Nearing the midpoint in the schedule for most schools, the battle for the coveted Heisman Trophy is as close as it was when the season began. The top candidates have remained fairly constant, as each has lived up to and, in many cases, exceeded the pre-season hype. Coming off a bye week following a huge home victory over Nebraska, Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson has more than asserted himself as a serious contender for the honor. Despite a disappointing loss to Kansas State, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III continues to post video game numbers for the twentieth-ranked Bears. On the other hand, due to some lackluster statistical performances, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones’ Heisman hype has subsided significantly. However, if the Sooners continue their winning trend and Jones makes better decisions in the pocket (as was the Case in their 55-17 drubbing of Texas Saturday), the senior will be right back in the hunt.
In this edition of the Heisman update, we will recap the primary candidates’ weekend performances, as well as profile one of the most notable players aside from the top five. Without further ado, the midseason Heisman update:
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
In a blowout victory over a miserable Colorado Buffaloes squad, Luck reminded all of us why he’s considered the country’s best pro prospect. The senior racked up 370 yards and three touchdowns in the 48-7 rout despite sitting the majority of the fourth quarter. Luck’s three scores gives him 11 for the season to go along with over 1,000 yards passing. He did throw his second interception of the year (on a tipped ball, nonetheless), but if history is any indicator, there will not be many more (just 12 in his first two seasons combined).
Robert Griffin, QB, Baylor
The loss to Kansas State certainly did not help Griffin’s argument, but looking beyond the final score, Griffin played an overall brilliant game, completing 23 of 31 passes for 346 yards and five touchdowns. However, the Wildcats contained Griffin on the ground (twelve carries for six yards), something Iowa State was not able to do this past weekend. In a 49-26 victory, Griffin rushed for 107 yards, adding 212 through the air. While, statistically, Griffin holds the advantage (1308 yards, 18 touchdowns, 1 interception) over the other candidates, the question of the importance of team success must be raised.
Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
The only top candidate with a bye this weekend, Wilson and the fourth-ranked Badgers got a well-deserved break after pounding then-eighth-ranked Nebraska at Camp Randall the previous Saturday. The game was yet another coming-out party for college football’s newest superstar. Wilson spearheaded the Badgers’ 31-point victory over the Huskers, passing for 255 yards and recording three scores, one coming on the ground. His nearly-1,400 passing yards and 75% completion rate (up from 58% in his final season at NCST) are impressive, especially for a quarterback in a very run-focused offense.
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Richardson is the biggest name on arguably the best team in the country, which, historically, works in his favor. While the junior has not put up overly-impressive numbers, his dependability and knack for finding the end zone keep him the favorite non-quarterback for the award. In defeating Vanderbilt Saturday, Richardson recorded his tenth rushing touchdown on the year, already eclipsing his 2010 total. Riding a streak of five consecutive 100-yard games, Richardson and the Tide are playing well heading into a tough stretch of conference games, including a November fifth showdown with top-ranked LSU.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
Moore has become a mainstay on any Heisman contender list, and rightfully so. In a 57-7 romp of Fresno State, Moore threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns in limited action. The senior signal-caller has led the Broncos to a 5-0 start with several sizable statistical games, including a 455-yard, 5 touchdown performance in a win over Toledo in week three.
On the Outside Looking In:
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Case Keenum, QB, Houston
Darron Thomas, QB, Oregon
Closer Look: Marcus Lattimore
Only a sophomore, the South Carolina running back is enjoying another stellar statistical year for a strong, but inconsistent Gamecocks team. Following a disappointing loss to Auburn in Columbia where Lattimore was held to just 66 yards on the ground, he responded with 102 versus Vanderbilt on Saturday. The 6’1”, 230-pound bruiser has been punishing opposing defenses thus far, most notably racking up 246 yards and three touchdowns against Navy in week three. His 677 yards are good for third in the country, while his 9 rushing scores trail only Richardson for first in the SEC. Lattimore possesses arguably the most raw talent of any player in the country, but the question of whether his supporting cast can get the job done remains. With instability at the quarterback position and a tough schedule looming (including showdowns with Arkansas, Florida, and Clemson), the Gamecocks and their star running back will have their hands full. However, the kid who some are lauding as the best pro prospect since a guy named Adrian Peterson will surely do his part.