FSU’s Winston Wins Heisman, Lynch Finishes 3rd

By Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune reporter10:19 p.m. CST, December 14, 2013

NEW YORK — Jordan Lynch said he came to New York to win. In some ways he did.

As expected, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston won the Heisman Trophy over Lynch and four other finalists Saturday. Winston is only the second freshman to win, following in the footsteps of last season’s winner, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, a finalist again this year.

Northern Illinois’ Lynch finished third in voting behind Winston and Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. Lynch received 40 first-place votes and finished with 558 points.

His finish tied for the highest in the BCS era by a player from a non-automatic-qualifying conference. Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was third in 2007. Lynch was also the highest finisher among Mid-American Conference finalists, placing higher than Marshall’s Randy Moss (fourth in 1997) and Chad Pennington (fifth in 1999).

Winston, at 19 the youngest player to win the Heisman, finished with 668 first-place votes and 2,205 points. He was left off 115 ballots.

McCarron received 79 first-place votes and 704 points. Boston College running back Andre Williams was fourth, Manziel fifth and Auburn running back Tre Mason sixth.

All week Lynch said he was in New York with the intention of winning.

“There is no losing,” Jim Lynch, Jordan’s father, said before the ceremony. “This is a big win for Jordan. This is a big win for Northern Illinois. This is a big win for the MAC. You couldn’t ask for more.”

Jordan Lynch said he understood this was a life-changing moment. A two-star recruit from Mount Carmel who was universally overlooked except by the Huskies, he knows his journey wasn’t typical of a Heisman candidate.

“I came here to win it,” Lynch said. “I’m a winner. I don’t like to lose anything.”

After noting the high finish for a MAC player, Lynch said, “I guess we’ll take that.”

Lynch bought only the second suit he owns shortly after he was named a finalist. He had an outline of an acceptance speech prepared.

He won major points for crowning Chicago over New York as the king of pizzas on the ESPN broadcast. He sat next to Barry Sanders during the ceremony.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.

Winston set freshman records with 3,820 passing yards and 38 touchdown passes and has guided the No. 1 Seminoles to the national championship game. The only negatives surrounding him came off the field.

An investigation of a sexual battery allegation ended without charges filed, days before voters’ ballots were due.

“It feels great to be part of the (Heisman) family,” Winston said afterward. “I cannot explain the feeling I have inside.”

Lynch’s family absorbed the Heisman experience, but Jordan didn’t enjoy the pre-Heisman events as much as his parents did. His father, the ultimate tourist, captured on his smart phone almost every sight in Times Square — including his son getting sick Friday night in the hotel.

“He let loose in the hallway,” Jim Lynch said. “I got pictures of it, though. I’m not missing a beat.”

While Jordan was recovering from a 24-hour virus, his parents snapped photos with former winners Archie Griffin, Tony Dorsett, Tim Brown, Ty Detmer and Johnny Lattner, whom Jordan met as a sixth-grader.

Lynch, who has lost only three games in two seasons as the Huskies’ starter, said he knows he’s returning to DeKalb having achieved something.

“Being here and just putting Northern Illinois and the Mid-American Conference on the map and helping out getting recruits here and seeing my name on ESPN,” he said. “I guess it is a win.”

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