published Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Alabama's AJ McCarron, Auburn's Tre Mason among six Heisman finalists

Alabama's AJ McCarron celebrates during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
Alabama's AJ McCarron celebrates during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
HEISMAN FINALISTS

JAMEIS WINSTON -- The Florida State quarterback leads the nation in pass efficiency (190.1) and leads the country's only undefeated major college team.

JORDAN LYNCH -- The Northern Illinois quarterback is second nationally with 1,881 rushing yards and has thrown for 2,676 yards and 23 scores.

AJ McCARRON -- Alabama's senior quarterback ranks eighth in efficiency and owns as many BCS title rings as he does losses as the starter.

JOHNNY MANZIEL -- The Texas A&M quarterback's defense of the Heisman Trophy includes 3,732 passing yards and 33 touchdowns.

TRE MASON -- Auburn's junior tailback is sixth nationally with 1,621 yards on 283 carries, including a 46-carry, 304-yard game against Missouri.

ANDRE WILLIAMS -- The Boston College tailback leads the nation with 329 carries for 2,102 yards (6.4 yards per carry) and 17 touchdowns.

  • photo
    Auburn running back Tre Mason (21) runs against Missouri defensive back Randy Ponder (7) during their Southeastern Conference NCAA championship game, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Alabama and Auburn have played prominent roles in this season's race for college football's national championship.

The Crimson Tide and Tigers have factored into the Heisman Trophy picture as well.

Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron and Auburn junior tailback Tre Mason are among the six finalists for the Heisman Trophy and have been invited to Saturday night's ceremony in New York City. This is the first time an Alabama player and an Auburn player have been invited to the same Heisman ceremony since finalists started making the trip in 1982, when Georgia tailback Herschel Walker won the award.

"This will be my first trip to New York City, and I can't put into words how much it means to me," McCarron said Monday night in a university release. "I am truly privileged to have the opportunity to represent our team."

Also headed to the Heisman ceremony are Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, the heavy favorite to win the award, Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, Boston College tailback Andre Williams and the reigning Heisman winner, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. This is the first time six finalists have been invited since 1994.

Auburn has produced three Heisman Trophy winners -- quarterback Pat Sullivan in 1971, tailback Bo Jackson in 1985 and quarterback Cam Newton in 2010 -- while Alabama's lone winner was tailback Mark Ingram in 2009. When Sullivan won the Heisman, the fourth-place finisher in the balloting was Alabama running back Johnny Musso.

McCarron has completed 207 of 306 passes this season for 2,676 yards with 26 touchdowns and five interceptions. He is 36-3 as Alabama's starter and led the Crimson Tide to national championships in 2011 and '12, and he was named Monday morning as the winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given annually to the top senior quarterback.

It's been a productive few days for Mason as well.

After rushing for 304 yards and running away with SEC title-game MVP honors in Saturday's 59-42 win over Missouri at the Georgia Dome, Mason was named Monday as the league's offensive player of the year by The Associated Press. Before his sensational showing in Atlanta, Mason rushed 29 times for 164 yards in the 34-28 upset of Alabama.

"He's one of the best players in college football, there is no doubt," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said before the finalists were named. "You look at what he's done in this league, especially as of late."

Mason has rushed for 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, and he needs one more rushing score to tie the SEC's single-season record held by former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

Most projections have Winston winning college football's top individual award in a landslide. Winston has quarterbacked the Seminoles to a 13-0 record and a date against Auburn in the BCS title game, and he leads the nation in pass efficiency, having thrown for 3,820 yards with 38 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

The most notable omission from the Heisman finalists is Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, who threw for 3,844 yards with 30 touchdowns and just two interceptions in leading the Bears to an 11-1 record and a Big 12 title. Petty ranks second nationally in efficiency.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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