Heisman Watch: Week 11
Through ten weeks of the college football season, the Heisman Trophy presentation in New York is just about a month away. Big Ten top contenders Saquon Barkley and JT Barrett had tough weeks in losses on the road, while Baker Mayfield played out of his mind in a victory at Oklahoma State. Here are our analysts’ picks heading into this week’s action.
Joe’s Pick: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
If the Heisman trophy was awarded in September, Saquon Barkley would have won the award in a runaway with an incredible game against Iowa to open Penn State’s conference play. The 305 yards from scrimmage put him in the front of the conversation with games against Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State.
The last two games for Barkley have put holes into his campaign as he has rushed for 107 yards on 35 carries and a touchdown in Penn State’s losses. While he opened off the Ohio State game with a kickoff return touchdown, his second half performance was poor as he lost three yards on eight carries.
His last two performances have put his yards per game average under 100, a number that does not bode well for a Heisman candidate. Barkley faces off against Rutgers this weekend and a performance similar to Iowa would help his argument.
Josh’s Pick: Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame
Although Adams was shut down last week against Wake Forest, he has catapulted Notre Dame into College Football Playoff contention with his play all season long. In his previous four games before last week, Adams ran for 670 yards and seven touchdowns.
On the season, Adams has failed to eclipse the 100-yard mark just three times, including five games with over 150 rushing yards. The only blemish on his resume is his pass catching ability. He has caught 10 passes for 82 yards and no touchdowns this season. His receiving numbers don’t compare to the other top backs in college football, but his rushing abilities sure make up for that.
His biggest game of the year comes this week at Miami. Winning this week can solidify Notre Dame’s slot in the playoff picture and a big game from Adams will go a long way in achieving that. All eyes will be on Adams Saturday night in Miami and a Heisman worthy performance will book him a seat New York City later on this year.
Hunter’s Pick: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
A lot can change in one week. It seems that the Heisman trophy was Saquon Barkley’s to lose for most of the season. After a couple uncharacteristically poor performances, Barkley would need to have record-breaking games in order to reclaim his frontrunner status. Baker Mayfield had himself quite the performance in Oklahoma’s most important rivalry to date in Bedlam. The Oklahoma Sooners traveled to Stillwater and defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 62-52.
A classic Big 12 game to say the least, the score compared more to a college basketball game than a football game. The battle between Mayfield and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph was a true display of great passing, with both players throwing for five touchdowns apiece. Mayfield was able to get the upper hand in the quarterback duel and Oklahoma collected their biggest win of the season. Even with Mayfield’s dominant performance, he has been playing at a prestigious level every game and it’s only fitting that he is the new Heisman favorite.
The two best words to describe Mayfield would be consistency and leadership. The numbers he has put out this season are jaw-dropping. This includes 3,226 passing yards, 33 total touchdowns, a 91.0 QBR, and a 71.7 completing percentage while only throwing five interceptions. Mayfield has played at a high level since transferring to Oklahoma from Texas Tech, but his senior season has been his best thus far. In terms of consistency, he has completed at least 63 percent of his passes and thrown for two touchdowns in every one of his games.
Although Mayfield has done some questionable stunts such as the public intoxication charge and planting the Oklahoma flag in the center of the “O” at midfield after beating Ohio State in Columbus, the way his team rallies behind him is something out of the ordinary. Mayfield is willing to take command of the troops and go to the war with his team, and his resiliency to not leave a game without the victory is what everyone admires about him. As long as Mayfield continues his spectacular play, he will most likely be winning the Heisman award.
Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Josh Starr is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Hunter Pitcoff is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. 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.