Heisman Watch: Week 10
The calendar turns to November, and the competition for the most prestigious individual award in college football is becoming ever tighter. Penn State's Saquon Barkley, long considered the front runner, has fallen back to the pack after a few pedestrian performances. On the flip side, a few other players at big name programs have flipped a switch in the last couple of weeks to become major contenders. Here are our analyst's players to watch heading into Week 10.
Hunter’s pick: Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
Notre Dame has been the most slept on team in college football this season. The program went from being unranked to one of the best teams in the country. Their stock has been steadily increasing, as the team is slowly creeping their way up towards the top of the rankings. The Fighting Irish are searching for their first appearance in the College Football Playoff since it was first introduced in the 2014-2015 season.
Notre Dame currently boasts a 7-1 record, with their only loss coming in the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs. That being said, the Fighting Irish have scored at least 33 points in every win thus far. This is due to their potent running attack that’s averaging 317.9 yards on the ground this season. Although the offensive line of Notre Dame is stacked with future NFL players such as Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, it’s safe to say that a 6’2” and 225 lbs Josh Adams is a tough tackle for any defender when he’s coming out of the backfield.
Running back Josh Adams is currently fifth in the FBS in rushing yards. He is also averaging 8.9 yards per carry to go along with his nine touchdowns on the season. The stats are quite impressive for the junior running back, but it doesn’t serve him justice. Adams style of running is similar to a ticking time bomb, as he’s ready to explode for a huge gain at any given moment. He has 10 runs of at least 35 yards this season, as his quick burst of speed is deadly. Opposing defenses definitely don’t want to give him any running lanes to work with. If Notre Dame wants to win the national championship, they must keep feeding the beast and rely on the ascendance of Adams to get them there.
Joe’s pick: JT Barrett, QB, Ohio State
The Buckeyes’ upset of the Nittany Lions on Saturday not only put Ohio State in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten East crown, but a Heisman campaign was jumpstarted. JT Barrett picked apart the vaunted Penn State secondary for 329 yards on 33-39 passing and four touchdowns, including the game-winner to Marcus Baugh with 1:48 remaining.
His 84.6 completion percentage was his highest all season and he nearly gained 100 yards on the ground, ending with a game-high of 95. His 25 touchdowns to only one interception is outstanding and will look to improve on those numbers against a solid Iowa defense.
Josh’s pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
The biggest knock on Barkley so far is that, without a few big runs, his yards per carry would be significantly lower. That is true, but those long runs epitomize Barkley’s talent.
Last week against Ohio State, Barkley returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. It was the second time this season he opened the game with a kickoff return touchdown, the other being a 98 yard return against Indiana. After the kick return, the Buckeyes held Barkley to just 44 rushing yards, his lowest all season. Even though he was bottled up for most of the afternoon, Barkley still managed to scamper for an electrifying 36 yard touchdown run in which he bounced a run to the outside and showed off his amazing speed tip-toeing down the sideline and into the endzone.
Saquon Barkley will be a man on a mission this week in East Lansing. There is no doubt Barkley will be ready to go against Michigan State and the Nittany Lions will be feeding him the ball all day long. Penn State remains a top team in the nation and number 26 will continue to be a pillar in the Penn State offense.
Hunter Pitcoff is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Josh Starr is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.