Here is the week 3 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
It was another highly-productive day for Mariota as he threw for 221 yards and rushed for 71 with four total touchdowns against Wyoming (he played a little over one half of the game). He continues to be the clear front runner in this race and it looks like he may not face a true challenge to this status until early November.
Season Stats: 50 of 71, 806 yards, 70.4%, 8 TDs, 0 INTs, 202.9 rating, 20 carries, 156 yards, 3 TDs
Season Pace: 3,497 passing yards, 35 TDs, 676 rushing yards, 13 TDs.
2. Todd Gurley, JR, RB, Georgia
The beauty of playing running back is that if your team loses, you don’t get as much blame as the quarterback. Gurley certainly did as much as he could do in Georgia’s 38-35 loss to South Carolina, carrying the ball 20 times for 131 yards and one touchdown. He’ll remain a strong contender for the Heisman as long as he continues to churn out this kind of production. But to actually win, he’s going to need a magical game or two against some ranked opponents down the road.
Season Stats: 35 carries, 329 yards, 9.4 YPC, 4 TDs, 5 receptions, -1 yards, 100 yard kickoff return for a TD.
Season Pace: 1,974 rushing yards, 24 touchdowns.
3. Nick Marshall, SR, QB, Auburn
Marshall’s team had off this past weekend, but he’ll have a shot at making a splash in front of a national TV audience when the Tigers take on Kansas State on Thursday night. This is an important game for Marshall’s Heisman hopes as he needs a big outing to get back on a strong statistical pace.
Season Stats: 15 of 25, 151 yards, 56%, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 119.9 rating, 19 carries, 122 yards, 2 TDs.
4. Everett Golson, SO, QB, Notre Dame
Golson continues to play at a high level as Notre Dame moved to 3-0 after beating Purdue, 30-14. He threw for 259 yards and two touchdowns and added 56 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He’s off to a great start, but circle October 4 (Stanford) and October 18 (Florida State) on the calendar. Those dates will be Golson’s Heisman proving ground.
Season Stats: 62 of 92, 780 yards, 64.6%, 7 TDs, 0 INTs, 156.8 rating, 83 rush yards, 4 TDs.
Season Pace: 3,120 passing yards, 28 TDs, 332 rushing yards, 16 TDs.
5. Trevor Knight, SO, QB, Oklahoma
Knight threw for 308 yards and a touchdown and also added a rushing touchdown in the Sooners’ 34-10 victory over Tennessee. The next four games against West Virginia, TCU, Texas and Kansas State should tell us if he’s going to have the combination of production and team success needed to validate this ranking.
Season Stats: 60 of 101, 860 yards, 59.4%, 4 TDs, 2 INT, 140.0 rating, 14 carries, 69 yards, 2 TD.
Season Pace: 3,444 passing yards, 16 TDs, 276 rushing yards, 8 TDs.
6. Kenny Hill, SO, QB, Texas A&M
Hill threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns in A&M’s 38-10 victory over Rice. It’s pretty clear at this point that Hill is on his way to a very productive season in Kevin Sumlin’s system. The only question is how he and his team will perform against the likes of Auburn, Alabama and LSU in the second half of the season.
Season Stats: 81 of 117, 1,094 yards, 69.2%, 11 TDs, 0 INTs, 178.8 rating, 49 rush yards.
Season Pace: 4,368 passing yards, 44 TD passes, 196 rushing yards.
7. Bryce Petty, SR, QB, Baylor
Petty did exactly what he needed to do to stay in the Heisman race, throwing for 416 yards and four touchdowns in Baylor’s 63-21 win over Buffalo on Friday. If he can build on this game and go on a tear against the next five opponents, it will set the stage for a huge Heisman death match with Trevor Knight and Oklahoma.
Season Stats: 36 of 57, 577 yards, 63.2%, 6 TDs, 0 INTs, 182.9 rating, 4 carries, 32 yards, 1 TD.
Season Pace: 3,179 passing yards, 33 TDs, 176 rushing yards, 6 TDs.
8. Taysom Hill, JR, QB, BYU
The Mormon Manziel continues to impress in the air and on the ground. He threw for 200 yards, rushed for 160 and had two total touchdowns in BYU’s 33-25 win over Houston. His accuracy has really improved this year. It looks like the Cougars have a good shot at going undefeated, which means if Hill’s production continues at this pace, he stands a good shot at getting to New York.
Season Stats: 67 of 98, 689 yards, 68.4%, 4 TDs, 3 INT, 134.8 rating, 62 carries, 356 rush yards, 6 TDs.
Season Pace: 2,760 passing yards, 16 TDs, 1,428 rushing yards, 24 TDs.
9. Ameer Abdullah, SR, RB, Nebraska
Abdullah rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in Nebraska’s 55-10 thrashing of Fresno State. There just aren’t that many marquee opponents on the Cornhusker schedule, so Abdullah is going to have to make the most of every opportunity. Some voters might perk up a bit if he has big games against Miami and Michigan State in the next few weeks.
Season Stats: 57 carries, 396 yards, 6.95 YPC, 3 TDs, 4 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD.
Season Pace: 1,584 yards, 12 TDs, 16 catches, 420 yards, 4 TDs.
10. Melvin Gordon, JR, RB, Wisconsin
Gordon and Wisconsin had off last week and will now face a very soft stretch in the schedule. At this point, Gordon needs to churn out yards and touchdowns like there’s no tomorrow to steal some of the spotlight away from Todd Gurley.
Season Stats: 33 carries, 178 yards, 5.4 YPC, 1 TD, 4 receptions, 22 yards, 1 TD.