All season, the Alabama Crimson Tide looked like an invincible juggernaut. They had the best quarterback in the nation, a stonewall of an offensive line and a defense that thrived on make life miserable in the second halves of games. All of this lead to the notion that the most prestigious individual award would be handed to the quarterback of the best team in the land on a silver platter: Tua would easily win the Heisman.
Then Saturday happened and not only did the Crimson Tide need a come-from-behind victory to beat the Georgia Bulldogs - the second time they’ve needed such in two years - but they needed their backup quarterback to do so. This time, the backup quarterback was Jalen Hurts and not Tua Tagovailoa.
Jalen Hurts entered the game in the fourth quarter after Tua suffered an injury that left him with a stat line that read like an Alabama opponent rather than the best player in the nation. Tua completed only 10 passes out of 25 attempts for 164 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Jalen Hurts completed 7 of 9 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown and he ran for the game-winning touchdown.
Pundits and talking heads wondered what would happen if Tua played a bad game and/or got injured. Would the voters look at the last game and wonder if Tua was the best player in the game or would they consider something else?
That time has now come. Tua played poorly. He threw interceptions, two of them in the biggest game of the year so far. Tua failed to break 200 yards for the fourth time this season and barely broke 3,000 yards passing on the year. Tua didn’t just look human, he looked like a freshman.
Compare that to Kyler Murray, who had been dynamic all year but really turned it on as the Oklahoma Sooners made their push towards another Big 12 Championship and a possible playoff berth. Think about this, Murray has averaged over 400 yards of total offense per game since late September. Murray in his final Big 12 game led the Sooners, who were struggling against their Texas Longhorns rival, threw for 379 yards and 3 touchdowns to go along with 39 rushing yards. Murray threw a dime for the final soul-crushing touchdown to Grant Calcaterra that pushed the OU lead from 32-27 to 39-27 and made a close game look much worse than it was.
In an interesting twist, Dwayne Haskins, who was left for dead in the Heisman race after the 29-point loss to Purdue and who struggled through several victories down the stretch, put up one of his best games in the Big Ten Championship. Haskins threw for 499 yards, the fifth time he has thrown for at least 400 yards in a game this season, and five touchdowns. Haskins finishes with a ridiculous 4,580 yards and 45 touchdowns and could be the third player in New York.
Will the Heisman voters change their minds and their votes based on the last game of the season or is it too little, too late?
Did Tua lose the Heisman Trophy?
This poll is closed
No, Kyler Murray took it
No, Dwayne Haskins is just better