A lot has changed in college football in the last few weeks, so it is time for another Heisman Watch. Here are the players who are leading the way in the Heisman race:
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Michigan’s offense may not be very good, but there defense is. Saquon Barkley had another big game in prime time to enhance his case for the Heisman. Barkley totaled 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground with 53 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. He made highlight plays with a long touchdown catch that he bobbled then caught and a lot of good runs.
This was the performance that Barkley was missing last year to be in the Heisman race. He had a big game against a decent team that has a great defense. Now he has created an even bigger gap between him and the rest of the pack. Barkley could get to over 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards with a strong finish.
Barkley has two more tough games in a row to help his case even more. If Barkley can play well against Ohio State and Michigan State, he will virtually have the Heisman locked up.
Stats: 757 rushing yards, 448 receiving yards, 13 total touchdowns
2. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
Love is still being overlooked, but one look at his stat line will make people see how historic his season has been so far. His last game came in week seven against Oregon, which was his worst performance of the season. He still managed to rush for 147 yards and two touchdowns. With some bad Pac-12 defenses still left to play, Love’s stats can get even better over the back stretch of the season.
Stanford losing two early games has hurt Love’s case, but they are coming on now. He needs to have some big games in prime time to close the gap on Barkley. Love will have a few big games to help his case, but is hard for any non-USC player to win the award from the west coast. Love has a chance to break the NCAA single season rushing record if he can have some big games down the stretch. Barry Sanders has the record at 2,628 rushing yards, so Love has to pick up the pace a little bit and have a few postseason games to reach the mark.
Washington State, Washington and Notre Dame should all be big games for Love to make his mark the rest of the way.
Stats: 1,387 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards, 11 total touchdowns
3. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
Adams was highlighted as a result of the Fighting Irish’s big win over the USC Trojans. He was able to put on a show with his 191 rushing yards and three touchdowns. A lot of credit needs to be given to the Notre Dame offensive line, which is one of the best in college football, but Adams is the guy benefiting from their great play.
This season Adams has averaged 9.2 yards per carry, which ranks second nationally behind Bryce Love. While many claim that Notre Dame gets too much publicity, Adams seems to still be flying under the radar. Adams does have a sub par performance already against Georgia, but will have plenty of opportunities to have big games against good teams.
Three of the last five games for the Fighting Irish are against ranked teams and Adams will need to continue running well to get Notre Dame some key wins.
Stats: 967 rushing yards, 84 receiving yards, 8 total touchdowns
4. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Mayfield had another great game against Kansas State. He had his first game of the season of over 400 passing yards, finishing with 410. Mayfield added 69 rushing yards and two touchdowns to go along with two passing touchdowns. He has had a lot of big games, but has needed to in order to win a lot of close games.
His touchdown to interception ration is almost 10 to one, so Mayfield has found a way to be productive, while protecting the football. The game against Ohio State is still one of the biggest moments of the season, but he needs to continue to produce and have big games.
In the next few weeks Mayfield has chances to improve his case. Oklahoma still has to play Oklahoma State, TCU and West Virginia, which will give Mayfield plenty of opportunities to make his way up the list.
Stats: 2,347 passing yards, 170 rushing yards, 22 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions
5. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
Mason Rudolph had a mundane game against Texas and the Cowboys were lucky to get out of Austin for a win. He threw for 282 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Rudolph was able to complete 65.8% of his passes this game and he protected the football enough for the defense to hang on for the win.
Rudolph is throwing the ball further down the field this year and putting up huge numbers. He lacks a big win and a “Heisman moment” right now, so he will have to do better to garner more support from Heisman voters.
In the game against Oklahoma, Rudolph has to out-duel Mayfield to have any chance at the award.
Stats: 2,650 passing yards, 60 rushing yards, 25 total touchdowns
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