Matt Leinart Wins 2004 Heisman Trophy Award
Dec. 11, 2004
RALPH D. RUSSO
NEW YORK - Matt Leinart replaced a Heisman Trophy winner and became one himself.
The Southern California quarterback won college football's most prestigious individual award Saturday night, beating out Oklahoma teammates Adrian Peterson and Jason White, last year's winner.
In 2002, Carson Palmer won the Heisman as a senior with the Trojans. Leinart succeeded the first overall pick in the NFL draft with a splendid sophomore season that set him up as the preseason favorite this year.
Leinart has delivered, throwing for 2,990 yards and 28 TDs and leading the top-ranked Trojans to a 12-0 regular season.
The junior is USC's sixth Heisman winner, tying the Trojans with Ohio State for second-most behind Notre Dame's seven.
Peterson, the freshman tailback, was second, White was third, Utah quarterback Alex Smith was fourth and Leinart's teammate Reggie Bush was fifth in the voting.
Leinart and Bush will compete against Peterson and White again on Jan. 4 in the Orange Bowl. The winner of that contest takes home the national title. It'll be the first time two players with Heisman trophies have played each other.