The opening weekend of college football has passed and what an incredible week it was. After one week, you normally don’t get a good read on who has submitted themselves as Hesiman candidates. But, what you do get to see are how those preseason favorites for the stiff-arm trophy perform and if they are as good as you think they can be.
In this first regular-season edition, I will talk about the front runners for the Heisman, some sleepers, and some who are falling off the pace after just one week.
The Front Runners
- Mark Ingram (RB/Alabama) – Missing one week of action does not dispel Mark Ingram’s Heisman hopes. A knee injury kept him out of Alabama’s season opener against San Jose State – a game he likely wouldn’t have seen a whole lot of action in anyway. The real question for Ingram is when will he be back in action? Nick Saban said today that it wasn’t likely that he would play against Penn State on Saturday. If he misses Saturday’s game against Penn State then he will slip down to falling off the pace.
- Terrelle Pryor (QB/Ohio State) – We all knew that Terrelle Pryor could be great, but the big question was if Jim Tressel was going to unleash Pryor. That question was answered in a big way in the Buckeyes season opener against Marshall. Pryor completed 17 of his 25 passes for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns. If Tressel continues to let Pryor shine like this, then my preseason pick to win the Heisman trophy is looking really good.
- Kellen Moore (QB/Boise State) – I can’t say I was too impressed with Kellen Moore on Monday night against Virginia Tech, but those who vote on the Heisman will be. He overthrew a lot of receivers and threw some passes that really should have been intercepted. But, his final drive to win the game was impressive and now he has the rest of the season to pad his stats against lower level competition.
- DeMarco Murray (RB/Oklahoma) – DeMarco Murray was hyped up by a lot of experts coming into this season and if you saw him play in Oklahoma’s season opener, then you know why. With Landry Jones struggling against Utah State, Murry was the workhorse. He carried the ball 35 times for 218 yards and two touchdowns. Oklahoma struggled in the first weekend and they can credit walking away with a victory to Murray’s stellar performance.
Falling Off the Pace
- Dion Lewis (RB/Pittsburgh) – It’s still way too early to say someone is falling off the Heisman pace, but after one week, Dion Lewis has done so. Coupled with Pittsburgh’s loss to Utah, Lewis had a lackluster performance on the road against the Utes. He struggled to get going on Saturday and had just 75 yards on 25 carries along with a touchdown punch. Other than his one long run of 18 yards, Lewis had just 57 yards on 24 carries. Nion Dion still has plenty of time to get back into the race, but at this point he is no longer a front runner.
- Jacquizz Rodgers (RB/Oregon State) – Oregon State’s loss to TCU wasn’t a big blow to Quizz’ Rodgers’ Heisman hopes, but his performance was. He only managed 75 yards on 18 carries and he scored a touchdown. Again, after just one week it’s not a crushing blow to Rodgers’ chances of taking home the Heisman trophy, but it certainly didn’t help his case either.
- Jake Locker (QB/Washington) – I wasn’t on the Jake Locker bandwagon during the preseason and I didn’t have him on my Heisman watch list either. A lot of people did, however. Locker had a chance to take a step forward and supplant himself as a top candidate for the Heisman trophy, but an opening weekend loss to BYU did nothing of the sort. He completed 20 of 37 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown without an interception. For Locker to have a real shot at winning the stiff-arm trophy, Washington is going to have to have a really good year and so far they are off to a rough start.
- Matt Barkley (QB/USC) – Sophomore Matt Barkley was one of the few bright spots for USC in their 49-36 win over Hawai’i. It wasn’t a good start to the season for the Trojans defensively, but Matt Barkley played the best game of his career. He was efficient as he completed 18 of his 23 passes for 257 yards and 5 touchdown passes with no interceptions. USC’s going to have to play better as a team if Barkley wants to become the fourth straight sophomore to win the Heisman.
Denard Robinson (QB/Michigan) – One of the most impressive victories of the opening weekend in college football was Michigan’s 30-10 victory over Connecticut. Denard Robinson’s play was the reason why. He went an efficient 19/22 passing for 186 yards and a touchdown. He also did it with his legs by rushing for 197 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown. If Robinson and Michigan can continue playing this well, then he could find himself as one of the Heisman front runners before long. It all starts this weekend against Notre Dame.
- Cameron Newton (QB/Auburn) – I’m not big on getting too high on players after they look impressive against a Sun Belt school, but Cam Newton has to be thought of as a Heisman sleeper. He looked very good on Saturday against Arkansas State and was awarded the SEC’s player of the week honors for his efforts. He went 9/14 passing for 186 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 171 yards on 15 attempts and added two more touchdowns on the ground. I may be jumping the gun a little bit, but I guess we will know for sure when Auburn travels to Starkville to play Mississippi State on Thursday.
- Tyrod Taylor (QB/Virginia Tech) – Although in defeat, Tyrod Taylor was brilliant against Boise State. An opening week loss to Boise State likely derails the Hokies’ National Title hopes, but they still can win the ACC and get into the BCS. He completed 15 of his 21 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. He was also the Hokies leading rusher with 73 yards on the ground. I’ve never been a big fan of Taylor, but I was impressed with his performance Monday night.
- Jacory Harris (QB/Miami) – I know the game was against Florida A&M, but Harris really impressed me in the season opener. He completed 12 of 15 passes for 210 yards and 3 touchdown tosses. I still would like to see him play higher competition before I put him as a front runner, but he has a chance to supplant himself as one this weekend at the Horseshoe against Ohio State.
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