Jack Scarbath - The Closest Maryland Has Come to a Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 11: The 2010 Heisman Trophy is displayed prior to a press conference for Heisman Trophy candidates at The New York Marriott Marquis on December 11 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

A new feature in EA Sports' NCAA Football 13 allows you to put any Heisman Trophy winner on any college football team, a neat feature for a school like Maryland who, unfortunately, has never had a Heisman Trophy Winner. Last week we pondered what life would have been like if RG3 was on Maryland's 2004 team, one that was extremely talented but struggled mightily at the quarterback position. Today we look at the closest Maryland has come to actually winning the Heisman Trophy in real life, when QB Jack Scarbath finished 2nd in the 1952 Heisman Trophy voting.

For those who don't know much about Scarbath, that's probably because he played back in the early 1950s, which is arguably the peak of Maryland football. Here's a little background from UMTerps.com on the former star QB:

Scarbath is an integral part of Maryland football history. In his first start, the All-American quarterback scored the first touchdown in the new Byrd Stadium, a 21-yard run in the first game of the 1950 season. Scarbath was the quarterback for head coach Jim Tatum's new split T offense for three seasons (1950-52), and led the Terps to a 24-4-1 record, including a perfect 10-0 season and 28-13 upset of national champion Tennessee in the 1951 Sugar Bowl. In 1952, he was honored with first team All-America citations from a number of sources, and was runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

Pretty amazing that he helped build Byrd and then ended up scoring the first touchdown in the stadium. So what numbers did Scarbath put up in 1952 that left him just short of winning the Heisman? Check them out after the jump.


Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int

59 113 52.2 1049 9.3 9.1 10 5


Att Yds Avg

102 227 2.2

(Stats courtesy of Sports-reference.com)

The offense Scarbath was running, the Split T, was similar to the regular T but featured offensive linemen spread out further than what you saw in the traditional T formation. The idea was to open up larger running lanes by spreading out the defensive line. After snapping the ball, the QB could keep it, hand off to a halfback or fullback or pass it, normally to a tight end who would drag across the middle. Picture an option offense similar to Navy's. Not entirely the same, but similar. The spread T severed as the foundation for some later option offenses, such as the wishbone. With this relatively new formation, Scarbath put up impressive numbers, which is why he was in contention for the Heisman. He'd also helped engineer Maryland's 22 game win streak.

So how close did Scarbath come to winning the Heisman? Here's the vote breakdown:

1952 1 Billy Vessels Oklahoma Sr. HB 525
2 Jack Scarbath Maryland Sr. QB 367
3 Paul Giel Minnesota Jr. HB 329
4 Donn Moomaw UCLA Sr. C 257
5 Johnny Lattner Notre Dame Jr. QB 253

Scarbath lost by 158 votes that year. That's as close as Maryland has come to having a Heisman Trophy winner. Billy Vessels certainly deserved winning that season, putting up some impressive numbers (over 1,000 yards and 17 TDs), but it still would have been nice if Scarbath had won the award. So until that day comes when a Maryland player finally hoists that stiff-arm award over their head, we'll have to settle for Scarbath being in the College Football Hall of Fame. At least we can now imagine what life would be like with a Heisman winner on our team in the virtual world, because aside from Scarbath's 2nd place finish, that's as close we're going to get to the Heisman for now.

This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.

EA SPORTS NCAA Football 13 TV: "Son" (via EASPORTS)

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