Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray won the most recent battle, but he hasn’t won the war. That will be settled on the football field at Hard Rock Stadium rather than the concrete jungle of New York City, where he earned the Heisman Trophy over Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
The dust hasn’t fully settled from that outcome just yet.
“I mean, we don’t vote on it,” UA offensive lineman Jonah Williams said. “People who vote on it, they voted for him to win. So I can’t really have an opinion about it.”
Based on numbers alone this season, Murray did and still does have the edge over his fellow quarterback. He has completed 70.9 percent of his passes for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 892 yards and 11 scores on 123 carries.
Tagovailoa, on the other hand, has completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 3,353 yards and 37 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 190 yards and five scores on 48 carries.
Statistics don’t always tell the full story, though. And even if Williams does have an opinion, it would be considered biased. Same goes for the rest of the Crimson Tide.
“That’s our teammate, it’s our brother, our leader,” UA defensive back Deionte Thompson said. “So, of course I feel like everybody wanted him to win. I wanted him to win, but he came up short. It’s nothing personal.”
Said UA running back Josh Jacobs: “Of course I was rooting for him because he plays on my team. But Kyler Murray has had an awesome season. He’s put up some crazy numbers. So, I don’t want to take that away from him, so congratulations for that.”
Regardless, both Tagovailoa’s and Murray’s teams received a bid into a College Football Playoff semifinal and will play against each other in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29.
The Heisman winner will lead the No. 1 scoring offense (49.5 points per game) in the nation, while the Heisman runner-up will command the No. 2 scoring offense (47.9 points per game) in the nation.
“I wouldn’t say it helps motivate us because if you’re not motivated to play in the playoffs then I don’t even think you should be around,” Thompson said. “The Heisman Trophy ceremony, that was the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Going into this game, I don’t think it will matter much.”
Some trophies, much like Tagovailoa’s Walter Camp Player of the Year and Maxwell Award or Murray’s Heisman and Davey O’Brien Award, are artifacts handed out solely to individuals. Others, such as title trophies, are given to teams.
There are bigger things on the line right now for Murray and the Sooners, Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide.
“Obviously you want your teammates to be successful, you want your teammates to win awards,” Williams said. “But I think he’d tell you and we’d all tell you the award we care about the most is in January with the national championship.”
Reach Terrin Waack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.