On the Ball: Who’s Leading the Heisman Race?
After a weekend of upsets, not only are the polls in chaos, but so is the Heisman race.
Marcus Mariota’s Oregon Ducks lost Thursday night, which kick-started the madness, but since so many other contending players lost on the same weekend, they’ve more or less canceled each other out. Here is the current snapshot of where the contenders stand:
8. WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (52 catches, 746 receiving yards, 5 TD)
Cooper has been a model of consistently for the Tide this year. The junior wideout’s worst game thus far was his 9-catch, 91-yard performance in Alabama’s 23–17 loss to Ole Miss. His 746 receiving yards are second in the nation, though for a wideout to bring home the Heisman, it’s going to require a special season.
7. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State (1,288 passing yards, 66.7 percent completions, 8 TD/5 INT)
We’re all just waiting for the real Winston to show up this season. His Seminoles are still undefeated, putting him in prime position for a repeat, but Winston hasn’t yet hit his stride.
His 23/39 for 297 passing yard-performance in the 43–3 blowout win over Wake Forest didn’t really win him any votes due to his low completion percentage. He’s currently 27th in quarterback rating (153.2), but should he lead Florida State to a win over defensive-minded Notre Dame in two weeks, he could make up some real ground.
6. RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska (878 rushing yards, 10 TD, 6.4 yards/carry)
Abdullah was held to just 45 yards by Michigan State’s defense last weekend, but the senior from Homewood, Ala., had back-to-back 200-yard performances against Miami and Illinois before that to give him three in total for the season. His 878 total rushing yards leads the country.
5. QB Dak Prescott, Mississippi State (1,232 passing yards, 63.9 percent completions, 13 TD/2 INT)
Prescott had little Heisman hype heading into the season, but his stock has risen with his performance in wins over LSU (15/24 for 268 yards, 2 TD) and Alabama (20/26 for 268 yards, 2 TD) the past two weeks. As long as the Bulldogs keep winning, he has a chance.
4. RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (871 rushing yards, 9 TD, 8.3 yards/carry)
Gordon has been on a tear of late. Wisconsin’s feature back has averaged 231 yards per game the past three games, including a 13-carry, 253-yard, 5-TD performance against Bowling Green in which he averaged 19.5 yards every time he was handed the ball. Currently, Gordon has the highest per-carry average among running backs with over 100 carries.
3. RB Todd Gurley, Georgia (773 rushing yards, 8 TD, 8.2 yards/carry)
Though Gurley has less total yards than Abdullah or Gordon, he’s played four of his five games in the confines of the toughest conference out there—the SEC. In addition, Gurley carried just six times (going for 73 yards) in Georgia’s lone, non-conference tilt—a 66–0 laugher over Troy. In four SEC games, Gurley’s been at his best, averaging 175 yards/game.
2. QB Kenny Hill, Texas A&M (2,110 passing yards, 64.1 percent completions, 12 TD/5 INT)
After a meteoric start to the season, Hill’s numbers have come back to earth the last two weeks. Against Arkansas he was just 21/41 passing, though he still went for 386 yards, though his 1 TD pass was his lowest of the year. Then last week against Ole Miss, he threw three interceptions in the 48–31 loss.
1. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon (1,411 passing yards, 71.1 percent completions, 15 TD/0 INT)
Mariota was 20/32 for 276 yards with 2 TDs in the home loss to Arizona, but the most telling statistic was his rushing yards—one. The dual-threat quarterback was averaging 53.5 yards rushing/game heading into last week, but was sacked five times by Arizona. Still, he leads the NCAA in quarterback rating (202.4) and is one of just a handful of starters who have yet to throw a pick.