Heisman Watch: Tracking the top five Heisman candidates
Tua stays on top, Murray moves up as quarterbacks continue to dominate
Despite the fact that many of the teams of many Heisman candidates had bye weeks, the board has a bit of moving and shaking. Still, one name reigns supreme.
1. Tua Tagovailoa (Sophomore QB, Alabama)
This week: Bye
Season Stats: 2,066 yards (70.4 percent completion), 25 TDs, 0 INTs
It’s almost November, and first-year starter, Tua Tagovailoa, has yet to do two things: throw an interception or play in the fourth quarter. Thanks to his play and the Crimson Tide’s complete domination of their opponents thus far, Tagovailoa has been given plenty of rest as Alabama has cruised through the front half of its schedule.
That streak of not playing in the fourth quarter could come to an end Saturday night, as the Tide gets their first test of the season going into Tiger Stadium to play the No. 4 LSU Tigers in primetime. With ESPN’s College Gameday in Baton Rouge for what could be the game of the year, this be Tua’s time to make his “Heisman moment.”
Next: at No. 4 LSU
2. Kyler Murray (Junior QB, Oklahoma)
This week: 19/24 352 yards, 3TD, 0 INTs (Kansas State)
Season Stats: 2,329 yards (73.2 percent completion), 28 TDs, 3 INTs
Kyler Murray continues turning heads with his play-making abilities, proving he may be the best dual-threat quarterback in college football. Against Kansas State, he rushed for his third-lowest total on the season with 46 yards bringing his season total to 474. An extremely capable passer, Murray looks to carry the No. 7 Sooners (4-1 Big 12, 7-1 overall) to a Big 12 Championship and a shot at a College Football Playoffs.
With his successful baseball career too — Murray was drafted in the first round by the Oakland A’s after starring for the Sooners’ baseball team — it will be interesting to see if he can take home the trophy before he likely heads to the ranks of the Major League.
Next: at Texas Tech
3. Dwayne Haskins (Sophomore QB, Ohio State)
This week: Bye
Season Stats: 2,801 yards (71.1 percent completion), 30 TDs, 5 INTs
As Nebraska travels to Columbus, Ohio State and their star quarterback Dwayne Haskins have revenge on their minds, and they’re probably hoping to put a beatdown on the Huskers.
After having a bye week to process the stupefying 49-20 blowout loss to the plucky Purdue Boilermakers, Haskins is looking to rebound and lead his team in a cathartic beatdown of a weaker Nebraska team.
Haskins had his least impressive game of the season as the whole of the Ohio State Buckeyes struggled, yet his only glaring mistake came well after the game was decided when he was intercepted by Markus Bailey for a pick-six.
Even then, Haskins finished the game with a monstrous 470 yards on 49 of 73 passing and two scores. He’ll still be looking to get Ohio State back on track, and another gaudy performance against Nebraska could get him closer to being invited to New York City at the end of the year.
4. Gardner Minshew (Senior QB, Washington State)
This week: 40/50 438 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs (@ Stanford)
Season Stats: 3,183 yards (71 percent completion), 26 TDs, 6 INTs
Gardner Minshew and Washington State continue to be one of college football’s biggest surprises thus far. The transfer from East Carolina who rocks an Uncle Rico-esque mustache nearly transferred to Alabama this offseason. Happily, for both him and Wazzu fans, he’s instead found a home on the Palouse and in head coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense.
Leading the country in passing yards, Minshew had his best game of the season as he led the Cougars on a fourth-quarter comeback over Stanford in a 41-38 victory. Washington State has zero ranked teams left on its schedule and is likely the Pac-12’s last playoff hope.
5. Will Grier (Senior QB, West Virginia)
This week: 17/27 353 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs (Baylor)
Season Stats: 2272 yards (70.3 percent completion), 25 TDs, 7 INTs
Will Grier came into this week in a slump of sorts, having thrown three interceptions in a 38-22 win over Kansas and only one touchdown in an ugly 30-14 loss to Iowa State. The Mountaineers’ gunslinger wanted to get back on track and did so in a big way against the hapless Baylor Bears’ defense.
Righting the ship, he returned to Morgantown against Baylor with one of his most efficient games of the season. Grier will have to continue that improvement Saturday when the Mountaineers take on No. 15 Texas in Austin in a do-or-die for both teams’ playoff hopes.
Next: at No. 15 Texas
Honorable mentions: D’Eriq King (QB, Houston), Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson), Cole McDonald (QB, Hawai’i)
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