Richardson and Alabama had the chance Saturday night to prove to the nation that not only were the Tide the best team in the country, but that Trent Richardson could also be viewed as the best player in the country.
And although Richardson recorded 169 total yards on the ground and through the air, the spotlight shone brightest on the LSU defense, which was able to contain the back all night. Richardson’s performance bent, but did not break the Tiger defense, and because of that, his performance likely did little to cut into Andrew Luck’s Heisman lead.
Richardson and Alabama have a few games remaining on the schedule, but barring unforeseen circumstances, Alabama will not be able to play in the SEC Championship Game, the only other place the spotlight would be nearly as bright on Richardson, and therefore will have to do wonders to begin to break into the conversation at the top of the Heisman race.
For all the talent any quarterback has, his receivers are always an important factor in just how well a signal caller can perform. On Saturday, Landry Jones and Oklahoma saw both sides of that, as Sooner receivers made plays around the field, helping Jones maintain a strong performance throughout the day and left the junior in the thick of the Heisman race.
Jones finished the day strong with 255 passing yards and two touchdowns while leading Oklahoma easily by Texas A&M, although the Sooners did get out to a slow start.
But wideout Ryan Broyles went down in the third quarter with a knee injury, leaving the Sooners without one of their stars and Jones without his go-to target and one of the best statistical receivers in FBS history. With Broyles out for the season Jones will unfortunately be without a major weapon, and the quarterback will have to persevere if Oklahoma is to continue to be in the midst of the national conversation.
Two straight losses had Russell Wilson’s Heisman hopes faltering, but a classic Wisconsin badgering of a Big Ten opponent proved Wisconsin is still one of the best offensive teams in the land and Wilson can still lead an effective attack.
Wilson finished a efficient 15 of 20 for 205 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another score along with 76 yards on the ground.
Of course, the star of the day was not Wilson, but running back Monte Ball and his career-high 223 yards on the ground, but Wilson’s leadership shone through against a lacking Purdue attack, an intangible that is key to the Heisman race.
Slow to start in the cold and the rain, Andrew Luck and Stanford made the most of the second half, as the senior led the Cardinal past Oregon State while throwing for three more touchdowns on the day. Luck did throw an interception, just his fifth of the season, but his 206 yards in chilly Corvallis was more than enough to bring the Cardinal past the Beavers.
Luck, like Jones, lost a receiver on the day to injury as senior Chris Owusu fell victim to a concussion on a hard hit in the second quarter, but like Jones, Luck persevered, bringing the Cardinal to a dominating second-half performance.
For Luck, not much was gained and not much lost on the weekend, however, next weekend’s looming meeting with Oregon, a matchup likely to decide the Pac-12 North division, will be a chance for the senior to bolster his Heisman hopes beyond the already sky high status of his candidacy.
Moore and Boise State didn’t look their best out of the gate late Saturday night, but the senior worked through the surprisingly game UNLV attack, and ended his night with yet another impressive statistical performance.
In the Broncos’ 48-21 victory over UNLV, Moore passed for 219 yards and five touchdowns as Boise continues its undefeated run through the 2011 season. In the process Moore also broke the record for wins in a career in FBS history, passing former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy.
Moore and Boise next opponent might be the most daunting remaining on the schedule. TCU will present Boise with tough matchups up and down the field, and the challenge could give Moore the chance to show his ability to lead his team no matter the opponent. A strong performance against the Horned Frogs could prove vital for Moore’s hopes of making his way to another Heisman Trophy presentation in New York City this year.