This Day in Sports History

Marquist Parker   Sports Editor

On December 6, 1961, Syracuse Running Back Ernie Davis was named the 27th Heisman Trophy winner. Davis was the first African American to win the award. The 6-2, 211-pound Davis rushed for 686 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore, earning the nickname “The Elmira Express” and the first of three All- America selections. Davis scored two touchdowns to help the Orangemen beat Texas, 23-14, in the Cotton Bowl Syracuse then went on to win the national title.

Davis totaled 877 rushing yards on an outstanding 7.8 yards per carry during the 1960 season, setting the stage for a run at the Heisman in 1961. Davis followed up with another 823 rushing yards as a senior and scored 15 touchdowns while leading Syracuse in pass receiving with 16 catches for 157 yards.

Along the way, Davis broke Jim Brown’s career records in rushing (2,386 yards), all-purpose yardage (3,414), scoring (220 points), and touchdowns (35).

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