The popular baseball saying goes, “you can’t win the championship in April, but you can lose it”. The same goes for the Heisman candidates in September.
Voters may forget come December that Marcus Lattimore only ran for 110 yards on the first Thursday of the season but they will remember that Denard Robinson was intercepted two times and shut down on the ground. September is about proving yourself competent and able to live up to the offseason hype. Matt Barkley and Aaron Murray did just that.
Geno Smith on the other hand is trying to win our September Heisman.
Smith was the driving force behind West Virginia’s dismantling of in-state “rival” Marshall. He threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns on 32-36 passing and added 65 yards and a score on the ground. Smith was already third in the CBSsports/Heismanpundit.com preseason Heisman straw poll, behind Barkley and Montee Ball but after Ball’s lackluster performance against Northern Iowa, expect Smith to jump to number two.
A couple other efforts stood out this weekend. UCLA’s Jonathan Franklin had arguably the best rushing game of the weekend. Franklin scored three touchdowns and ran for 241 yards on only 15 carries.
Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell also rushed for over 200 yards and had two touchdowns against a much tougher opponent but needed 44 attempts and only averaged 4.8 yards per attempt (to Franklin’s 14.3).
–By my count there were six teams that looked less than impressive in winning its debut game: Stanford, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
–Houston, winners of 13 games last year, lost to the Texas State Bobcats. This was the first game Texas State ever played as a member of the FBS. Not a bad way to start a program.
–In 2010 Oregon went nearly four games averaging a point a minute. Through the first 23 minutes of their game against Arkansas State, the Ducks were averaging over two points a minute. (Oregon settled for 57 points in 60 minutes)
–The three quarterbacks who threw for more then 400 yards on Saturday all lost (Chase Rettig of Boston College, Rakeem Cato of Marshall and Ryan Nassib of Syracuse).
–The Oklahoma State-Savannah State betting line was 62 points, one of the highest in recorded history. The Cowboys covered the spread in rushing touchdowns alone. Next up for Savannah Sate? A small school in Tallahassee called Florida State.