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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Heisman Watch: Tua Tagovailoa still on top

In yet another college football season dominated by Alabama, the Nick Saban-led Crimson Tide find themselves with a perfect 7-0 record heading into their bye week. And not to mention they have a thriving Hawaiian gunslinger by the name of Tuanigamanuolepola (we’ll go with “Tua” to make things easier) Tagovailoa, who just so happens to be the clear-cut favorite to win this year’s Heisman Trophy.

That’s right, the Bama QB that led his team to victory in last year’s National Championship Game is currently the frontrunner in the 2018 Heisman race, according to the most recent ESPN Experts’ Poll. Tagovailoa, who entered the season with 15-2 odds (Bovada) to take home college football’s most prized award, has undoubtedly exceeded expectations. The sophomore phenom has posted a ridiculous 25:0 touchdown to interception ratio thus far, while also possessing a 238.8 passer rating, higher than ESPN’s next two candidates Kyler Murray, OKLA (224.9) and Dwayne Haskins, OSU (174.1). 

Though Tua is the current favorite to win the coveted trophy, there are other worthy candidates that lurk behind him, such as Murray, Haskins, and even Wisconsin’s own Jonathan Taylor. 

Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray is currently second in the running, according to ESPN, as he has also hurled 25 touchdown passes with only 89 fewer yards than Tagovailoa. Despite the Sooners dropping an absolute nail-biter to their long-time rival the Texas Longhorns two weeks ago, Murray showed poise and resilience last week by leading his squad to a dominant victory at TCU, throwing for four touchdowns in the contest. 

Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State is also firmly in the hunt as he possesses mouthwatering statistics; he has already racked up 30 touchdowns and 2,801 yards, both of which lead the FBS. His Heisman chances may have taken a hit last Saturday, however, when the Buckeyes fell in shocking fashion to the Purdue Boilermakers 49-20. Haskins and Ohio State will look to get back into winning fashion this Saturday, as they will be hosting the abysmal 1-6 Nebraska Cornhuskers. 

While Wisconsin fans would love if the Heisman Trophy comes back to Madison, superstar running back Jonathan Taylor is appearing less and less likely to take home the award. Though he is one of two running backs in the FBS to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing this early in the season (1,109 total), his team’s lackluster offensive performance is holding him back from what had the potential to be a record-breaking year. Additionally, Taylor’s eight touchdowns are six less than the two FBS leaders (14), one of which is Clemson’s Travis Etienne, who is currently ahead of JT in the Heisman rankings. 

With five weeks still remaining in the regular season, there is a lot of football left to be played, which opens the door for trailing candidates to make that final push. For the time being, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa certainly looks like the man to beat for the prestigious award. He will look to keep up his stellar performance, as he has a date with No. 4-ranked LSU in Baton Rouge next week.

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