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Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota wins Heisman

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(CNN) — University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota won the Heisman Trophy, given annually to the best college football player in the United States, on Saturday night during a ceremony in New York.

Mariota beat two other finalists, Alabama receiver Amari Cooper and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.

Mariota, a junior, is the first player from the University of Oregon and the first native of Hawaii to win the Heisman, according to www.heismancentral.com, a website operated by the Heisman Trophy Trust.

“I am humbled to be here today, and honored by this award,” Mariota said as he accepted the trophy.

“This award belongs to my teammates. The amount of hard work and sacrifice that each of them have made has not gone unnoticed,” he added, singling out the various units on his football team for their successes this year.

Now, an unusual battle of the Heisman winners is in the offing. Oregon, a No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff, will face No. 3 seed Florida State, led by last year’s Heisman winner, Jameis Winston, on January 1.

No. 1 seed Alabama faces No. 4 seed Ohio State in the other playoff game.

Mariota, who led Oregon to a 12-1 record this season, was favored to win the Heisman, having earlier won the Maxwell Award, also for being the nation’s most outstanding player, and the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and Walter Camp player of the year award.

He threw for 3,783 yards and rushed for 669 this season and led the Ducks to the Pac-12 title, according to Bleacher Report. He accounted for 53 total touchdowns — 38 through the air, 14 on the ground and one receiving — and only threw two interceptions.

The Heisman runner-ups didn’t go unrecognized.

Cooper won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver and Gordon won the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s top running back.

By Ralph Ellis