Heisman Watch: Week 3

Story posted September 12, 2018 in Sports, CommRadio by Logan Dolby

Plenty of last weeks contenders had nice games, but none were able to unseat last week’s Heisman hopefuls even though Dwayne Haskins has made a strong push through the first two weeks. Each of the top three had excellent performances in their team's victory over the weekend, filling up the stat sheets and making incredible plays.

1. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Taylor can flat out run the football. A former New Jersey track star, Taylor just outruns defenders when he gets the edge. He seems like he plays on another level anytime he touches the field. He excels at moving the chains and putting the ball in the end zone.

Last week Wisconsin faced New Mexico at home, beating them easily by a score of 45-14 on the back of their workhorse running back. Taylor rushed 33 times for a whopping 253 yards, averaging 7.7 yards per carry. He often shed would-be-tacklers en route to a first down in this electric performance.

Basically, if Wisconsin wants to score a touchdown, they just need to give the sophomore running back the ball 13 times, about his average carry total per touchdown for the game. He scored three total touchdowns in the victory, beating New Mexico by himself offensively. His strong performance this past week moves him up a spot in the rankings from last week.

2. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Murray was even more electrifying in week two against UCLA than he was week one. He helped the Sooners defeat the Bruins 49-21 last week with an exciting offensive performance. Again, Murray regularly made defenders miss and executed running back fakes so well that he was fooling the commentators during the game.

Murray racked up a total of 309 yards through the air, led his team in rushing with 69 yards, scored five total touchdowns, and finished the day with a 159.4 passer rating. He was not as efficient this past week as he was previously, throwing an interception, but all is forgiven when you total almost 400 yards against a power five opponent while leading your team in almost every offensive category. The Sooners lost starting running back Rodney Anderson for the year, but should not be too concerned since they have a premier offensive weapon touching the ball on every offensive down.

Head coach Chip Kelly could not find an answer to this huge problem he had on his hands defensively. Murray is just faster than everyone else on the field and his agility is incredible. Most of the time when he goes down it is of his own accord, sliding before a defender gets a chance to hit him or popping out of bounds after burning the defense on a 20-yard run to move the chains. He is a very smart, athletic player who will be an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses to handle.

Murray’s performance against a power five opponent moves him up one spot in the rankings from last week. If he keeps up the incredible performances like this past week he should be solid in his campaign for a Heisman trophy.

3. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia

Grier impressed again this past week, leading his team to a 52-17 home win over Youngstown State in some rainy conditions. Bo Pellini’s squad made Grier very uncomfortable in the first quarter though, forcing an interception and some errant throws downfield. After the first quarter though, the West Virginia quarterback began to heat up, completing some really nice passes to his playmaking wide receivers.

Grier finished the day with 332 yards, four total touchdowns, a passer rating of 231.1, and a completion percentage of 80.8. Three of his four touchdowns on the day went to Gary Jennings, while the other was caught by Dominique Maiden on a nice post route where Grier stuck the ball right in between the eight and two on his receiver’s jersey.

He also put his shiftiness on display again this week, making YSU rushers miss often when the protection started to break down in the pocket. He took only one sack from a defensive front line that has produced NFL talent in the recent past.

Although he had a very nice game at home, I wish Grier would have put up some more eye-popping numbers this week against an opponent that plays in the Missouri Valley conference. He just did not have enough this week to maintain the number one spot in the Heisman rankings.

 

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