Stiff Arm Trophy

Heisman Vote Margins

Sometimes, folks like to talk about the "largest margin" or "closest race" in Heisman history.

Using the raw points scored would be mistake. After all, the more voters there are, the more points there are to go around - and the bigger margins you're going to have.

Instead, analysts should look at the points scored as a percentage of points possible - and then compare those percentages. That's an apples-to-apples comparison.

So, who had the largest landslide win over the second-place finisher? That's Troy Smith, in 2006, over Darren McFadden - by a 60% margin. And the closest race? In 2009, Mark Ingram defeated Toby Gerhart by just 1.0% (an outcome which, coincidentally, also happens to be the smallest raw point margin.)

Heisman Vote Margins from Largest Margin to Closest Race

Note: We're not able to include the years 1941-43 or 1946-47 - as the Trophy Trust website does not have the total number of voters listed for those years. In 2010, we were - after several years - able to add 1988, thanks to a contemporaneous note revealed in a (surprisingly good) 1988 issue of Sports Illustrated.

yearvoterstrophy winnerpointspct.runneruppointspct.margin ptsmargin pct
2006924Troy Smith254091.63%Darren McFadden87831.67%166259.96%
1993919Charlie Ward231083.79%Heath Shuler68824.95%162258.83%
1991917Desmond Howard207775.50%Casey Weldon50318.28%157457.22%
1998921Ricky Williams235585.23%Michael Bishop79228.66%156356.57%
19681200O.J. Simpson290380.64%Leroy Keyes110330.64%180050.00%
19861050Vinny Testaverde221370.25%Paul Palmer67221.33%154148.92%
1951987Richard Kazmaier177760.01%Hank Lauricella42414.32%135345.69%
2010925Cam Newton226381.55%Andrew Luck107938.88%118442.67%
19631123Roger Staubach186055.21%Billy Lothridge50414.96%135640.25%
1999922Ron Dayne204273.83%Joe Hamilton99435.94%104837.89%
19551324Howard Cassady221955.87%Jim Swink74218.68%147737.19%
19591197Billy Cannon192953.72%Richie Lucas61317.07%131636.65%
1988917Barry Sanders187868.27%Rodney Peete91233.15%96635.11%
19751041Archie Griffin180057.64%Chuck Muncie73023.37%107034.26%
19741075Archie Griffin192059.53%Anthony Davis81925.40%110134.14%
2005923Reggie Bush254191.77%Vince Young160858.07%93333.69%
19761048Tony Dorsett235774.97%Ricky Bell134642.81%101132.16%
19841050Doug Flutie224071.11%Keith Byars125139.71%98931.40%
19601130Joe Bellino179352.89%Tom Brown73121.56%106231.33%
1994920Rashaan Salaam174363.15%Ki-Jana Carter90132.64%84230.51%
19791050Charles White169553.81%Billy Sims77324.54%92229.27%
1936195Larry Kelley21336.41%Sam Francis478.03%16628.38%
193565Jay Berwanger8443.08%Monk Meyer2914.87%5528.21%
1949908Leon Hart99536.53%Charlie Justice2729.99%72326.54%
19661160Steve Spurrier167948.25%Bob Griese81623.45%86324.80%
19771050Earl Campbell154749.11%Terry Miller81225.78%73523.33%
19821050Herschel Walker192661.14%John Elway123139.08%69522.06%
19701264Jim Plunkett222958.78%Joe Theismann141037.18%81921.60%
19831050Mike Rozier180157.17%Steve Young117237.21%62919.97%
19871050Tim Brown144245.78%Don McPherson83126.38%61119.40%
1940800Tom Harmon130354.29%John Kimbrough84135.04%46219.25%
19811050Marcus Allen179757.05%Herschel Walker119938.06%59818.98%
19731075John Cappelletti105732.78%John Hicks52416.25%53316.53%
1937531Clinton Frank52432.89%Byron White26416.57%26016.32%
19571267John David Crow118331.12%Alex Karras69318.23%49012.89%
1938584Davey O'Brien51929.62%Marshall Goldberg29416.78%22512.84%
1948908Doak Walker77828.56%Charlie Justice44316.26%33512.30%
1950958Vic Janowicz63322.03%Kyle Rote2809.74%35312.28%
2004923Matt Leinart132547.85%Adrian Peterson99736.01%32811.85%
1939700Nile Kinnick65131.00%Tom Harmon40519.29%24611.71%
1992918Gino Torretta140050.84%Marshall Faulk108039.22%32011.62%
2012927Johnny Manziel202972.88%Manti Te'o170661.27%32311.61%
19651160Mike Garrett92626.61%Howard Twilley52815.17%39811.44%
1990917Ty Detmer148253.87%Raghib Ismail117742.78%30511.09%
19581191Pete Dawkins139439.01%Randy Duncan102128.58%37310.44%
19721127Johnny Rodgers131038.75%Greg Pruitt96628.57%34410.17%
2011927Robert Griffin III168760.66%Andrew Luck140750.59%28010.07%
1997921Charles Woodson181565.69%Peyton Manning154355.85%2729.84%
1995921Eddie George146052.84%Tommie Frazier119643.29%2649.55%
2007925Tim Tebow195770.52%Darren McFadden170361.37%2549.15%
1945848Felix "Doc" Blanchard86033.81%Glenn Davis63825.08%2228.73%
19801050George Rogers112835.81%Hugh Green86127.33%2678.48%
2002922Carson Palmer132848.01%Brad Banks109539.59%2338.42%
19671033Gary Beban196863.50%O.J. Simpson172255.57%2467.94%
1996920Danny Wuerffel136349.38%Troy Davis117442.54%1896.85%
19541318Alan Ameche106827.01%Kurt Burris83821.19%2305.82%
1944750Les Horvath41218.31%Glenn Davis28712.76%1255.56%
2003922Jason White148153.54%Larry Fitzgerald135348.92%1284.63%
2008926Sam Bradford172662.13%Colt McCoy160457.74%1224.39%
19521222Billy Vessels52514.32%Jack Scarbath36710.01%1584.31%
19691212Steve Owens148840.92%Mike Phipps133436.69%1544.24%
19711260Pat Sullivan159742.25%Ed Marinaro144538.23%1524.02%
2000922Chris Weinke162858.86%Josh Heupel155256.11%762.75%
19621109Terry Baker70721.25%Jerry Stovall61818.58%892.68%
1989918Andre Ware107338.96%Anthony Thompson100336.42%702.54%
19781050Billy Sims82726.25%Chuck Fusina75023.81%772.44%
19641104John Huarte102630.98%Jerry Rhome95228.74%742.23%
2001925Eric Crouch77027.75%Rex Grossman70825.51%622.23%
19561318Paul Hornung106626.96%John Majors99425.14%721.82%
19611091Ernie Davis82425.18%Bob Ferguson77123.56%531.62%
19531255John Lattner185049.14%Paul Giel179447.65%561.49%
19851050Bo Jackson150947.90%Chuck Long146446.48%451.43%
2009925Mark Ingram130446.99%Toby Gerhart127645.98%281.01%

If you want to give credit, please credit "analysis by Kari Chisholm, a political consultant who operates StiffArmTrophy.com".

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