'Heisman jinx' no guarantee Manziel will turn in dud against Sooners
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Sunday, December 30, 2012
12/30/12 at 7:11 AM
NORMAN - Twenty-six years ago, Vinny Testaverde threw five interceptions in the national championship game and a stigma was born - Heisman Trophy winners crumbled under the weight of the award at bowls.
This Heisman jinx gives Oklahoma fans hope heading into the Jan. 4 Cotton Bowl, where the Sooners must contain Texas A&M's Heisman-winning quarterback. The idea is Johnny Manziel will be either tired or full of himself after a month of hobnobbing with David Letterman, Megan Fox and LeBron James. The Sooners won't keep him from racking up 500 total yards at Cowboys Stadium so much as the spotlight will.
It got to Testaverde, right? How else to explain his stunning meltdown against undermanned Penn State in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl?
How else to explain Ty Detmer getting outplayed by Texas A&M quarterback Bucky Richardson in the 1990 Holiday Bowl? Troy Smith totaling six puny yards in Ohio State's national championship loss to Florida in 2007?
Heck, ask OU fans about Jason White at the '04 Sugar Bowl. The guy goes from a 40/6 touchdown/interception ratio during the '03 regular season to completing 13-of-37 passes against LSU in the Superdome?
Had to be the Jinx.
The truth is, while there have been some Heisman-related oddities since Testaverde's crash-and-burn, the trophy-winner has come up big in bowl games just as often. Very big in some cases.
Barry Sanders spun around Wyoming for 222 yards and five touchdowns in the 1988 Holiday Bowl. Sanders watched the fourth quarter of Oklahoma State's 62-14 cakewalk or he would have eclipsed 300 yards.
Danny Wuerffel lit up Florida State for 306 yards and three touchdowns in the '97 Sugar Bowl. That lifted Florida to a 52-20 victory and the national championship.
Ron Dayne hoisted Wisconsin onto his shoulders and rushed for 154 second-half yards in the 2000 Rose Bowl. He went 64 on one play, a touchdown that sparked the Badgers' 17-9 victory over Stanford.
Yes, Heisman runner-up Josh Heupel outplayed Chris Weinke in the '01 Orange Bowl, helping Oklahoma upset Florida State for the national championship. Sure, Tim Tebow, third in the '08 balloting, outplayed Sam Bradford in Miami, powering Florida to the national title over OU.
But recall the '03 Orange Bowl. Heisman winner Carson Palmer threw for 303 yards in USC's 38-17 victory over Iowa, quarterbacked by Heisman runner-up Brad Banks.
Or, even easier, remember USC's 55-19 domination of OU in the '05 Orange. Heisman winner Matt Leinart threw for 332 yards and five TDs. Runner-up Adrian Peterson rushed for 82 yards and never got into the end zone.
There's no jinx, just a mixed bag of results - an unpredictability consistent with the fact that there is more than a month between the Heisman winner's last game before the award and his bowl.
Sometimes the winner dazzles to no avail.
Reggie Bush gained 279 all-purpose yards in the '06 Rose Bowl, but USC lost to Texas. Two years later, Tebow accounted for four touchdowns in the Capital One Bowl, but Florida fell to Michigan. The year after Testaverde's nightmare, Tim Brown totaled 105 yards receiving, but A&M hammered Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl.
Sometimes the winner is rather ordinary, but his team overcomes anyway.
Florida State's defense bailed out Charlie Ward against Nebraska at the '94 Orange Bowl. Kordell Stewart won the '95 Fiesta for Colorado over Notre Dame, not Rashaan Salaam.
A year ago, Robert Griffin totaled 350 yards and two touchdowns against Washington in the Alamo Bowl. The Huskies could live with that.
What killed them, and ultimately lost the 67-56 game, were Terrance Ganaway's 200 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
That could be A&M running back Ben Malena on Jan. 4. Or maybe Manziel will live up to his trophy, like Cam Newton did for Auburn in the '11 BCS championship. Perhaps he'll play as feebly as Eric Crouch did in Nebraska's '02 Rose Bowl loss to Miami.
About the only thing the Sooners can be sure of heading into the Cotton Bowl is there is no Heisman jinx. Testaverde hasn't cast some kind of spell on Manziel. They're better off stopping the latest winner themselves.
OU (10-2) vs. Texas A&M (10-2)
7 p.m. Friday
At Arlington, Texas
Radio: KMOD fm97.5, KTBZ am1430
Original Print Headline: 'Heisman jinx' no guarantee
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel celebrates after a touchdown against Alabama. GARY COSBY JR. / The Decatur Daily/AP