The 1990 season was a good year for Ty Detmer and the Cougars. Detmer started the year off with a bang, in what he called his most memorable game as a Cougar, when he led the cougars to victory over, then ranked, #1 Miami Hurricanes. He was awarded the National Player of the Week for passing 406 yards against the U.
As a junior, Detmer broke 31 NCAA records, threw for 5,188 passing yards, and 41 touchdowns. The Cougars went 10-3, including a bowl game, on the season. When the Heisman Trophy winner was announced, Detmer was poolside with the Cougars in Hawaii. They were watching the TV, but Detmer had a headpiece plugged in; only he heard the announcement. Upon hearing his name, the quintessential team player declared, "We got it!" The team went nuts. Detmer recognized that winning the Heisman Trophy was so much bigger than just him, or even the 1990 Cougars. He later stated that he won it because of those, especially quarterbacks, who had gone before him. Nielsen, Wilson, McMahon, Young, and Bosco established the program as an elite passing team and laid the foundation for him to win the Heisman.