Week 4 in the Heisman race says goodbye to some preseason Heisman favorites and introduces a couple of new faces from the state of Florida among others, although they probably should have gone in earlier. With week 5 just around the corner, the list should be a lot shorter come week 6.
The Top 10
Geno Smith, West Virginia
Maryland sure took it to the Mountaineers, who had gotten too comfy playing subpar opponents. Still, even on a night when WVU struggled on occasion, Smith was exceptional, throwing for 338 yards and 3 TDs, and still has to throw an interception this year. As of now he’s the odds-on favorite to take home the statuette.
Next Week: Baylor
Stats to Date: Passing 118-96-1072-12-0, Rushing 15-91-1.
Jonathan Franklin, UCLA
Franklin’s great start is almost a thing of the past as Oregon State’s stingy defense took him out of the game last weekend, holding him to a mere 45 yards on 12 carries as the Beavers knocked off the Bruins 27-20. Franklin’s hopes aren’t gone, but right now they’re tenuous at best.
Next Week: @ Colorado
Stats to Date: Rushing 78-586-3, Receiving 9-132-1.
Aaron Murray, Georgia
The biggest knock on Murray so far in the season has been his opposition, but he played his best game of the season against a Vanderbilt squad that had looked decent so far. Murray was very efficient, completing 18 of 24 passes for 250 yards and 2 scores and running for another as the Commodores looked all at sea in a 48-3 drubbing at the hands of the Bulldogs.
Next Week: Tennessee
Stats to Date: Passing 104-69-1092-10-2, Rushing 19-1-3.
Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
I noted back in week 1 that Lattimore was a little gimpy cutting off his bad knee, and his light workload so far makes me wonder whether he’s actually 100%. Spurrier does like to wing it and the QBs have been good, but Lattimore is the key to the offense and the best back in Columbia since George Rogers. I’m not giving up on him yet, as the schedule is getting tough, but I’m keeping my eye on his knee.
Next Week: @ Kentucky
Stats to Date: Rushing 69-320-6, Receiving 13-93-0.
De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
Quiet day at the office for Thomas as Arizona showed some toughness against the run and also limited him to 2 receptions. He did manage a 38-yard punt return, but finished with just 97 total yards. Another blowout meant he wasn’t really needed, but he needs to get back to his usual explosive self in Pullman this week to stay on track.
Next Week: @ Washington State
Stats to Date: Rushing 25-276-4, Receiving 13-165-3, Punt Returns 8-131-0, Total Yards 46-572-7.
Kenjon Barner, Oregon
Barner got 20 carries against the Wildcats, but a surprisingly staunch front 7 limited him to just 86 yards. There should be more room against WSU this week, and I’m far from concerned about Barner’s mediocre production this week. On a side note – opponents beware – Colt Lyerla was the best rusher on the day for the Ducks and gives them even more options on offense.
Next Week: @ Washington State
Stats to Date: Rushing 76-410-6, Receiving 8-74-0.
Denard Robinson, Michigan
Robinson’s final game against the Fighting Irish is one he may want to forget in a hurry. Maybe he was too busy contemplating all the nice presents he would get, seeing as it was his birthday (22), but he was far too generous to Notre Dame, gifting them 4 interceptions and a fumble in a 13-6 loss. As a result, Robinson’s off this list, but will have a nice career as a kick returner to look forward to.
Next Week: Bye (bye)
Stats to Date: Passing 99-54-837-6-8, Rushing 66-441-4.
Braxton Miller, Ohio State
Bye bye Shoelace, now it’s Miller time in the Big 10. The best chance for the conference to win a Heisman is the Buckeye sophomore, who’s been carrying the team on his back lately. It looks like the offense is starting to perform a little better, but that may just have been playing against UAB, but he’s still alive. Let’s see if we can say that after playing the nasty Spartan defense on Saturday.
Next Week: @ Michigan State
Stats to Date: Passing 98-60-754-7-2, Rushing 67-441-7.
Collin Klein, Kansas State
Last season Klein had the stats of a Heisman contender, but lacked the signature win. Now he has that as the Wildcats did a number over the Sooners (on the road) in a 24-19 win. Klein was efficient passing, throwing for 149 yards, but he also ran for 79 yards and a TD and was money in short yardage, including a key 3rd down conversion as K-State bled the final 4:09 away. He’s got to be in the running this year.
Next Week: Bye
Stats to Date: Passing 80-56-758-5-2, Rushing 63-289-5.
AJ McCarron, Alabama
I know I’m not going to regret putting him in the top 10, as all he’s done is be quietly efficient. When the votes start coming in at the end of the season, people are going to see his outstanding stats and look into his season a little closer. Of course, he can’t suck against LSU in Baton Rouge or it’s all over. Mark November 3rd on your calendar.
Next Week: Mississippi
Stats to Date: Passing 81-51-819-10-0, Rushing 15-(-39)-0.
Best of the Rest
Montee Ball, Wisconsin – He got knocked out scoring a TD in the first half against UTEP and finished with just 40 yards and that score. Gone! Next Week: @ Nebraska
Stats: Rushing 93-360-3, Receiving 7-49-0.
Matt Barkley, Southern California – After a great start he’s been far from stellar. USC beat Cal, but Barkley didn’t play particularly well. Matt, you’re off the list. Next Week: Bye
Stats: Passing 143-88-1005-12-5, Rushing 11-(-61)-0.
Robert Woods, Southern California – His talent is beyond question, but for whatever reason, he’s not getting it done. Gone! Next Week: Bye
Stats: Receiving 25-203-4, Rushing 1-76-0, Punt Returns 1-31-0.
Landry Jones, Oklahoma – He wasn’t playing well from the start, and the loss to Kansas State was the final nail in his coffin. He’s gone, Sooner rather than later (ba-doom-tish). Next Week: Bye
Stats: Passing 107-68-773-5-2, Rushing 6-(-50)-0.
Tyler Wilson, Arkansas – I said last week Wilson still had a slim chance. He was okay against Rutgers, but was shown up by Gary Nova in the loss. See ya! Next Week: Texas A&M
Stats: Passing 86-50-982-8-3, Rushing 5-5-0.
Knile Davis, Arkansas – It appears it’s not all Davis fault, but he’s not getting it done no matter how much the team struggles. You’re out! Next Week: Texas A&M
Stats: Rushing 64-208-2, Receiving 3-18-0.
Tajh Boyd, Clemson – Boyd was decent against Florida State, but couldn’t keep pace with EJ Manuel and the FSU offense. He’s still in the running, but has to start turning heads with his play. Next Week: @ Boston College
Stats: Passing 122-83-984-9-2, Rushing 45-119-0.
Sammy Watkins, Clemson – He did little against the Seminoles, apart from a pass to Andre Ellington, and he’s looking rusty. The next couple of games are vital. Next Week: @ Boston College
Stats: Receiving 10-76-0, Rushing 6-95-1, Passing 2-1-52-1-0, Kick Returns 4-57-0.
Andre Ellington, Clemson – He’s only averaging about 16 carries a game, and that just doesn’t give him the opportunity to showcase his talent fully. I’ll give him another week. Next Week: @ Boston College
Stats: Rushing 67-383-5, Receiving 4-87-1.
Rex Burkhead, Nebraska – In his first game back from injury, he didn’t see a whole lot of the ball, but he sure made the most of it. Just 8 carries, but 119 yards and 2 TDs shows he hasn’t lost it. He also caught a 25 yard pass. Next Week: Wisconsin
Stats: Rushing 11-187-3, Receiving 1-25-0.
Eddie Lacy, Alabama – He had his best game yet with 106 yards, but he’s not making people forget Trent Richardson any time soon. He’s hanging by a thread. Next Week: Mississippi
Stats: Rushing 45-232-4, Receiving 1-10-0.
Derek Carr, Fresno State – After shredding Colorado, he struggled a bit in the loss to Tulsa and may be slipping out of the public eye. Next Week: San Diego State
Stats: Passing 138-92-1063-9-1, Rushing 17-5-0.
Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State – Bell is back on track with an outstanding performance against a pesky Eastern Michigan squad that wouldn’t lie down. Bell finished with 253 yards and a score on 36 carries. Next Week: Ohio State
Stats: Rushing 117-610-5, Receiving 12-67-0, Punt Returns 3-18-0.
Nick Florence, Baylor – He’s been a little pick-happy with 4 in the last 2 games, but he’s bombing away and racking up the yards and TDs. A little more accuracy and he could jump up the list. Next Week: @ West Virginia
Stats: Passing 110-71-1004-11-4, Rushing 21-159-0.
New Kids on the Block
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame – It seems to be bad luck for most to appear on my list, but Te’o has had enough bad luck recently. He still plays with such intensity he’s almost single-handedly raised the Irish defense to championship levels. Shame he doesn’t play on offense. Next Week: Bye
Stats: 38 Tackles, 2 for Loss, 3 Interceptions, 2 PBUs, 1 Fumble Recovered, 3 QB Hurries.
Tavon Austin, West Virginia – Geno Smith may be getting all the headlines, but he’d be a lesser QB without Tavon Austin stepping it up when key plays are needed. Austin is a big play waiting to happen, capable of also doing damage as a runner and returner. At the rate he’s going, he could give Geno a run for his money when the votes are sent in. Next Week: Baylor
Stats: Receiving 34-345-5, Rushing 6-84-0, Kick Returns 3-63-0, Punt Returns 6-41-0, Total Yards 49-533-5.
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville – The Cardinals have been very good this year, especially on offense, and Bridgewater is the key. He’s been super-accurate and mobile enough to provide a threat on the ground. Next Week: @ Southern Mississippi
EJ Manuel, Florida State – The defense may be getting all the plaudits, but there’s a reason they’re averaging over 56 points per game. Manuel was just as good picking Clemson apart as he was little Savannah State; whether he can keep it up remains to be seen. Next Week: @ South Florida
Stats: Passing 94-69-905-8-1, Rushing 24-188-1.