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Race isn't over for Weinke, Heupel
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- In winning the Heisman Trophy, Florida State's Chris Weinke beat Oklahoma's Josh Heupel one-on-one.

But the real race, both quarterbacks know, won't finish until Jan. 3 -- when the Seminoles play the Sooners in the Orange Bowl with the national championship on the line.

"In the end, there was a lot made of the Heisman being a head-to-head race between me and Josh," Weinke said Sunday. "But what I have been focusing on is facing each other in the Orange Bowl."

With the 28-year-old St. Paul, Minn., native edging Heupel by 76 points in the Heisman balloting on Saturday night, the Orange Bowl has an added subplot -- it will be just the third time the Heisman winner and runner-up will play against each other in a postseason game.

The 1975 Rose Bowl matched '74 Heisman winner Archie Griffin of Ohio State against runner-up Anthony Davis of Southern California. The Trojans won 18-17 and claimed a share of the national title -- Oklahoma was the AP media poll champion; USC won the coaches poll.

In 1980, Heisman winner George Rogers of South Carolina faced Pittsburgh's Hugh Green, the runner-up, in the Gator Bowl. Pitt won 37-9.

For Heupel, a win would mean a perfect season and national championship for his top-ranked Sooners. Weinke, though, is confident his third-ranked Seminoles (11-1) will find a way to win.

"They are a good football team, and whether this will be motivation for them I don't know," Weinke said after becoming the oldest player to win the Heisman. "Nobody has found a way to beat them yet, but I'm sure we'll give it our best shot."

Heupel told Sooners fans not to be discouraged about his second-place Heisman finish.

"I would tell them to put a smile on their face and get ready for a trip to Miami," Heupel said.

In the seventh-closest voting in Heisman history, Weinke overcame an age issue that had some voters leaving his name off the ballot claiming he had an unfair advantage over his younger rivals.

"Everything that's happened is because of the experience I've gained, not the age I attained," Weinke said. "When I went back to football at Florida State, I was no better a quarterback at 24 than I was at 18."

Weinke, who led the nation with a school-record 4,167 yards passing and threw 33 touchdowns with 11 interceptions, totaled 1,628 points -- 369 first-place votes, 216 for second place and 89 for third. Heupel, who threw for 3,392 yards and 20 TDs, collected 1,552 points -- 286 first-place votes, 290 for second and 114 for third.

Of the 922 eligible Heisman voters, only 796, or 86.3 percent, cast ballots. Voters were asked to list their top three choices, with 3 points going for a first-place vote, 2 for second and 1 for third.

Weinke was left off 122 ballots, while Heupel was not among the top three on 106 ballots.

Purdue quarterback Drew Brees was a distant third with 619 points; and TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson was fourth with 566 points.

Prior to the Heisman, Heupel was voted player of year by The Associated Press, Walter Camp Foundation and The Sporting News; Weinke won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Davey O'Brien Award.

For now, the 6-foot-5, 229-pounder from Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minn., has the edge by winning college football's most coveted individual award, but Weinke knows a national title is the biggest prize of all.

"That's what matters most," Weinke said.

College Football Awards coverage

FSU's Weinke wins Heisman in closest vote since '89

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