Week 3 offered only one game between two ranked teams, so the notion of Heisman moments was in short supply this week.
There was one great play by the current frontrunner for the award, but that play came against Wyoming. It will live in Marcus Mariota’s highlight package, but there will be more to come in bigger games.
Instead, this was probably a more notable weekend for those who showed up in the sleeper category of all those preseason lists.
The Heisman race is the only sports award that determines its field of contenders before the season actually starts. As such, we’ll keep track of all the contenders (and pretenders) for the award here.
Knight completed 20-of-33 passes for 308 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a 34-10 win over Tennessee. That gives him a pair of 300-yard passing games against SEC teams, though the gulf between Alabama and the Volunteers may be wide.
First off: Nothing Gurley did should be counted against him. He was magnificent as usual with 131 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Georgia’s decision to pass on first-and-goal from the 4 resulting in an intentional grounding denied Gurley a chance for a potential game-winning touchdown in a road game against South Carolina. Those plays are the bedrock of a Heisman campaign, but Georgia opted for another, less successful, direction.
Petty played his first game at full strength this season and looked like the Petty of 2013. He completed 23-of-34 passes for 416 yards with four touchdowns in a 63-21 win over Buffalo on Friday. Petty missed the last game and was in visible pain in the SMU opener due to cracked bones in his back.
Ho-hum, the Huskies linebacker is only Washington’s third-leading scorer with 18 points. The two-way star did it the old-fashioned way in a 44-19 rout of Illinois with an interception and a fumble returned for touchdowns. Reminder: a defensive player has as many touchdowns as Rice and South Alabama and more than Southern Miss and SMU.
Is the Pittsburgh tailback the 2014 version of Andre Williams? Perhaps so. He rushed for 177 yards on 31 carries in a 42-25 win over FIU. He added three touchdowns for a nation’s-best eight this season. Conner probably deserves another nod a week late after watching what Boston College’s run defense did to USC. Conner rushed for 213 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles.
Under the circumstances, UCLA has nothing but good news surrounding its star quarterback. The Bruins found a way to beat Texas under backup Jerry Neuheisel for more than three quarters, and Hundley is expected back for UCLA’s next game at Arizona State on Sept. 25 after he mends a hyperextended elbow. He was off to a perfect start (4-for-4) against the Longhorns before his injury.
Kelly completed 13-of-21 passes for 195 yards and rushed for 70 and a touchdown in the 38-24 win over Colorado, but his status is in question. Kelly left the game in the third quarter and returned to the sideline on crutches and with his right foot in a boot.
History and Geno Smith remind us not to get too excited about West Virginia quarterbacks in September, but Trickett is one of the most improved QBs in the nation. He completed 37-of-49 passes for 511 yards with four touchdowns in a 40-37 win over Maryland and is in the top five nationally in yards (1,224) and completion percentage (75.4).
As long as Texas Tech’s run defense is abysmal, the Red Raiders will need 400 yards out of Webb. The sophomore completed 27-of-45 passes for 252 and offered up his second two-interception game of the season.
To the extend a Minnesota running back was a viable Heisman contender, Cobb rushed for 41 yards on 15 carries in a 30-7 loss to TCU.