In the history of the Southeastern Conference, there were 14 winners of the Heisman Trophy. But thanks to the best passing season in conference history, 2019 gave college football fans the SEC's 15th winner, and his legacy is going to live on forever.
In his second season with the team, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow was nothing short of legendary, leading the team to a College Football Playoff berth and the program's fourth National Championship. He accomplished it all as a Heisman Trophy winner.
Every past winner of the prestigious award has one "Heisman moment" that sticks out from that season. Cam Newton showed off his wheels against LSU in 2010 in his moment. Jameis Winston's signature play won Florida State a national title.
For Joe Burrow, there was a crawfish tub's worth of highlight reel plays that could've been dubbed Heisman moments. One stands out in particular, however.
Joe Burrow's Heisman Moment Against Georgia
The 2019 SEC Championship Game was still within reach for the Georgia Bulldogs with 4:17 to go in the third quarter. They were only down 20-3 at that point.
Joe Burrow had other plans.
Immediately after UGA's kicker missed a field goal, Burrow sidestepped two rushing Georgia defenders (sorry to No. 44's ankles) ran toward the sideline and heaved a pass up for Justin Jefferson. The talented LSU receiver then blazed past the Bulldogs for what went as a 71-yard play.
It was the type of play that leaves fans speechless. It was the type that got the hearts of NFL coaches racing. It was THAT impressive.
LSU scored almost immediately after and went on to win the game, 37-10. They also pummeled Oklahoma and Clemson in the CFP, proving that Joe Burrow the Heisman winner was the real deal.
Joe Burrow's Heisman Season
Overall, Burrow's outstanding senior season was nothing short of unexpected after an average 2018 season in Baton Rouge. Guys like Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama and Trevor Lawrence of Clemson were expected to dominate the 2019 season, but it was Burrow who took the country by storm.
Born in Ames, Iowa, Burrow was a four-star recruit who played at Athens High School in The Plains, Ohio. Out of high school, he chose to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes, but after three seasons and 39 pass attempts, decided to transfer to Louisiana State University.
During the 2018 season, Burrow passed for 2,894 yards, 16 touchdowns, and five interceptions while leading LSU to a 10-3 record. He flashed greatness, but never really showed signs of being a record-breaking quarterback, not just in the SEC, but on the national level.
The following season, Burrow became one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the conference and heard his name called at the 2019 Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York, becoming the second Heisman winner in school history after Billy Cannon in 1959.
Through 13 games, Burrow passed for 4,715 yards, 48 passing touchdowns and just six interceptions. He finished with more than 5,000 yards and an FBS-record 65 touchdowns.
Not only are those numbers extremely impressive because LSU doesn't run an air raid offense in which he attempts over 50 passes per game, it came against some of the best competition in the country in the SEC West.
Burrow set conference and school records for passing yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage.
The number I am most impressed with from Burrow is his completion percentage at 76.3 percent, which ranked second all-time behind the NCAA single-season record by Colt McCoy (76.7%) in 2008. That comes from a combination of offensive play-calling, receivers getting open and rarely dropping passes, and the precision passing of an extremely talented quarterback.
His numbers weren't just padded by poor competition either.
Joe Burrow's Records and Awards in 2019
AP National Player of the Year (AP)
Walter Camp Award
Davey O'Brien Award
Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award
First-Team All-American (unanimous)
SEC Offensive Player of the Year (AP, unanimous)
All-SEC First Team (AP, unanimous; Coaches)
SEC Championship Game MVP
LSU School Records
Passing yards (5,671) — SEC record
Passing TDs (60) — SEC record
Joe Burrow Highlights
After his great regular season and CFP performance, Burrow became the first overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2020 NFL Draft. He solidified that pick after accounting for seven touchdowns against Oklahoma and cruising by Clemson in the national title game.
Without a doubt, this has been one of the best passing seasons in SEC history. The only quarterbacks to have an argument for a better season at the position are Tim Tebow at Florida (2007) and Cam Newton at Auburn (2010). Those two guys ran the ball much more efficiently, each finishing with over 20 rushing touchdowns in those seasons.
No one threw it like Joey Burreaux, though.
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