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Heisman hopefuls: Week 9

We may be in Week 9 of the college football season, but that doesn't mean there aren't surprises in the race for the Heisman Trophy. Teams lose, players underperform and there are plenty of productive candidates ready to grab real estate in voters' brains. Running backs Jonathan Taylor and Travis Etienne had subpar games, knocking them off this Heisman watchlist and leaving nothing but quarterbacks who improved their award chances this week.

Here are the five signal-callers, after Week 9, who have a great chance to be in New York on Dec. 8.

D’Eriq King, Houston Cougars: If you didn’t know D’Eriq King before, you sure as hell should know him now. Seven touchdowns on national television can do that for a player.
Despite coming into the game with 31 total touchdowns, the junior quarterback went into Week 9 relatively unknown. He made sure to make a big statement on the national stage with five passing touchdowns and two running scores, including a 36-yard scamper to the end zone to create some separation in the third quarter.

After knocking off the previously undefeated South Florida Bulls, Heisman Trophy voters might have a late entry into the award’s conversation.

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma Sooners: King may have just burst onto the scene, but Murray’s been putting up numbers and getting recognition since Week 1. The Oklahoma junior got out to a quick start against Kansas State and never looked back, throwing for two touchdowns in the first quarter, with one score coming on an 82-yard bomb to CeeDee Lamb. Murray would finish the game with 352 yards, three passing scores and a rushing trip to the end zone to give Heisman voters another reason to make him a finalist next month.

Brett Rypien, Boise State Broncos: It was a rough two-week stretch at the beginning of October for Boise State’s signal-caller, but he seems to have put those struggles behind him.
After a four-touchdown performance against Colorado State, Rypien followed up with an impressive career-high five touchdowns against Air Force to keep the Broncos within striking distance of the Mountain West Mountain Division-leading Utah State. He showed off his big arm on a 61-yard strike to John Hightower late in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

Boise State has a tough set of games to finish the season, but if its quarterback continues to perform at this level, it’ll be hard to ignore him come voting time.

Will Grier, West Virginia Mountaineers: After getting shocked by Iowa State, Grier used the bye week to get right and he came back with a vengeance. Baylor was the unfortunate victim this week.

The senior out of North Carolina went back to the basics, seeking out and finding dependable playmaker David Sills V for 25- and 65-yard touchdown strikes in the second quarter. He would finish the game with three touchdowns and a running score for the cherry on top before sitting in the fourth quarter.

After two subpar games, Mountaineer fans are glad they have their quarterback and Heisman-caliber player ready for the homestretch of the season.

Gardner Minshew, Washington State Cougars: Seems that head coach Mike Leach isn’t the only reason people know about Washington State.

Minshew has made himself known on the national scene in recent weeks, but he has been consistent all year, throwing for less than three touchdowns only once this season. After throwing for four scores last week against Oregon, the senior thrower notched three passes in the end zone with 438 yards against Stanford.

The Cougars have quietly gone 7-1 and are in a great position to get a respectable bowl game in January. Minshew continues to power this team to wins and is making sure the Pac-12 gets some recognition in Heisman voters’ minds.

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