The gang's all here (or back, at least). All of the Heisman favorites were back on the sideline after their respective byes last week, and they didn’t miss a step.
Titans at the top of the rankings clashed, season-ending collapses were avoided and the stars stood tall in every game. We are reaching the home stretch of the season, and the Heisman Trophy is on the verge of being given to its 80th athlete.
Here are the studs who got a little closer this week to being that athlete.
Justin Fields, Ohio State
Not even minutes after Ohio State was named the best team in country, according to the first College Football Playoff rankings, people were bellyaching that the Buckeyes didn’t deserve the No. 1 spot. They showed why they got that honor against Maryland, and Justin Fields was the player driving the runaway freight train.
The sophomore stud was unstoppable against the Terrapins, throwing for 200 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing score putting him at 37 touchdowns responsible for — the second most in the entire country.
Fields may not be leading the country in any major category, but he is putting up Heisman-caliber numbers for one of the top teams in the nation. If Fields continues at his current pace and Ohio State keeps winning, it’ll be tough to keep him from hoisting the hardware in December.
Joe Burrow, LSU
Few opposing quarterbacks walk into Tuscaloosa and come out alive. But somehow Joe Burrow went into the lion’s den and escaped with a win.
The senior signal-caller helped LSU snap an eight-game losing streak against Alabama, tearing up the Crimson Tide defense for 393 yards and three touchdowns. He also showed off some of his wheels, rushing for 64 yards. He kept his opponents off balance and put the Tigers out of reach while Alabama desperately tried to come back.
Burrow continues to lead the country in completion percentage and is third in the nation in touchdowns responsible for. With wins against Texas, Florida, Auburn and now Alabama, Burrow has built up quite the body count. Quality wins like that will look good to voters.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
While one side rejoices, the other is left to figure out what went wrong. Tua Tagovailoa had to watch Burrow carve up his team and was on the wrong end of a historical loss, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort on his part.
The Hawaiian native did everything he could to keep the Crimson Tide in the game, throwing for 418 yards and notching four passing scores against the second-best team in the country. He’s still in the top five in touchdowns responsible for and second in passer efficiency rating.
While Alabama’s season was dealt a huge blow, Tagovailoa’s numbers and value to his team are undeniable.
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma
Part of being a winner is dealing with adversity. Jalen Hurts and Oklahoma were dealt a huge (and unexpected) loss against Kansas State. But he came back with a vengeance, and Iowa State was the unfortunate victim — although, even that didn’t come easy.
Hurts threw for 273 passing yards and rushed for 68. He tossed three touchdowns and ran in another two but threw a critical interception late in the fourth quarter that set Iowa State up for a potential game-winning score. Fortunately, the Cyclones came up short in the two-point conversion, and the Sooners walked away with the win.
Oklahoma is in dire straits for a Playoff spot, but Hurts leads the nation in touchdowns responsible for, rushing yards per attempt among quarterbacks and passer efficiency rating. If anyone deserves the Heisman, it’s the Sooners QB1.
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Wisconsin, but the Badgers got back on track against Iowa. Once again, it was Jonathan Taylor who was the driving force behind the Wisconsin machine.
Taylor rushed for 250 yards, gashing Iowa run after run. This isn’t some cupcake team either. The Hawkeyes were No. 18 in the College Football Playoff ranking, are fourth-best in the country in scoring defense and have a top 25 rushing defense. The junior running back has the third-most rushing yards in the country and is second in the country in touchdowns from scrimmage.
A string of losses may have ended Wisconsin’s chance at a national championship, but Taylor’s numbers are more than formidable enough for him to be considered for the Heisman.
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