NEW YORK - Cam Newton captured the Heisman Trophy in a landslide vote Saturday, the expected result of a star-making season for the Auburn quarterback that saw doses of both on-field excellence and off-field controversy.
Newton easily beat out Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who finished second in the voting. Oregon running back LaMichael James was third and Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore finished fourth.
"It's a dream come true for me. It's something every child dreams of that plays the sport of football," Newton said. "I'm a living testimony that anything is possible."
He became the third Auburn player to earn college football's most prestigious award and the first since Bo Jackson did it in 1985. He joined 1971 winner Pat Sullivan as the only Tiger quarterbacks to claim the Heisman.
Newton spent the last part of his junior season dogged by questions about his eligibility and his father's role in a pay-for-play scandal. There were allegations, also, that he cheated as a student while playing for Florida.
On the field for Auburn, however, there was little question Newton was the nation's best player. The Heisman vote totals reflected that.
Newton was listed first on 729 ballots and earned 2,263 points, while Luck garnered 78 first-place votes and 1,079 total points.
James earned 22 first-place votes and 916 points for third place and Moore earned 40 first-place votes and 635 points. James earned more second- and third-place votes to come in ahead of Moore.
"It really hasn't sunk in," Newton said. "I'm pinching myself because I feel like I'm in a dream."
After Newton was cleared to play in the SEC Championship Game -- and, for that matter, to be a Heisman finalist -- he accounted for six touchdowns in Auburn's 56-17 rout of South Carolina for the conference title, giving the dynamic 6-foot-6 quarterback 49 touchdowns on the season.
The Tigers (13-0) are No. 1 in the AP poll and BCS standings and will play Oregon (12-0) for the national championship on January 10 -- a game that will feature Newton and the third-place Heisman finisher James.
"I want to give a special thanks to my teammates," Newton said. "Without those guys I wouldn't even be here right now getting the recognition."
Though none carry as much weight as the Heisman, Newton captured three other honors at the college football awards ceremony on Thursday night -- the Maxwell Award as the nation's top all-round player, the Walter Camp Award for player of the year and the Davey O'Brien Award as the nation's top quarterback.
However, he was left off the All-America Team announced by the Football Writers Association of American on Saturday. Instead, Moore was named the top quarterback by the organization.
A 21-year-old from College Park, Georgia, Newton was the ninth quarterback in the last 11 years to win the Heisman Trophy. Alabama running back Mark Ingram won it last year, while Reggie Bush forfeited the Heisman he won as a running back during USC's vacated 2005 season.
Once declared eligible by the NCAA, Newton was an overwhelming favorite to win the Heisman after putting up gaudy statistics for an Auburn team that was one of the best in the nation all season.
Wearing No. 2 for the Tigers, Newton passed for 2,589 yards and an Auburn single-season record 28 touchdowns while throwing six interceptions. He was also Auburn's leading rusher with 1,409 yards and a school-record 20 scores.
His 49th touchdown came on an acrobatic 20-yard catch in the end zone against Mississippi -- Newton lined up as a wide receiver on the play and scored despite being draped by an Ole Miss cornerback.
"Not only has Cam been the best player in college football this year, he has also been an incredible leader for our football team," said Auburn head coach Gene Chizik.
Newton choked up after mentioning his mother, and then his father, during his speech and was told to take his time by one of the former winners surrounding him on stage.
His father, Cecil Newton, did not attend Saturday night's ceremony at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square.
"My parents do a lot of things behind the scenes that go unnoticed," the quarterback said.