Heisman Finalists Announced - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Heisman Finalists Announced

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NEW YORK (AP) - Ohio State's Troy Smith and Notre Dame's Brady Quinn were selected as finalists for the Heisman Trophy on Wednesday, along with Arkansas running back Darren McFadden.

Smith is the heavy favorite to win the award Saturday night in New York. The senior quarterback entered the season with plenty of Heisman hype and then backed it up with brilliant play for the unbeaten Buckeyes.

Smith is fourth in the nation in passer rating (167.9) and has thrown for 2,507 yards and 30 touchdowns with only five interceptions, leading Ohio State to the national title game against Florida on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.

Quinn, the senior quarterback, was fourth in Heisman voting last season and has thrown 35 touchdown passes in 2006. McFadden, a sophomore, scored 16 touchdowns and led Arkansas to the Southeastern Conference title game.

Smith grabbed the lead in the Heisman race early this season. In Ohio State's first No. 1 vs. No. 2 game of the season, he threw for 269 yards and two scores against Texas in September. He was even better in the Buckeyes' second 1-2 game, throwing for 316 yards and four touchdowns in the regular-season finale against Michigan.

Smith is trying to become the sixth player from Ohio State to win the Heisman and first since running back Eddie George in 1995. It would be the seventh time a Buckeye came away with the award. Ohio State's Archie Griffin is the only two-time Heisman winner.

If Quinn pulls the upset, he'd be the eighth player from Notre Dame to win and would break a tie with USC as the school with the most. Tim Brown was the last Fighting Irish player, taking home the trophy in 1987.

Smith or Quinn could snap a string of three consecutive years when a junior has won the Heisman. USC quarterback Carson Palmer was the last senior to win it.

Last season, Reggie Bush was the third consecutive junior to win the award and third USC player in four years.

Regardless of who wins, it won't be a Southern California player for the first time in three years. Matt Leinart won it the year before Bush.

Quinn holds 30 Notre Dame records. He has thrown for 3,278 yards and only five interceptions this season, leading the Fighting Irish to a 10-2 record and a berth in the Sugar Bowl.

McFadden's season started slowly. He injured his foot in a bar fight in July and began the season hobbled. When he was healthy, he was the focal point of the SEC's biggest surprise team. He finished the regular season with 1,558 yards rushing.

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