Moore Closes Heisman Gap

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Boise's QB has gained ground on Cameron Newton – but only a little.

Boise's QB has gained ground on Cameron Newton – but only a little.

By Braden Gall

The Heisman Trophy is college football's most prestigious trophy, so the editors here at Athlon take the voting for the 13.5-inch, 25-pound award very seriously. Each week, the ballots are collected and tallied from inside the walls of Athlon Sports. Each editor votes for five players (unlike the official three) and a first-place vote is worth 5 points, a second is worth 4 points so and so forth down to the fifth-place vote earning 1 point.

Follow our voters on twitter: Charlie Miller (@AthlonCharlie), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden), Rob Doster (@AthlonDoster), Nathan Rush (@AthlonRush) and Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman).

by Braden Gall

Here is how this week's vote turned out:

1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn (34 pts, 6 first place votes)

After another 151 yards rushing and four more touchdowns — and a big win over Georgia at home — Newton's hold on Athlon's top Heisman spot continues. The off-the- field issues have clearly impacted some voters around the country, but only one of the seven here at Athlon. He is still the man to beat.

What's Next: Auburn is on bye this week.

2. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (24 pts, 1 first place vote)

The 180.9 QB-rating Moore posted in the 52-14 drubbing of in-state rival Idaho looks mediocre when compared to his season totals. He finished 19-of-26 for 216 yards and three TDs passing. It was a ho-hum performance by a player who has yet to lose a conference game in his career (21-0) and is on the verge of setting the single-season NCAA passer efficiency mark. Moore might also be the only player in the top four who has not been arrested.

What's Next: Boise hosts Fresno State this weekend in one of two final tests for the Broncos. In two career games against Fresno, Moore has only 394 yards with five TDs and no INTs.

3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (22 pts)

The blur of green and yellow proved to be very human this weekend. Cal is a much better home team than road team, and the Bears proved it by holding the electric James to 91 yards on 29 carries (3.1 ypc). It was the Ducks' defense that won the game last weekend, not James and the nation's No. 1 scoring offense.

What's Next: The Ducks are on bye this week.

4. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State (8 pts)

Blackmon continues his assualt on opposing secondaries. The Cowboys receiver caught nine passes for 145 yards and a TD in the big road win over rival Texas this weekend. He is still leading the nation in receiving yards — although he isn't actually leading his own conference in receptions per game (OU's Ryan Broyles, with 9.4) — and has had at least 125 yards in every game he has played this season. Blackmon's arrest might have cost him a trip to New York.

What's Next: A road trip to Kansas to battle the Big 12's worst scoring defense (33 ppg). You think the lawfirm of Weeden, Blackmon, Gundy and Holgerson are salivating yet?

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Athlon's editors have voted, and here is how we see the Heisman trophy race after 12 weeks.

5. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (7 pts)

Lattimore was the biggest mover in this week's polling — and rightfully so. With all due respect to James, Marcus Lattimore is the best, most complete, most talented running back in the nation. He toted the rock 40 times for 212 yards and three scores last weekend en route to clinching the Cocks' first trip to the SEC title game in school history. Lattimore has literally carried his team to wins over Georgia (37 att., 182 yds, 2 TDs), Alabama (23 att., 93 yds, 3 TDs), Tennessee (29 att., 182 yds, TD) and Florida. He trails only Newton in rushing in the SEC even though he missed the Vanderbilt game and the second half of the Kentucky loss.

What's Next: Steve Spurrier will likely rest the freshman stud this week against Troy. With an extremely heated (and underrated) rivaly game with Clemson followed by a rematch with Auburn in the SEC Championship Game looming large, I fully expect the freshman to see plenty of pine this weekend.

6. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (6 pts)

This was an off week for Mr. Luck. He threw the ball 41 times — completing 33 of them — for 292 yards and no scores in a tightly played affair in the desert against Arizona State. But he did help lead Stanford down the field for a fourth quarter, game-winning touchdown with a little over five minutes left in the game. The Cardinal still have Roses in their eyes thanks mostly to Luck.

What's Next: The Cardinal head to Berkeley for the Big Game. Cal plays dramatically better at home this season (just ask Oregon) and will give Luck a nice test. Throw out the records (and tubas) when these two get together.

7. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech (2 pts)

The ACC's likely Player of the Year continued his excellent play with a solid road showing against North Carolina. Taylor kept the Hokies unbeaten in conference play by throwing for 249 yards and two scores. He has been the conference's most efficient passer and has made plenty of plays with his legs as well. He should be a lock for ACC POY.

What's Next: The nation's No. 2 pass efficiency defense awaits in Miami this weekend. The Hokies put their undefeated conference mark on the line when they square off against the Canes this weekend.

8. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State (1 pt)

Why Weeden isn't much higher up this list is appalling to me. Weeden has already set the Oklahoma State single-season passing yards mark (3,911) and has three, maybe four, games still left to play. He is the Big 12's most efficient passer. He leads the nation's No. 1-rated offense (no, its not you Ducks), producing just under 550 yards per game. He posted his second consecutive 400-yard game this weekend in only the Pokes' second win in Austin — ever. He has the Cowboys poised for a trip to the Big 12 title game with a win in the Bedlem Series in two weeks. Oh, and he led his team to 41 points against Nebraska (OSU's only loss), the highest point total allowed by the Huskers since Nov. 1, 2008.

What's Next: Weeden faces the worst scoring defense in the conference when OSU heads to Kansas. I hope the scoreboard operator stretches well before this one.

9. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (1 pt)

The electric Robinson was slowed by turnovers last week, but at least he played the entire game — and Michigan won too. The four turnovers and modest rushing output (68 yards) no doubt hurt his Heisman chances. He still managed 176 yards passing, though.

What's Next: A home game against Wisconsin — a place Bucky has won only once since 1963 — could be just the stage Shoelace needs to get back into the race. A huge effort this weekend and an upset over a top-10 team, and D-Rob is right back in the mix.