Heisman Watch: Week 9
With week eight wrapped up in the world of college football, we head further and further into conference play. There are often some unexpected victories for the underdogs during these weeks of conference foes matching up against one another since there is a high level of familiarity between the two squads. It is always important to remember that any team can win on any given Saturday if they come out and play with an unmatched intensity and will to get the job done. A loss by a favored team can often hurt a Heisman candidate’s chances of taking home the hardware, especially if he had an awful game, and a perfect example of this is Will Grier’s performance against the Iowa State Cyclones a few weeks back.
1.) Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
The past two weeks have been Tua Tagovailoa’s least efficient outings all season, and yet the Crimson Tide continues to roll past any and all opponents that dare to get in their way. In this week’s 58-21 beatdown of the Tennessee Volunteers, Tagovailoa managed to complete 65.5 percent of his passes, throw for 306 yards and connect on four touchdown passes. The Hawaiian quarterback continues to prove that he will not lose his head coach Nick Saban a football game with mistakes that other quarterbacks are prone to making. In fact, Tagovailoa has yet to toss an interception for the entire year.
Before the first half reached a conclusion the left-handed field general showcased his ability to run a two-minute offense. The Alabama offense started the drive at its own 26-yard line and was up by 21 points. Tagovailoa would open up the drive with a 23-yard strike to Jaylen Waddle, the team’s leading receiver for the game. He handled the blitz well during the series and would march his team down to the red zone and capped the drive off with a touchdown pass to his tight end Irv Smith.
On the season Tagovailoa has amassed 2189 total yards, 27 total touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 70.4 percent completion rate. He has proven throughout the weeks that he has all the tools available to make accurate throws in the long, intermediate and short passing game as well as the ability to make good decisions with the football.
2.) Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
This past week the Oklahoma Sooners were coming off of their bye week, fresh off of a close loss to a rising Texas program that seems to have been able to finally right the ship this season. Murray was not to blame for the loss to Texas and was ready to come out and lead his team to victory in Fort Worth against the TCU Horned Frogs. Murray went on to throw for 213 yards and four touchdowns. Like Tagovailoa, Murray has continued to be an extremely efficient quarterback and completed 19 of 24 passes with zero interceptions in the 52-27 victory over TCU. Murray also ran for 51 yards with a long of 19 in last week’s contest.
The 5-foot-10 quarterback has been dazzling fans with his performances on the gridiron throughout the year. He has totaled an overall completion percentage of 72.3, 2405 total yards and 30 total touchdowns and has led the Oklahoma Sooners to a 6-1 record thus far.
Murray is an absolute blast to watch with the ball in his hands. He can make every throw in the book, can elude defenders with ease and has lightning quick feet. Against TCU Murray sent many footballs flying out of his hands with incredible velocity, and he is really a quarterback that can put some zip on the ball when he has to complete a pass quickly. His extreme efficiency, exciting style of play and the lack of quality defense played in the Big 12 should keep Murray as one of the Heisman front-runners this season.
3.) Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
The whole week prior people were talking about the potential “trap game” that Ohio State was walking into at West Lafayette, Indiana. The Buckeyes came out slow against a Purdue team that was eager to pounce and get a statement win at home this season. The Boilermakers downed the Buckeyes by a score of 49-20. Haskins attempted a whopping 73 passes during the game as Ohio State has struggled to run the ball lately. He finished the day with 470 yards through the air, two touchdowns and a pick-six at the very end of the game.
Luckily for Haskins, the Heisman is a yearly award, and this poor team performance is not entirely Haskins’ fault. The young man still put up massive numbers in the loss, his team just got smacked in the mouth on the road by a team that needed a win. The Maryland native has racked up a total of 2857 yards and 31 touchdowns while completing 71.1 percent of his 315 pass attempts this season. Clearly, the loss hurts, but Haskins has still produced every week he has taken the field and does not deserve to be passed up by anyone else yet on the road to the Heisman trophy.
Logan Dolby is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email email@example.com.