Here is the week 2 edition of the 2014 HP Heisman Watch. After taking into account the games played so far, these are the players who have the best chance of actually winning the Heisman. This is not a prediction of the final order of the race, nor is it an endorsement of who would or should win if the vote were held today. It’s a long view of the race that takes into account schedule and statistical trends.
1. Marcus Mariota, JR, QB, Oregon
Mariota is the strong leader in the Heisman race after leading Oregon to an impressive 46-27 victory over Michigan State. Mariota was 17 of 28 for 318 yards and three touchdowns (with no interceptions). He also rushed for 42 yards on nine carries. This kind of performance against such an elite defense gives him a potential trump card against his competition down the road. If he maintains his production and finally leads Oregon to a win over Stanford, he could cruise to the Heisman.
Season Stats: 31 of 48, 585 yards, 64.6%, 6 TDs, 0 INTs, 208.2 rating, 15 carries, 85 yards, 1 TD
2. Todd Gurley, JR, RB, Georgia
Gurley had off this week but moved up as the result of others moving down. He could further solidify his status as the main challenger to Mariota with a big game against South Carolina on Saturday.
Season Stats: 15 carries, 198 yards, 13.2 YPC, 3 TDs, 1 reception, -5 yards, 100 yard kickoff return for a TD.
3. Nick Marshall, SR, QB, Auburn
Marshall moved back into his starter’s spot at Auburn and led the Tigers to a 59-13 crushing of San Jose State. He threw for 101 yards and a touchdown and also added 103 rushing yards and a score. He’ll have his first chance to make some Heisman waves next Thursday when Auburn takes on Kansas State on the road.
Season Stats: 15 of 25, 151 yards, 56%, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 119.9 rating, 19 carries, 122 yards, 2 TDs.
4. Trevor Knight, SO, QB, Oklahoma
Knight was 21 of 34 for 299 yards and two touchdowns as Oklahoma beat Tulsa, 52-7. He also rushed for 35 yards and a score. The next two games against Tennessee and West Virginia should provide an opportunity to gain some early traction in the race.
Season Stats: 40 of 68, 552 yards, 58.8%, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 138.8 rating, 9 carries, 52 yards, 1 TD.
5. Everett Golson, SO, QB, Notre Dame
It’s been eight years since an Irish quarterback was in the Heisman mix and Golson is playing like he wants to break that string. He went 23 of 34 for 226 yards and three touchdowns in Notre Dame’s 31-0 whipping of Michigan. Games against Stanford and Florida State in October should determine his ultimate Heisman fate, but he’s off to a nice start.
Season Stats: 37 of 56, 521 yards, 66.1%, 5 TDs, 0 INTs, 173.6 rating, 27 rush yards, 3 TDs.
6. Brett Hundley, JR, QB, UCLA
The Bruins have looked far from sharp, which might not portend well for Hundley’s Heisman hopes. Nonetheless, he threw for 396 yards and three touchdowns on 33 of 44 passing against Memphis and remains a legitimate contender. Looming games against Texas, ASU and Oregon should tell us a lot more about the Bruins and their star quarterback.
Season Stats: 53 of 77, 638 yards, 68.8%, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 148.6 rating, 65 rush yards, 1 TD.
7. Ameer Abdullah, SR, RB, Nebraska
The argument that Nebraska should not have been struggling with McNeese State is besides the point. Abdullah’s remarkable catch and run with seconds to play saved the Cornhuskers from an embarrassing defeat. Great players make great plays at crucial moments and that’s what Abdullah did. He was held to 54 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, but he did catch three passes for 96 yards (and the decisive score) and also returned a kickoff 34 yards.
Season Stats: 38 carries, 286 yards, 7.53 YPC, 2 TDs, 4 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD.
8. Javorius Allen, JR, RB, USC
Allen had a career-high 154 yards to help lead the Trojans to a mild upset of Stanford in Palo Alto. It looks like Allen has the potential to be the most productive USC running back since Reggie Bush. If he manages to break off big games against the likes of UCLA and Notre Dame at season’s end, he’ll probably be in the Heisman mix.
Season Stats: 45 carries, 287 yards, 6.4 YPC, 1 TD, 1 reception, 23 yards.
9. Kenny Hill, SO, QB, Texas A&M
Hill went 17 of 26 for 283 yards and four touchdowns in a 73-3 laugher against Lamar. The next four games should be relatively smooth sailing for the Aggies…and then the fun begins. Matchups with Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn, Missouri and LSU will be quite the gauntlet for Hill. If he makes it to New York, he will have earned it.
Season Stats: 61 of 86, 794 yards, 71%, 7 TDs, 0 INTs, 11 rush yards.
10. Taysom Hill, JR, QB, BYU
Hill threw for 181 yards and rushed for 99 yards and three scores in BYU’s 41-7 romp over Texas. Hill’s continued improvement as a passer plus his running ability makes him a very intriguing candidate. Unfortunately, the Cougars don’t have any marquee opponents left on their slate, so Hill’s production is going to have to speak for itself.
Season Stats: 46 of 63, 489 yards, 73%, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 36 carries, 196 rush yards, 5 TDs.
11. Melvin Gordon, JR, RB, Wisconsin
Gordon needs to rush for 2,000 yards to have a shot at the Heisman, so getting 38 yards on 17 carries against Western Illinois isn’t going to help his cause much. It could well be that Gordon is not 100%, so that could hamper his production moving forward.
Season Stats: 33 carries, 178 yards, 5.4 YPC, 1 TD, 4 receptions, 22 yards, 1 TD.
12. Bryce Petty, SR, QB, Baylor
It’s going to be hard for Petty to win the Heisman after missing what amounts to 1.5 games so far this season. He sat out Baylor’s win over Northwestern State due to a cracked vertebrae and will return to action this Friday against Buffalo. But he’ll need to go on a major tear to get back in the race. Of course, this is quite possible given his talent and the system in which he plays, but the margin for error is pretty thin.
Season Stats: 13 of 23, 161 yards, 56.5%, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 2 carries, 21 yards, 1 TD.