Ohio State's Justin Fields, Chase Young 3-4 in Heisman Voting
College football awards aren't one of the exceptions to the short list of things where being close counts as good enough.
Horse shoes and hand grenades, sure.
But not the Heisman Trophy.
There's only one winner of college football's most-coveted honor, and Saturday night it went to LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields finished third behind runner-up Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma, and in front of OSU defensive end Chase Young.
Burrow won with the highest percentage of first-place votes (90.7), surpassing Troy Smith of Ohio State (86.7) in 2006.
Burrow also bettered Smith for the record of highest percentage of possible votes, getting 93.8%, ahead of Smith's 91.6%
Burrow's 1,846-point margin of victory over Hurts also set a new Heisman standard, bettering the former mark of 1,750 points by USC's O.J. Simpson in 1968.
OSU's J.K. Dobbins finished sixth, one spot behind Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor, who completed the Top 5.
It's the second time Ohio State has finished with three of the top six in the Heisman voting.
The other occurred in 1973, when tackle John Hicks finished second, running back Archie Griffin fifth and linebacker Randy Gradishar sixth.
So, as has been the case often throughout this post-regular-season award circuit, the best of the Buckeyes were in the picture, but not center stage.
Young has won the Nagurski and Bednarik Awards as the nation's top defensive player, but he missed out on the Maxwell Award and Heisman to Burrow.
Fields was among the finalists for the Davey O'Brien Award presented to the best quarterback and the Walter Camp and Heisman, all of which went to Burrow.
OSU's J.K. Dobbins was a Doak Walker Award finalist, which went to Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor.
And Ohio State's Jeff Okudah was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, but LSU's Grant Delpit took the honor accorded the nation's best defensive back.
OSU's Jordan Fuller was a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, considered the academic Heisman because it combines football ability with community service and academic performance. Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert won that on Thursday.
Burrow transferred to LSU after graduating from Ohio State in the summer of 2018, several months after failing to overtake Dwayne Haskins in a spring football competition for the Buckeyes' starting quarterback role.
Young said Saturday, just prior to the start of the Heisman ceremony, that Burrow's success at LSU is no surprise to him or his former teammates.
"His base, his culture, his mindset came from Ohio State,." Young said. "I felt like, when he left, we knew Joe was going to take over wherever he went. So, Joe being here, it was kind of expected, because we all knew how good Joe was."
Burrow has a different recollection of his early years at OSU.
"If you ask the guys at Ohio State how good I was when I first got there, they would tell you that they would have taken my scholarship away," Burrow said. "I’ve come a long way."
Young enters OSU's Dec. 28 Fiesta Bowl game against Clemson, a College Football Playoff semifinal, with a school single-season record 16.5 quarterback sacks.
He is widely believed to be bound for either the first or second pick in the April NFL Draft, but Young told TMZ Friday that "the plan" is for him to return to Ohio State for his senior season.
He backed off that statement Saturday, saying he has no plan for determining his future beyond the Buckeyes' next game.
"That moment was just a real spontaneous moment, caught me off-guard," Young said. "I'm not even really worried anything in the future, I'm just worried about just beating Clemson right now."
Burrow enters a College Football Playoff semifinal against Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl having set LSU single-season records with 4,715 passing yards, 48 touchdown passes, an average of 362.7 passing yards per-game, 11 300-yard passing games, seven consecutive 300-yard passing games, 439 pass attempts, 342 completions, 5,004 yards total offense and a 77.9 percent completion rate.
Fields has 40 touchdown passes, 10 rushing touchdowns, one interception, 2,953 passing yards and a 67.5% completion rate.
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