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December 11, 2004Junior quarterback Matt Leinart became the 6th USC Trojan to take home college football's most prestigious individual award, the Heisman Trophy. Leinart won what was expected to be one of the tightest Heisman races ever, beating out a very talented field including his teammate, sophomore all-purpose back Reggie Bush.
This year there could have been history made before Leinart pulled out the victory. Jason White could have been the second person ever to win back-to-back Heismans. Reggie Bush could have been the first player to not start on his team and win and also be the first sophomore to win. Adrian Peterson could have been the first freshman to win.
The 95% voter turnout was an all-time high for a Heisman vote. All five finalists were from undefeated teams, which was a Heisman first.
Another interesting aspect of this Heisman race was that the five finalists all have connections to at least one of the other finalists. Jason White and Adrian Peterson are current teammates at Oklahoma, Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart are teammates at USC and Bush and Alex Smith were teammates in high school.
Leinart was in New York this weekend to accept the award. He was joined by his family, sports information director Tim Tessalone and a couple of teammates. Bush was there obviously but quarterbacks Brandon Hance and Billy Hart came along for support as well.
With Matt winning the Heisman it also makes the Orange Bowl match-up with Oklahoma a one of a kind game. For the first time in history two Heisman winners will actually play against each other on the field after they have won the award.