USC running back Reggie Bush has used his speed and array of deceptive moves on the football field all season to run away from would-be...

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NEW YORK — USC running back Reggie Bush has used his speed and array of deceptive moves on the football field all season to run away from would-be tacklers and leave them in his wake.

Saturday night, Bush again left the competition far behind and became the 71st winner of the Heisman Trophy, college football’s most prestigious individual honor, in one of the largest runaway victories in history.

Bush is the seventh USC player, and the third Trojan in four years, to be recognized as the best football player in the country. He was announced as the winner over Texas quarterback Vince Young and USC quarterback Matt Leinart during a nationally televised ceremony from the Nokia Theater in Times Square.

Bush bowed his head, hugged Leinart, the 2004 Heisman winner, before Bush stood and embraced his mother, stepfather and brother.

“Oh man, this is amazing,” Bush said after he stepped onto a stage full of former Heisman winners.

Bush won the Heisman by sweeping all six regions and securing the largest percentage (87.9) of first-place votes in history. Bush received 784 first-place votes from 892 media members and former Heisman winners. Bush’s name appeared on a record 99 percent of the ballots.

O.J. Simpson’s 855 first-place votes in 1968, when more voted, remain a Heisman record.

Bush finished with 2,541 points, and Young with 1,608. Leinart had 797 and lost his bid to become only the second two-time Heisman winner. Ohio State running back Archie Griffin won in 1974 and 1975.

Bush, a 20-year-old junior from San Diego, delivered an emotional speech. He fought back tears when acknowledging his stepfather, LaMar Griffin.

“You took me in at the age of 2,” Bush said, pausing to collect his emotions. “It takes a man to do something like that.”

USC is tied with Notre Dame for the most winners in the history of an award that has been presented by New York’s Downtown Athletic Club since 1935.

Bush helped restore USC’s proud tradition of producing outstanding running backs. The school had four Heisman-winning tailbacks and two others who finished as the runner-up between 1965 and 1981.

Running back Mike Garrett was USC’s first Heisman winner in 1965. Simpson won in 1968, Charles White in 1979 and Marcus Allen in 1981.

USC went more than two decades without another Heisman winner until Carson Palmer became the first USC quarterback to win in 2002. Leinart took home the 25-pound bronze statuette last year — Bush was fifth in balloting — and Leinart was third behind Bush and Young this year.

Bush, Young and Leinart will be on the same field on Jan. 4 when top-ranked USC plays second-ranked Texas in the Rose Bowl, this season’s Bowl Championship Series title game.

Leinart said Bush fit “the perfect description of a Heisman Trophy winner” and praised his teammate’s humble nature and work ethic.

“I think the right guy won,” Leinart said.


• The original plaster cast of the Heisman Trophy, the model used for the award, sold at auction in New York for $228,000. The cast was put up for sale by the family of Frank Eliscu, the artist who came up with the familiar design in 1935 for a $200 commission.

Heisman voting
Voting for the Heisman Trophy, with first-, second- and third-place votes and total points (voting on 3-2-1 basis):
Player, School 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Reggie Bush, USC 784 89 11 2,541
Vince Young, Texas 79 613 145 1,608
Matt Leinart, USC 18 147 449 797
Brady Quinn, Notre Dame 7 21 128 191
Michael Robinson, Penn St. 2 7 29 49
A.J. Hawk, Ohio St. 0 3 23 29
DeAngelo Williams, Memphis 1 2 19 26
Drew Olson, UCLA 1 2 14 21
Jerome Harrison, Wash St. 0 4 12 20
Elvis Dumervil, Louisville 0 0 9 9
The Associated Press