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Heisman continues a big year for Smith

Ohio State quarterback wins in the second-biggest runaway. Now all that stands in the way of a perfect season is Florida in the BCS title game.

December 10, 2006|From the Associated Press

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.

Smith received 801 first-place votes and won the Heisman by 1,662 points -- both the second-best marks in the 72 seasons the award has been given.

Arkansas running back Darren McFadden finished second, Notre Dame 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 Florida for the national championship on Jan. 8.

A smile lighted up Smith's face when his name was announced. After getting a hug and handshake from Quinn, Smith headed to the row of chairs directly behind him, where his mother, Tracy, and sister, Brittany, were sitting.

They each took turns giving Smith a big squeeze. But Smith wasn't done with the hugs -- one for Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel and another for his high school coach, Ted Ginn Sr.

The 22-year-old Smith 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 USC and Notre Dame for the most.

"Now I'm part of that elite group," Smith said.

Smith received 86.7% 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 USC tailback Reggie Bush, who had 2,541 last season

Just like USC's Bush and Matt Leinart, and Oklahoma's Jason White in '03, Smith will play for the national title as a Heisman winner.

"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.

Once known more for his speed and elusiveness, Smith has become the consummate pocket passer, fourth in the nation in passer rating (167.9) with 2,507 yards passing and 30 touchdown passes.

He heads into the BCS championship game 25-2 as a starter.

"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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Heisman roll call

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A complete list of the winners of college football's top individual award:

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