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Troy story

OSU's Smith wrapped up Heisman; race is on for No. 2

Posted: Monday November 20, 2006 11:58AM; Updated: Monday November 20, 2006 11:58AM
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Troy Smith's spectacular performance against Michigan gave Ohio State a berth in the national title game and Smith the Heisman.
Troy Smith's spectacular performance against Michigan gave Ohio State a berth in the national title game and Smith the Heisman.
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Start the engraving. After throwing for 316 yards and four touchdowns and leading Ohio State to a victory over No. 2 Michigan in a game you may have heard about, Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith is this column's Heisman winner. So Brady Quinn backers can stop e-mailing about how "Quinn had better stats against Penn State and Michigan State." The bottom line is this: In both Notre Dame's and Ohio State's biggest game this season, Michigan, Smith passed (and won) while Quinn failed (and lost).

There is still a question however as to who will join Smith in New York. We will try to answer that question the next three weeks, narrowing the list to eight this week and five next week before ending the year with the top three candidates.

1. Troy Smith, Ohio State, QB, Sr.

Last week: 29-of-41 passing, 316 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT; 4 rushes, 12 yards in a 42-39 victory over No. 2 Michigan
Season: 199-of-297 passing, 2,507 yards, 30 TDs, 5 INTs; 62 rushes, 233 yards, 1 TD
Heisman-o-meter: He was brilliant in the first half, spreading the ball around as he has done all season and moving the chains against a defense that had been nasty all year. And after a rather sluggish third quarter and with the outcome still in doubt, Smith drove the Buckeyes down the field for the clinching score (with some assistance from Michigan linebacker Shawn Crable). He has been solid since Day 1 and deserves the stiff-armed statuette. The only question is how big will his winning margin be?
Up next: Regular season complete

2. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame, QB, Sr.

Last week: 22-of-30 passing, 218 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 5 rushes, 32 yards in a 41-9 victory over Army
Season: 252-of-387 passing, 3,004 yards, 32 TDs, 5 INTs; 68 rushes, minus-9 yards, 2 TDs
Heisman-o-meter: Quinn nickel-and-dimed the Black Knights to death (he had only one completion longer than 20 yards, a 24-yard touchdown pass to Rhema McKnight in which McKnight earned the last 15 yards himself), but that's because Army preferred to defend against the deep ball. He likely has already clinched an invite to New York, but I can't see any scenario on Saturday that would vault Quinn over Smith.
Up next: Saturday at No. 3 USC

3. Darren McFadden, Arkansas, RB, Soph.

Last week: 26 rushes, 84 yards; 1-of-1 passing, 16 yards; 2 kickoff returns, 94 yards, 1 TD in a 28-14 victory at Mississippi State
Season: 223 rushes, 1,303 yards, 12 TDs; 3-of-3 passing, 37 yards, 2 TDs; 8 receptions, 115 yards, 1 TD; 8 kickoff returns, 226 yards, 1 TD
Heisman-o-meter: A talented Bulldogs run defense stacked the line and slowed McFadden, who was playing without key blocking fullback Peyton Hills. D-Mac however still managed to impact the game with a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Last week I moved McFadden up to No. 3 because I didn't feel it was right to rank another running back ahead of him. But after Mike Hart's gutty effort against Ohio State, D-Mac will have to perform well the next two weeks to stay here.
Up next: Friday vs. No. 9 LSU

4. Mike Hart, Michigan, RB, Jr.

Last week: 23 rushes, 142 yards, 3 TDs; 2 receptions, 5 yards in a 42-39 loss at No. 1 Ohio State
Season: 301 rushes, 1,515 yards, 14 TDs; 15 receptions, 127 yards
Heisman-o-meter: Just when the Wolverines looked on the verge of losing touch with Ohio State, Hart came up with a huge run time after time. An interesting stat: No other Michigan back carried the ball for the Wolverines on the day. In other words, when it counted the most the boys in blue wanted Hart to have the ball. He still could end up No. 3 on this list depending on how McFadden finishes the year.
Up next: Regular season complete

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