisman Trophy after being named the 75th Heisman Trophy winner.
- Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images
NEW YORK - The seemingly impossible became reality Saturday night.

After 74 years of waiting, the University of Alabama football program finally celebrated its first Heisman Trophy when sophomore running back Mark Ingram was awarded college football’s highest honor.

Ingram topped Stanford senior running back Toby Gerhart in the closest vote ever, 28 points.

“I’m a little overwhelmed,” Ingram said.

Ingram had 1,304 points, with the most first-place votes with 227. Gerhard had 1,276 points.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy placed third (1,145) ahead of Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (815) and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (390).

Ingram tallied 1,542 rushing yards to set the Alabama single-season record, and 1,864 all-purpose yards while scoring 18 touchdowns. He had eight 100-yard games, including a season-high and Bryant-Denny Stadium record 246 yards against No. 22 South Carolina on Oct. 17.

Two other statistics that helped promote his Heisman chances were 1,002 yards after contact (53.7 percent) and 825 rushing yards and six touchdowns in Alabama’s five games against top 25 foes, averaging 165 yards per game against Virginia Tech, Mississippi, South Carolina, LSU and Florida. In those same games, he averaged 201.1 all-purpose yards.

The two games that stood as signature moments were South Carolina and Florida. He handled the ball on every play during the Tide’s game-clinching drive against the Gamecocks, and had 189 total yards and three touchdowns against No. 1 Florida.

Previously, David Palmer had the Tide’s best finish, third in 1993. The following year Jay Barker placed fifth, the last time Alabama had a finalist invited to New York.

Overall, 16 Tide players had placed in the top 10 since the award’s inception in 1935, with Lee Roy Jordan (1962) and Johnny Musso (1971) all finishing fourth, and Joe Kilgrow (1937), Harry Gilmer (1945 and 1947), Pat Trammell (1961), Terry Davis (1971) and Barker (1994) all fifth.

Ingram was named the 2009 SEC Offensive Player of the Year and an All-American, but was otherwise shut out for postseason honors. He was a finalist for the Maxwell Trophy and the Walter Camp player of the year awards, and the Doak Walker Award for running back of the year.