Tua Tagovailoa — Quarterback, Alabama
Tagovailoa passed his first test of the season in the Tide’s 47-28 win over an Aggie squad desperate for a win against a ranked opponent. The junior sensation and Heisman front-runner broke AJ McCarron’s school record for passing touchdowns after throwing his 78th career touchdown in the first quarter.
Tua finished with 293 yards and four touchdowns as Alabama earned its first victory over a ranked opponent this season.
Don’t expect any changes to Alabama’s stellar season this week as they welcome one of the worst Tennessee teams in recent memory to Tuscaloosa.
Jalen Hurts — Quarterback, Oklahoma
Through six games, Hurts put up stellar numbers and performances, but was still missing a true Heisman moment for his résumé.
Playing in his first Red River Showdown Saturday afternoon, Hurts finally delivered his Heisman moment.
The graduate transfer quarterback’s MVP performance was marked by a spectacular behind-the-back move where he escaped a sack, scrambled out of the pocket and connected with junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb for a 13-yard completion.
Despite Hurts’ Red River magic, the quarterback had his worst statistical performance of the season. Hurts turned the ball over in the red zone twice, finished with a season-low 82.8 quarterback rating and threw for a measly 235 yards in an otherwise statistical blowout against Texas.
Hurts still made an important Heisman statement in his biggest game this season, but he won’t be tested again until the Sooners travel to Waco in November to play the Bears, now ranked 18th.
Joe Burrow — Quarterback, LSU
Senior Burrow has stuffed the stats in every category of the Heisman race — he’s shredded two Top-10 opponents in primetime, he’s broken school passing records and trails only Washington State’s Anthony Gordon in total passing yards on the season.
Burrow threw for fewer than 300 yards for the first time since Week One, but boasted an incredible quarterback rating of over 98 in the Tigers’ prime-time win over the Florida Gators.
Week in and week out, Burrow continues to solidify himself as an LSU great. The suspense is building as LSU’s meeting with Alabama approaches — Nov. 19 could easily shape up to be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle.
For now though, LSU fans will have to be content with shredding the SEC West every week. Expect nothing less this week as the Tigers face off against a disappointing Mississippi State team.
Jonathan Taylor — Running back, Wisconsin
While our top three candidates have spent the first half of the season jockeying for the title, Jonathan Taylor has quietly slipped into the Heisman conversation with six games of efficient running.
The junior running back sits at third in the nation in rushing yards and averages a whopping 6.4 yards per carry, although that was hindered slightly by a modest performance against Michigan State.
Taylor currently leads the nation in touchdowns (14), and leads the Wisconsin charge as the Badgers try to muscle their way into playoff contention.
Taking on a bottom-dwelling Illinois team in Week Eight, expect another huge performance from Taylor this Saturday.