Ohio State QB Troy Smith picks up Heisman

Published 6:00 am Sunday, December 10, 2006

For Ohio State and Troy Smith, it’s been that kind of year.

The Buckeyes were No. 1 from start to finish and their star quarterback had no real challenger in winning the Heisman Trophy.

Smith was a runaway winner Saturday night as the best player in college football, just two years after nearly derailing his career by taking money from a booster.

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The senior quarterback 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.

“Normally, I’m pretty cool in pressure situations, but my heart is pounding really fast now,” said Smith, who had big hugs for his mother, sister and coach Jim Tressel before taking the podium for his speech.

“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.”

Like so many of the victories Smith has led the Buckeyes to this season, the Heisman win was a rout.

He received 801 first-place votes, the second most ever, and 1,662 points more than second-place finisher Darren McFadden of Arkansas, making it the second-most lopsided Heisman vote. Only O.J. Simpson’s 1,750-point victory in 1968 was more onesided.

Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn was third and West Virginia running back Steve Slaton was fourth.

Smith also 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 California tailback Reggie Bush, who had 2,541 last season