NEW YORK — Jameis Winston left voters no choice but to give him the Heisman Trophy.
The Florida State quarterback became the second straight freshmen to win the Heisman on Saturday night, earning college football’s most prestigious individual award with a performance so spectacular and dominant that even a criminal investigation couldn’t derail his candidacy.
Winston received 668 first-place votes and 2,205 points to finish 1,501 points ahead of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron for the seventh-largest margin of victory in Heisman history. Winston was left off 115 ballots altogether.
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch finished third, followed by Boston College’s Andre Williams, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Auburn’s Tre Mason.
Manziel was the first freshman to win the Heisman, and Winston made it two in the 79-year history of the award. Winston also is the youngest winner at 23 days short of 20.
Winston is the nation’s top-rated passer and has led the top-ranked Seminoles to the BCS championship game against No. 2 Auburn on his birthday, Jan. 6.
The 19-year-old also was investigated last month for a year-old sexual assault, but no charges were filed and the case was closed four days before Heisman votes were due.