Heisman Watch: Week 5

Story posted September 26, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by Logan Dolby

The college football season is now entering its fifth week, with plenty of top ten matchups that will definitely have College Football Playoff implications. Crucial wins this week will be critical for any program building a playoff-caliber résumé. Each Heisman candidate is also building his résumé each week, with prior game performance as well as complete season statistics being accounted for as he marches towards the ultimate college football award.

1. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Dwayne Haskins is on pace to demolish Troy Smith’s magical 2006 season with the Buckeyes. Smith, who won the Heisman that year while quarterbacking Ohio State, is the last player from Ohio State to win the prestigious trophy. He piled up 2746 total yards, 31 total touchdowns and tossed six interceptions during his campaign. After three games of football Haskins has racked up 1222 total yards, 17 total touchdowns and only one interception.

If Urban Meyer, who was coaching his first game back from a suspension, had not pulled his starting signal caller after halftime, Haskins may have finished with 10 touchdowns alone against Tulane. Ohio State made quick work of the Green Wave, beating them 49-6 at home. Haskins had a passer rating of 262.7, 304 yards passing and added five touchdowns through the air in the easy win.

Haskins has weapons all over the field at his disposal, including Austin Mack, Parris Campbell and J.K. Dobbins. He uses them extremely well, putting the ball between the numbers or in places only his receivers can catch it. Number seven has excellent accuracy and handles himself well in the pocket. He is going to have to play his best game of the season coming into Happy Valley to face the undefeated Penn State Nittany Lions this week.

2. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

The Kyler Murray-led Oklahoma Sooners avoided a real résumé killer this week, narrowly escaping Army and beating them 28-21 in an overtime thriller. The Black Knights absolutely dominated time of possession during the game. They controlled the ball for nearly 45 minutes or three whole quarters of the game. Even though he only had a little over 15 minutes to play, Kyler Murray was still as electrifying as always.

Murray essentially moved the chains every time he gained yards, averaging 11 yards per attempt through the air and 10.1 yards per carry. The undersized quarterback made an excellent back shoulder throw to CeeDee Lamb for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter, and then he absolutely burned the Army defense on a 33-yard scamper along the sidelines for a touchdown in the second quarter to put the Sooners up 21-14.

However, Murray did commit one significant error when he turned the ball over on a deep throw to Marquise Brown that was too far off target. That interception let the Black Knights melt away 10 minutes of the third quarter. Other than the one interception, he had a very fine day.

Murray’s grit and will to win ultimately led to Oklahoma keeping its unblemished record for one more week. Murray did well, given the lack of time he had on offense, completing 11 of 15 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns. He also finished with 71 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown. Typically, Murray is very smart and not taking hard tackles, but when the game was on the line he was willing to take a big hit in order to get the first down. He showed big heart taking that hit in the middle of the field, but he knew he had to keep moving the ball. He put his kicker in a position to win the game with a 33-yard field goal, but Austin Seibert pushed the kick left. Murray iced the game with an overtime touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb.

3. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Tua Tagovailoa was once again extremely efficient against a bad Texas A&M pass defense. Alabama crushed the Jimbo Fisher led Aggies 45-23 in Tuscaloosa. Tagovailoa completed 73.3 percent of his passes and finished the day with 397 total yards, four passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, and a 225.7 passer rating. Truly incredible numbers all without throwing an interception.

Tight ends were the left-handed quarterback’s best friends against the Aggies. Both of his red zone touchdown passes during regulation were caught by tight end Hale Hentges. He hit his other tight end, Irv Smith Jr., four times for big chunk plays. Tagovailoa does an excellent job getting the ball into his playmaking wideouts hands as well. When Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs were open, Tagovailoa was quick to find them, completing a total of nine passes to the pair.

Tagovailoa is an incredible field general, nearly always making the right call with the football. He has yet to throw an interception this season, has a passer rating of 230.5 and a completion percentage of 72.5. His football IQ is extremely high as well. Tagovailoa rarely takes sacks, preferring to find an open receiver, even if the pass gains only two yards. He really limits the amounts of negative plays that he makes, which is absolutely perfect for a program like Alabama. The Crimson Tide have an excellent quarterback who has the potential to have big games when he needs to.

 

 

Logan Dolby is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email ldd5135@psu.edu.