We’re back with our second miniseries on major college football history for MNC Wednesdays, as we go back and look at Heisman Trophy winners from the past—and whether or not they truly deserved the award. We have confirmed just one winner in the six seasons of study so far, so that tells you a lot about … well, many things.
By the way, here is our mythical national championship analysis from this season, too, for context.
1962 Heisman Trophy winner: Terry Baker, QB, Oregon State (original, confirmed)
It may seem like a surprise to modern readers to know that the Oregon State Beavers (!) have had a Heisman winner, as quarterback Terry Baker took the vote in 1962 when his team posted an 8-2 regular-season record. In truth, Baker faced a middling schedule as he posted 2,276 total yards with 24 total TDs and just 5 INTs. That’s impressive, but will it hold up to modern-day scrutiny?
Baker did lead the nation in passing efficiency (146.5 rating), and his 4.7 ypc effort on the ground is pretty solid, too, for a QB. But as usual, we have to examine the field for other contenders. Here’s our list of vetted Heisman candidates:
- Jack Concannon, QB, Boston College: 1,743 total yards with 20 total TDs and 6 INTs
- Gale Sayers, RB, Kansas: 1,186 scrimmage yards and 7 TDs
- Mel Renfro, RB, Oregon: 1,051 scrimmage yards with 15 total TDs and 2 INTs
The Eagles also went 8-2, albeit against a weaker schedule than Oregon State faced. Plus, Baker’s statistics are better than Concannon’s totals, anyway. As for the Jayhawks, they posted a 6-3-1 record against roughly the same quality schedule as the Beavers’ slate. Sayers was just a sophomore seeing his first NCAA action, and the numbers are good—but hardly spectacular.
The Ducks also went 6-3-1 against a tougher schedule than Baker faced, but Renfro doesn’t have the stats, either. In addition, Oregon State beat Oregon in head-to-head play, which has to factor in here as well. So, all things considered, we’re going to confirm Baker’s award win. It was a short list of Heisman contenders this year, anyway.
Congratulations to Terry Baker, the legitimate Heisman Trophy winner from 1962.