December 7, 2006

Quinn beats out Smith for Maxwell Award

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Brady Quinn took this round from Troy Smith.

The Notre Dame quarterback won the Maxwell Award as the player of the year Thursday night, beating out Ohio State's Smith, the Heisman Trophy favorite.

Quinn, Smith and Arkansas running back Darren McFadden are the finalists for the Heisman, which will be handed out Saturday night in New York.

"Winning this award makes me look forward to Saturday night that much more," Quinn said. "When you go back and look at it, the so-called rivalry between me and Troy pretty much began with last year's Fiesta Bowl. Things just kind of went on from there. He and Darren (McFadden) have both had great seasons, and we've done pretty well for ourselves. We'll just see what happens in New York."

Smith won the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's best quarterback at the College Football Awards show and earlier in the day was honored as player of the year by the Walter Camp Foundation.

"I am extremely overwhelmed and at a loss for words right now," said Smith, who led the top-ranked Buckeyes to a berth in the BCS national championship game against Florida on Jan. 8. "I can remember last year Vince Young clutching the Davey O'Brien Award and it meant so much to him. When you add the Walter Camp Award to that, it's amazing.

"Vince's team went on to win the national championship after he won the Davey O'Brien, and that's exactly what I'm looking to do. There's nothing wrong with leaving legacies like that."

The Big Ten offensive player of the year, Smith led Ohio State to a 12-0 record with 2,740 total yards. He threw a school-record 30 touchdown passes and led the Big Ten in passing efficiency.

Quinn passed for 3,278 and 35 touchdowns this season, leading the Fighting Irish (10-2) to a Sugar Bowl bid. Notre Dame will face LSU on Jan. 3 in New Orleans.

He is the fifth Notre Dame player to win the Maxwell and first since defensive lineman Ross Browner in 1977.

Rutgers tailback Ray Rice was the other finalists for the Maxwell Award.

McFadden, a sophomore who led Arkansas to the Southeastern Conference title game, won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best running back. He is the first SEC player to win the award since Georgia's Garrison Hearst in 1992.

"This is a tremendous honor because I know there are a lot of great running backs out there," said McFadden, the first Arkansas player to win the Doak Walker Award. "It means a whole to me because in the SEC, it's hard to rack up yards. It just shows how big of an accomplishment it is."

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano was chosen as The Home Depot Coach of the Year for turning around the Scarlet Knights (10-2).

"We've wanted to change the culture at Rutgers, not just on the football field, but with the university as well," Schiano said. "I think we've been able to do that."

Penn State's Paul Posluszny was the only repeat winner from 2005. For the second straight year, the Nittany Lions linebacker won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation's best defensive player.

"I think it shows a lot about the defense that we play at Penn State," Posluszny said. "My teammate, Dan Connor, was also very deserving of the award. To win it twice and to be put in the same category as Pat Fitzgerald (the awards only other two-time winner), it's amazing."

Other award winners were: Joe Thomas, Wisconsin, Outland Trophy (best interior linemen); Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech, Biletnikoff (best wide receiver); Aaron Ross, Texas, Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back); Patrick Willis, Ole Miss, Butkus Award (best linebacker); Art Carmody, Louisville, Lou Groza Award (best kicker); and Daniel Sepulveda, Baylor, Ray Guy Award (best punter).

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