Heisman Watch: Week 13
Only one week remains in the regular season, and Rivalry Week always has some of the biggest games on the biggest stage of the year. Here is who are experts have as their picks to take home the award in two weeks.
Hunter’s Pick: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
The hype surrounding Lamar Jackson has been miniscule this year compared to last season. Jackson was the frontrunner for the Heisman right out of the gate, and he became the youngest player to win the award after his sophomore year. Those dazzling plays Jackson was able to create with his arm and legs left people in awe when watching him. His performances against Florida State and Clemson catapulted him into the spotlight as he tore apart two highly-touted defenses.
After a spectacular sophomore campaign, many thought it would be near impossible for Jackson to recreate the same buzz for his junior year. The Louisville Cardinals have already lost four games this season, which is vital for Jackson’s Heisman chances since only three players won the award after having four or more losses in the regular season. Although the Cardinals have been disappointing, Jackson’s brilliant play has now garnered the attention of NFL scouts. The knock on Jackson’s game was that he wasn’t a good enough pocket passer and relied on his running ability too much to make big plays in the passing game. Jackson was able to fix both of these issues this season, as he looks more poised in the pocket and uses his superb arm strength to drive the ball downfield. With the improvement in Jackson’s game, he looks better than he did his sophomore year.
Despite not receiving the national attention, Jackson’s numbers are as good as any player in the nation. Jackson has tallied 3,273 passing yards and 23 passing touchdowns while completing 59.8 percent of his passes. The ability to create plays with his legs is what separates Jackson from the pack, as he has rushed for 1,287 yards and 17 touchdowns. When you add the two together, Jackson has accounted for 4,560 yards and 40 touchdowns this season. Jackson is as valuable to his team as any player in the country. Louisville’s explosive offenses has kept the team in games this season, whereas the defense is lagging behind.
Last season, the Cardinals had a plausible enough defense to win games. In the four losses by Louisville, the opposition scored 39 or more points in each game. To put this into context, the Cardinals’ season low in scoring is 21 points, which was during a loss to Clemson, whom has one of the best defenses in the nation. It’s unfair to put all the blame on Jackson for all the Lousiville woes this season. In fact, Jackson is the main reason why the Cardinals are still relevant despite taking a step back as a team. Jackson’s phenomenal play should put him Heisman contention this season.
Josh’s Pick: Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
Love has been a stud all year long. With the last week of the college football season upon us, Love deserves to be in every Heisman conversation.
He has been so good that his 101 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown last week against Cal was his second-worst performance of the year.
Love failed to reach 100 yards rushing just once in 10 games played. Amazingly, the Stanford running back has found the end zone in every single game in 2017.
Against Washington on November 10, Love posted 166 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries, which is no small feat against a team that made the College Football Playoff a year ago.
The Stanford offense goes as Bryce Love goes and there is no reason for that to change this week when Stanford hosts Notre Dame. It will be a huge test for Love, who has risen to the challenge all year long.
Right now, Baker Mayfield is the favorite to win the Heisman, but as the second-leading rusher in the nation, Bryce Love is right behind him and deserves every bit of the recognition.
Joe’s Pick: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
The Heisman trophy is about being the best player in college football and doing it with class and integrity. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield has been the country’s best player as he is second in the nation in passing yards and touchdowns with 3,816 and 34 respectively. His last game against Kansas put a dent on his Heisman campaign as he made lewd gestures towards the Kansas sideline.
He threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-3 demolition of the one win Jayhawks, but his extracurricular activities gave him headlines for all the wrong reasons. Mayfield apologized for his actions, but will not start on Senior Day against West Virginia because of his actions
The Mountaineers are like most teams in the Big 12 as their defense at times contains more holes than Swiss cheese. When Mayfield gets in the game, he will exploit West Virginia’s spotty secondary for over 300 yards and three touchdowns as he looks to become the nation’s leader in touchdown passes.
Hunter Pitcoff is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Josh Starr is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Senior / Journalism
Hunter Pitcoff is involved in multiple clubs and organizations in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. He is the executive producer and an on-camera personality for Penn State Sports Night, the news producer for PSN News, and a member of the Centre County Report. Hunter holds a part-time live events support position with Penn State Athletics too. On top of that, he also does a weekly radio show with CommRadio called The Shootaround and hosts the podcasts “Ball Don’t Lie” and “Run N’Gun” with Penn State Sports Night. Hunter hopes to pursue a career in the sports media industry when he graduates in 2021.
Senior / Broadcast Journalism