Young Second To One In Heisman

NEW YORK CITY -- Texas junior QB Vince Young finished runner-up to Southern Cal RB Reggie Bush at the annual Heisman Memorial Trophy presentation here Saturday. It marks the highest finish by a Longhorn underclassman in the 71-year history of the award.

Yet, a somber Young spoke not of his season-long accomplishments but of the disappointment that he assumed his second-place finish generated among teammates and fans.

"Right now, I feel like I let the guys down," he said. "I feel like I let down my family and I feel like I let down our fans. I feel like I let down the city of Austin and I let down the city of Houston. That's just the way I am."

Bush is the seventh Trojan to win the Heisman but the third in the past four seasons. He was the top choice in all six geographical regions on the strength of 784 first-place votes. His 2,541 points represented 91.7 percent of the maximum possible total, the highest percentage in Heisman history. Southern Cal QB Matt Leinart, the 2004 Heisman winner, put up better on-the-field numbers than last season but tallied just 18 first-place votes and 797 points in this year's Heisman balloting.

Young received 79 first place votes and finished with 1,608 points. VY received the third-most points for a Heisman runner-up while receiving the most second-place votes (613) in the history of the award. As expected, Young's strongest showing was in the Southwest region where he still trailed Bush in the point total, 416 to 307.

The quick trip to New York allowed for a family reunion and needed rest, Young said. It also gave a him a chance to become acquainted with Leinart and Bush ("Matt is a real funny guy but Reggie, he's more soft-spoken. He hardly says a word.") whom he will face when Texas meets USC for the BCS national title on January 4. Earlier in the day, VY attended the first period of Texas' basketball loss to Duke in East Rutherford, N.J., did some shopping and then checked in with roommate Selvin Young to see how the Horns' first practice of the bowl season went Saturday.

"Selvin said it went well," Young said, "but I'm looking forward to getting back and practicing with the team."

On Thursday, Young received the Maxwell Award (nation's top collegiate player) and the Davey O'Brien Award (nation's top collegiate QB) in Orlando, Fla. He is the first Longhorn underclassman to garner the coveted Heisman invitation since junior All-American FB Roosevelt Leaks finished third in 1973. Leaks was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame here on Tuesday.

It's been suggested that Young more likely would have won an award honoring college football's most 'valuable' player rather than the Heisman's emphasis on the most 'outstanding' player.

"That's the decision of the guys who make the votes," Young said.

There's no question that Young produced Heisman-like numbers this season. His 2,769 passing yards, 850 rushing and 35 TDs (26 passing, nine rushing) are statistically superior to even a couple recent Heisman winners: Nebraska's Eric Crouch in 2001 and Florida State's Charlie Ward in 1993.

Despite the revolving door at RB and a cadre of WRs that were unproven just three months ago, the Texas offense was typically unstoppable until coaches replaced starters midway through the third quarter. With Young behind center, the Horns generated an NCAA-leading 50.9 ppg while the 508.9 ypg -- rated No. 3 nationally at season's end -- is on pace to shatter the standard set by the 1969 national champs.

"Vince Young is a real special player and it could have gone either way," Leinart said. "I got to know him the last few days. He's a great player, a great leader and he may be back here next season and get the Trophy."

Young said the runner-up finish does not factor into his previously announced decision to return for his senior year ("That wasn't about winning one award") but that it might serve as an incentive during the Rose Bowl.

"It gives me a little bit of an edge," he said. "I'm going to go on, work hard and get prepared for January 4.

Young brings a program-best 29-2 record to the Rose Bowl, having passed legendary Bobby Layne's UT record for most program wins. VY's .935 winning percentage is the sixth best in NCAA history. VY owns the school record for career total offense (8,705) and set a new UT mark for single-season yardage (3,624) in 2005. Young is responsible for a school record 78 TDs, and is one passing TD away from a school-record 27th. Young broke his own school record for completion percentage when Texas played CU on October 15 by going 25-of-29 (86.2 percent). During a 12-0 campaign, the QB with the quirky release became the man with the golden arm and now owns the nation's top passer rating at 168.8.

"I can't say enough about Vince Young," Bush said. "He's a great athlete and he can hurt you in a lot of ways."

Yet, it was clear that Young was the one hurting following the announcement. Leinart and Bush mingled extensively with members of the media following a brief press conference while Young quickly departed the Times Square locale.


NAME.......................SCHOOL.....TOTAL POINTS

Reggie Bush............ USC................2,541

Vince Young............Texas..............1,608

Matt Leinart ............USC................797

Brady Quinn............Notre Dame..191

Michael Robinson...Penn State......49

A.J. Hawk.................Ohio State......29

DeAngelo Harris.....Memphis.........26

Drew Olson..............UCLA..............21

Jerome Harrison......Wash. State....20

Elvis Dumervil..........Louisville........9

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