On the Ball: Heisman Watch—Can Melvin Gordon Catch Marcus Mariota?
Although the race isn’t over yet, Marcus Mariota has widened his Heisman lead over the rest of the field. At this point with Ameer Abdullah injured, Todd Gurley being suspended, and Jameis Winston generally unfocused, there’s a wide gap between Mariota and everyone else. However, there are still several more games to be played.
Here’s where things stand now:
6. WR Kevin White, West Virginia (91 catches, 1,207 receiving yards, 8 TD)
White got off to a blazing start this season with seven straight 100-plus receiving-yard games to begin the season. Then after totaling just 55 yards against Oklahoma State and TCU, he got back on the board with his 16-catch, 132 receiving-yard effort in the loss to Texas.
5. QB Nick Marshall, Auburn (1,576 passing yards, 61.0 percent completions, 14 TD/4 INT, 698 rushing yards, 11 TD)
The dual-threat Marshall has four 100-yard rushing games and five 200-yard passing games this season. As it is, he’d probably need to lead the Tigers to wins in each of their final three games (including Georgia and Alabama) to have even a chance at the coveted hardware.
4. WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (79 catches, 1,215 yards, 10 TD)
Cooper currently ranks second nationally in receiving yards, fourth in catches, and fifth in receiving TDs, and the junior is already the school’s career all-time leader in receiving yards. Cooper still would likely need a pair of huge games against Mississippi State and then Auburn, two weeks later, to move up the list here.
3. QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (2,231 passing yards, 61.1 percent completions, 18 TD/7 INT, 779 rushing yards, 11 TD)
Prescott, much like Marshall, has more of his Heisman votes tied up in how far his team goes as opposed to individual performance. So far, the Bulldogs have gone undefeated, and Prescott has thrown for more than 200 yards in every game and even has four 100-yard rushing games under his belt. His seven picks and relatively low completion percentage are the only things holding him back.
2. RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (1,501 rushing yards, 21 TD)
Gordon has quickly taken the torch as the top threat to Mariota, as the junior back is on pace for 2,000 yards, should he keep up his 167-yards-per-game pace through the end of the regular season. If the Badgers, who are tied atop the Big Ten West, reach their conference championship game and also participate in the bowl season, he should blow well past the mark.
1. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon (2,780 passing yards, 67.1 percent completions, 29 TD/2 INT, 524 rushing yards, 8 TD)
Mariota is the best in college football right now. The junior from Hawaii is currently top in the nation in QB rating (184.6), second in TDs, and first in yards per attempt at 10.0. He has four 300-yard games thus far and has thrown at least two TD passes in every single game for the 9–1 Ducks. He even has a 100-yard rushing game to his credit. The trophy is his to lose.