A wild week for college football reshaped the playoff race and naturally the Heisman race followed.
Despite a gallant effort, frontrunner Marcus Mariota was on the losing end Thursday against Arizona, meaning the race is wide open again.
Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott filled the void for the week, but a handful of players who were off the radar — Arizona’s Anu Solomon, TCU’s Trevone Boykin among them — can’t be ignored.
The Heisman race is an end-of-season award, but the race is part of the fun. Here are the contenders who added momentum or lost it in the last week.
Prescott has gone from dark horse to potential frontrunner with another standout performance in a convincing win over a top 10 team. Against LSU and the Texas A&M, he’s 34-of-49 for 524 yards with four touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 182 yards and four touchdowns against the Tigers and Aggies.
Hill didn’t have a great game against Arkansas — his 51.2 percent completion rate was the lowest of the season — but he found a way to win. The bottom fell out against Mississippi State as Hill threw three interceptions, giving him five picks in the last three games. He still passed for 366 yards and four touchdowns, but his candidacy has cooled.
Ole Miss’ standout secondary kept Cooper in check, at least by his standards. Cooper still got his nine catches, but he was held to a season-low 91 yards. He was kept out of the end zone for the first time since the opener and didn’t have a catch longer than 30 yards.
Auburn wanted to prove Marshall could thrive as a passer. Check that box. Marshall completed 14-of-22 passes for 207 yards with two touchdowns in a 41-7 rout of LSU. He remained a threat in the run game with 119 yards and two scores. Next up: A showdown with Mississippi State and Dak Prescott.
The Heisman is the least of BYU’s concerns as Hill was lost for the season after sustaining a broken leg in a 35-20 loss to Utah State. Hill was off to his best season as a passer, completing two-thirds of his passes for 975 yards and seven touchdowns in five games.
Redshirt freshmen have won the last two Heisman trophies, and Solomon may be the best contender to continue the trend. He out-dueled clubhouse leader Marcus Mariota late into the night Thursday by completing 20-of-31 passes for 287 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Solomon led a game-winning drive against the No. 2 team with 2:58 to go.
Mariota didn’t play poorly against Arizona, but the makeshift offensive line isn’t doing him any favors. Mariota no longer plays for an undefeated team, though his 276 yards and two touchdowns could have been enough to win Thursday. With Oregon’s struggles, this might not be the Ducks’ only Pac-12 loss this year.
Another great quarterback. Another bad offensive line. Mariota has some company in the Pac-12 in Hundley. The UCLA quarterback completed 16-of-21 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns but was sacked 10 times in a 30-28 loss to Utah.
How’s this for an out-of-nowhere contender? Boykin proved his early numbers were legitimate with a masterful performance against Oklahoma. The junior accounted for a career-high 395 yards of total offense (318 passing, 77 rushing) and two passing touchdowns to upset the Sooners.
Knight was able to pick on the TCU defense for big pass plays early. Oklahoma put more emphasis on the pass late in the game, and Knight couldn’t keep up. He completed 14-of-35 passes for 309 yards with two interceptions, including the decisive pick six early the fourth quarter.
In the grand scheme of things, Petty will be judged on how he plays against Oklahoma (and now TCU, perhaps). A 7-of-22 performance for 111 yards and two touchdowns was a shockingly low total for the prolific Baylor quarterback.
Abdullah has had plenty of success against the Michigan State defense the last two seasons. That changed Saturday. After back-to-back 200-yard games, Abdullah rushed for a season-low 45 yards on 24 carries in a 27-22 loss to Michigan State. Abdullah rushed for two touchdowns but didn’t account for a run longer than nine yards.
In a huge weekend, Gurley made sure he wasn’t overlooked. The 163 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in a rout of Vanderbilt is pretty standard for Gurley, but now he has the longest pass of the year for the Bulldogs with a 50-yard completion, 11 yards longer than any QB on the roster.
Gordon may be the nation’s most important player — it’s scary to think where Wisconsin would be without him. Gordon rushed for 259 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries against Northwestern giving him 693 yards in three weeks. The Badgers still lost 20-14 to the Wildcats.