Saturday night’s Oregon-Stanford showdown could have been an early BCS title game elimination showdown, but it was also a Heisman test for two major players on the field in Autzen.
Stanford’s quarterback Andrew Luck and Oregon’s LaMichael James are both legitimate Heisman contenders in 2010, however when James broke a 76-yard run at the end of Oregon’s 52-31 victory over the Cardinal, it was clear James got the best of the showdown in Oregon.
In total James rushed for 257 yards and three touchdowns in the Ducks’ important victory at home and in the process put his name squarely in the Heisman race.
His performance caps off a streak of four great games for the sophomore running back — 712 yards on just 89 carries — and his eight yards per carry average is among the nation’s best.
If James can continue his production level it wont be hard to imagine James taking a trip to New York City in Decemeber for the Heisman trophy presentation as a finalist.
Every Buckeye fan in the country cringed simultaneously.
Terrelle Pryor was down, and needed help to get back to the Ohio State locker room.
Just minutes earlier Pryor had blasted off a 66-yard rush — the longest of his career — to help the Buckeyes tie the score and then had followed that drive up with another scoring drive.
But now the Buckeye quarterback was down, and with Illinois keeping close, Ohio State looked like it was in trouble. To make matters worse, backup Joe Bauserman threw a pick on his first attempt.
The injury could have sent shock waves throughout the college football landscape. But Pryor returned, and Ohio State would eventually prevail over the Illini, 24-13.
Pryor did not have his best on Saturday and his passing statistics were underwhelming — nine-of-16 for 76 yards, two touchdowns and a pick — but his Buckeyes prevailed and opened their Big Ten season with a victory, however unconvincing it might have been.
Pryor would finish the day with 104 yards on the ground, which should be good enough to keep his name at the top of most Heisman lists around the country, but as the Buckeye’s schedule gets tougher in October and November Pryor will have to bring more than just his legs to keep the Buckeyes undefeated and keep himself in the midst of a wide-open Heisman race.
No one man can lead a team to an undefeated season. But Denard Robinson sure is trying his best.
Of Michigan’s 574 total yards of offense on Saturday, Denard Robinson had an astounding 495 of them. Yes that’s 86% of the Wolverines’ offensive output against Indiana — which had been undefeated in 2010 until Saturday.
In his Big Ten debut Robinson did it all, rushing for 218 yards and passing for 277 while accounting for five of the Wolverines’ six touchdowns.
He even made a little history in the process.
Robinson’s second game with 200+ yards both on the ground and through the air makes him the first player in NCAA history to do it twice in a single season.
The Hoosiers certainly aren’t the strongest of Big Ten foes for the Wolverines, but Denard Robinson subdued the critics who doubted his ability to carry the Wolverines in Big Ten action. In the coming weeks Robinson will be tested again and again, this time against stronger and stronger conference foes.
If Robinson is going to lead Michigan back to national importance, he’ll need more help, but for now his one-man show is certainly going to attract a ton of Heisman hype. And for now, its pretty well deserved.
A Heisman already in his pocket, Mark Ingram probably isn’t too fussed that he wasn’t Alabama’s leading rusher during Saturday’s blowout victory over Florida.
But if he wants to keep his hopes for a repeat alive, Ingram will need to step up as the Tide make their way through another tough SEC schedule.
Ingram got 15 touches on Saturday night, rushing for 47 yards and catching three passes for 19 yards, along with rushing for two touchdowns.
But in a Heisman race that seems to have high-octane front runners, Ingram’s numbers just don’t stack up.
His two scores do help his case for staying in the conversation, but Ingram will need to bring it to another, 2009-style level if he wants another bronze statue in his trophy case.
The plan was pretty obvious from the beginning of Boise State’s late-night tussle with New Mexico State on Saturday — get out in front by a lot, get Kellen Moore his stats then pull him when it victory is assured.
And as had been the case in the Broncos’ other blowout victories in 2010, the plan works to perfection.
Moore’s 197 yards and three touchdowns were enough to comfortable keep the junior quarterback in the Heisman conversation, while playing just enough to keep him sharp down the stretch.
Moore only attempted 18 passes on the night, but that was more than enough to overcome the Aggies on the clear New Mexico night as the Broncos put New Mexico State away early.
Boise’s schedule is not daunting in the coming weeks, so this may become a familiar pattern for Moore. It may end up hurting Moore’s chances at the trophy, but if the Broncos can get Kellen his stats every time out like they did tonight, he may have a shot at the trophy yet.