Heisman Watch: Week 14

Nick Cremona

1. Trent Richardson RB Alabama
Week 13 at Auburn- Rushing: 27 carries, 203 yards (7.5 ypc) Receiving: 1 reception, 5 yards, 1 TD
Season Stats- Rushing: 263 carries, 1,583 yards (6.0 ypc), 20 TD Receiving: 27 receptions, 327 yards (12.1 ypc), 3 TD

Although he didn’t find the endzone on the ground for only the third game this year, Richardson did spearhead a dominant offensive gameplan that pummeled rival Auburn 42-17 last weekend. He also topped 200-yards rushing for the first time this season while adding a receiving score to his resume. In all but three games this year Richardson has gone past the 100-yard rushing mark and scored at least one touchdown, precisely why he sits atop the most recent Heisman Expert’s Poll. Richardson and the Tide aren’t participating in the SEC title game due to their earlier loss to LSU, but with their No. 2 national ranking it seems as if they are headed for the National Championship game anyhow.

2. Andrew Luck QB Stanford
Week 13 vs. Notre Dame- 20/30 (66.7%), 233 yards, 4 TD 1 INT
Season Stats- Passing: 261/373 (70.0%), 3,170 yards, 35 TD 9 INT Rushing: 43 carries, 153 yards (3.6 ypc), 2 TD

Once again Luck was efficient enough to lead his team over a pretty good Notre Dame squad. He also surpassed two of the former Cardinal quarterback John Elway’s records in the win; one for career touchdown passes (78), and another for single-season touchdown passes (33). Those are no small records, and that’s just another reason Luck remains close to the top of the Heisman rankings. You can’t help but think that his projection into playing in the NFL has a little to do with his Heisman hopes as well. Whatever the case, he is having a good year and is still one of the most accurate passers in the nation. There’s no doubt Luck will be among the top-three vote getters in New York come the end of the year.

3. Robert Griffin III QB Baylor
Week 13 vs. Texas Tech- Passing: 7/11 (63.6%), 106 yards, 1 TD Rushing: 14 carries, 62 yards, 2 TD
Season Stats- Passing: 252/347 (72.6%), 3,678 yards, 34 TD 5 INT Rushing: 149 carries, 612 yards (4.1 ypc), 7 TD

One can only speculate at what sort of gaudy numbers Griffin would have put up in last week’s game against the Red Raiders had he returned from an apparent concussion, but he wasn’t too shabby in just under two quarters of work either. His numbers are still competitive but he’ll need a solid performance this week against the Longhorns if he wants to jump Richardson and Luck. I can’t imagine head coach Art Briles keeping RGIII out of this week’s game so expect backup Nick Florence to return to bench, even after his on-the-spot performance a week ago.

4. Case Keenum QB Houston
Week 13 at Tulsa- 33/46 (71.7%), 457 yards, 5 TD
Season Stats- Passing: 342/467 (73.2%), 4,726 yards, 43 TD 3 INT Rushing: 44 carries, 43 yards, 3 TD

It’s hard not to root for this guy. Don’t forget this is the same guy that tore his ACL in the third game of the season just last season. After Keenum went down the Cougars’ backup quarterback, Cotton Turner, went down with a fractured clavicle in the same game and was also lost for the year. This season things are a bit different as the Cougars are in prime position to reach the Sugar Bowl for the first time. Ever. No team from C-USA has ever reached a BCS bowl in fact. Even after all the run-and-shoot teams the Cougars had in the early ‘90s where they would sometimes score 80 points, they never did reach the Sugar. If Keenum and the Cougars can get past Southern Miss in the C-USA title game they can put to rest any talk about not being a legitimate BCS contender.

5. Montee Ball RB Wisconsin
Week 13 vs. Penn State- 25 carries, 156 yards (6.2 ypc), 4 TD
Season Stats- Rushing: 248 carries, 1,622 yards (6.5 ypc), 29 TD Receiving: 17 receptions, 248 yards (14.6 ypc), 5 TD

At the beginning of the season it was another Badger receiving Heisman consideration, but Ball has been so consistent this year he needs to be mentioned among the top performers in 2011. Ball fits the mold of a Badger running back, checking in at a stout 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds. He’s second in the nation in total rushing yards and his 29 rushing scores are the most in the country. Even Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein’s monster season of 24 rushing touchdowns is still a ways off of Ball’s incredible total. Add his five receiving scores to that total and now his numbers are among the most impressive of any player in college football. To put it simply, Ball has rushed for no less than 60 yards and a touchdown in every game this season. Talk about dependability.