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Ohio St. QB earns Heisman handily

Troy Smith is the clear-cut winner, with Arkansas' McFadden coming in second.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published December 10, 2006


NEW YORK - Winning the Heisman Trophy was easy. The hard part for Troy Smith was staying composed.

To the surprise of no one, the Ohio State quarterback was the runaway winner of the award that honors college football's best player.

Seconds after his name was called Saturday night, he hugged everyone important in his life - coaches and family - let out a deep, deep sigh and headed for the podium.

"Normally, I'm pretty cool in pressure situations, but my heart is pounding so fast now," he said.

"I'm at a loss for words. I just can't believe this is happening. ... It means everything. Just to be here in this situation. I love everybody back home in Columbus."

Just two years after nearly derailing his career by taking money from a booster, Smith received 801 first-place votes and won the Heisman by 1,662 points - both the second-best marks in the 71-year history of the award.

Arkansas sophomore running back Darren McFadden finished second, Notre Dame senior quarterback Brady Quinn was third and West Virginia running back Steve Slaton was fourth.

Only O.J. Simpson's 1,750-point victory in 1968 was more lopsided than Smith's.

"I haven't spent that much time dreaming about it," Smith said of winning the Heisman. "But I'll be dreaming about it tonight. It's pretty cool."

The senior moved to the front of the Heisman race in September with a flawless performance against Texas and finished off a perfect regular season by throwing four touchdown passes against Michigan.

Now, there's only one thing left for Smith to do: beat No. 2 Florida for the national championship Jan. 8.

Smith, 22, is the sixth player from Ohio State to win the Heisman and first since tailback Eddie George in 1995. And it's the school's seventh Heisman - Archie Griffin won two in 1974-75 - tying Notre Dame and Southern Cal for the most. "Now I'm part of that elite group," Smith said.

Smith received 86.7 percent of the first-place votes, a record, and his point total of 2,540 places third in Heisman history behind Simpson (2,853) and fellow Southern Cal tailback Reggie Bush, who had 2,541 last season.

"I'm still in awe over this situation," he said, sporting a dark three-piece suit with red pinstripes and a Buckeyes' scarlet and gray tie. "I represent these colors to the fullest."

Smith finished the 2005 season with consecutive 300-yard passing games in victories over Michigan and Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, essentially kicking off his '06 Heisman campaign.

Once known more his speed and elusiveness, Smith's become the consummate pocket-passer. Accurate and poised, he's fourth in the nation in passer rating (167.9) with 2,507 yards passing and 30 TD passes.

He heads into the BCS championship game 25-2 as a starter, and - Gators beware - Smith has been at his best when the Buckeyes have needed him most.

The first Ohio State quarterback in 70 years to lead the Buckeyes to three straight victories over Michigan, Smith had 1,051 total yards with three touchdown passes and another TD run against the Wolverines.

He's 11-1 as a starter against ranked opponents, with a chance to improve on that mark in the biggest game of his career.

"Finally, now that's out of the way," Smith said. "Now let's move on to preparation for the University of Florida and the national championship."

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infobox: For r egion by r egion voting, 5C Source: Associated Press

. FAST FACTS

Heisman votes

Voting for the Heisman Trophy, with first-, second- and third-place votes and total points:

Troy Smith, Ohio State 801 62 13 2,540

Darren McFadden, Ark. 45 298 147 878

Brady Quinn, Notre Dame 13 276 191 782

 

. FAST FACTS

Region voting

NORTHEAST: 1, Troy Smith, 431; 2, Darren McFadden, 107; 3, Brady Quinn, 171.

MID-ATLANTIC: 1, Troy Smith, 413; 2, Darren McFadden, 117; 3, Brady Quinn, 112.

SOUTH: 1, Troy Smith, 409; 2, Darren McFadden, 227. 3; Brady Quinn, 96.

SOUTHWEST: 1, Troy Smith, 447; 2, Darren McFadden, 209; 3, Brady Quinn, 119.

MIDWEST: 1, Troy Smith, 451; 2, Darren McFadden, 120; 3, Brady Quinn, 151.

FAR WEST: 1, Troy Smith, 389; 2, Darren McFadden, 98. 3; Brady Quinn, 133.