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THE HEISMAN TROPHY : Tim Brown Adds Voting Returns to His Repertoire

December 06, 1987|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Tim Brown of Notre Dame won the 1987 Heisman Trophy Saturday as voters remembered his earlier play rather than sub-par performances in his last two games.

Brown, a wide receiver and kick-return specialist, received 1,442 points in the nationwide balloting. Quarterback Don McPherson of Syracuse was second with 831, Gordie Lockbaum of Holy Cross third with 657, Lorenzo White of Michigan State fourth with 632 and Craig Heyward of Pitt fifth with 170.

Brown won five of the six sections of the country. The only section he did not win was the Northeast.

A front-runner for the Heisman since the season began, Brown saw his chances appear to dim when he dropped three passes in Notre Dame's 24-0 loss to Miami a week ago.

"It happened and it's over and done with," Brown said of his sub-par play, which also saw him gain just 14 yards in 3 punt returns, including one where he was dropped for a two-yard loss. "I've had too many good days to let one bad day pull me down."

In a loss to Penn State, Brown was held to minus 4 yards in 4 carries, gained only 29 yards in 4 receptions and picked up 7 yards on a punt return.

After winning the award Saturday, Brown answered the critics of his late-season performance.

"I took it personally because I don't think I'm a bad person," Brown said. "Whenever I had an opportunity in a game, I think I made something happen."

He said the negative publicity made him believe that the voting would be closer that it turned out to be.

"I thought it was real close after reading all the articles and hearing the radio," Brown said. "I guess all the votes were in (before the late-season games)."

McPherson said he never doubted Brown would win.

"I was sure that I was going to hear Tim Brown's name called," McPherson said. "It made it easier on me. I felt mostly relief for Tim Brown. He went through the whole season as 'Heisman Trophy candidate' and by mid-season, he was the 'Heisman Trophy winner.' That's a great deal of pressure."

Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz said this past week that Brown played the final five weeks of the season with a dislocated shoulder.

"We didn't want to say much about it for obvious reasons," Holtz said. "He suffered a slight separation in the sixth game of the year. We think he will be much better by the Cotton Bowl" Jan. 1, when the Irish take on Texas A&M.

"Timmy took a pounding. He also played with a broken ring finger," Holtz said.

Brown is only the second player who is primarily a flanker and kick returner to win the Heisman--the first was Nebraska slotback Johnny Rodgers in 1972--and that has caused some controversy.

"I thought the Heisman was supposed to go to someone who dominated his position, not someone who runs all over the field playing hide and seek," Heyward said.

Heyward said the Brown "won it in the off-season."

Chris Spielman, a linebacker from Ohio State, finished sixth in the balloting with 110 points, followed by running back Thurman Thomas of Oklahoma State, 99; running back Gaston Green of UCLA, 73; freshman running back Emmitt Smith of Florida, 70; and running back Bobby Humphrey of Alabama, 63.

Brown had 324 first-place votes, nearly double the 167 by McPherson. Every player in the Top Ten got at least two first-place votes.

Heyward was the only junior of the five players invited to Saturday's announcement. He was the second-leading rusher in the nation, carrying 357 times for 1,655 yards. He became the seventh player in NCAA history to run for more than 100 yards in every game of an 11-game schedule and scored 13 of Pittsburgh's 25 touchdowns.

"Brown reminds me of a big Johnny Rodgers," said Gil Brandt, Dallas Cowboys' personnel chief. "He'll probably be the first or second guy taken in the (NFL) draft."

He is the seventh player from Notre Dame to be honored, but the first in 23 years. The other Notre Dame Heisman winners were Angelo Bertelli in 1943, Johnny Lujack in 1947, Leon Hart in 1949, John Lattner in 1953, Paul Hornung in 1956 and John Huarte in 1964.

Although Brown didn't duplicate his junior year, he did gain 1,843 all-purpose yards. On plays from the line of scrimmage, he averaged nearly 14 yards every time he touched the ball.

Purdue Coach Fred Akers said stopping Brown "is like trying to grab hold of a piece of electricity."

He tied an NCAA record when he returned punts 71 and 66 yards for touchdowns against Michigan State in September.

In his final home game, against Alabama, Brown touched the ball 14 times for 225 yards--4 receptions for 114 yards (he became Notre Dame's career leader in reception yardage with 2,371), 6 punt returns for 57, 2 kickoff returns for 47 and 2 rushes for 7.

VOTING FOR THE HEISMAN TROPHY

Voting for the 1987 Heisman Trophy, with first, second and third-place votes and total points (voting on 3-2-1 basis).

Player School 1st 2nd 3rd Total Brown Notre Dame 324 173 124 1442 McPherson Syracuse 167 135 60 831 Lockbaum Holy Cross 108 103 127 657 White Mich. St. 89 121 123 632 Heyward Pittsburgh 17 44 31 170 Spielman Ohio St. 15 20 25 110 Thomas Okla. St. 11 23 20 99 Green UCLA 4 13 35 73 Smith Florida 2 11 42 70 Humphrey Alabama 5 17 14 63

REGIONAL VOTING NORTHEAST: 1. McPherson; 2. Brown; 3. Lockbaum; 4. White; 5. Heyward. MID-ATLANTIC: 1. Brown; 2. McPherson; 3. Lockbaum; 4. White; 5. Heyward. SOUTH: 1. Brown; 2. White; 3. Lockbaum; 4. McPherson; 5. Humphrey. SOUTHWEST: 1. Brown; 2. Lockbaum; 3. McPherson; 4. White; 5. Thomas. MIDWEST: 1. Brown; 2. White; 3. Lockbaum; 4. Spielman; 5. McPherson. FAR WEST: 1. Brown; 2. White; 3. Lockbaum; 4. McPherson; 5. Green.

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