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Heisman Trophy Watch: Week 5 Standings in the Heisman Race

Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterDecember 11, 2016

Heisman Trophy Watch: Week 5 Standings in the Heisman Race

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    It's been a while since one player has turned so many heads with multiple Heisman-worthy performances in September but then again, it's been a while since college football has had such an electric player as my No. 1 Heisman candidate.

    The race is still not over. But one player has taken a commanding lead in the race and at this point, it's his to lose. 

    Unto the candidates...

10: Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

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    Running back Marcus Lattimore improved his rushing numbers this week with 23 carries, 120 yards and two touchdowns against Kentucky. Unfortunately, I was expecting bigger numbers from him.

    With upcoming games against Georgia, at LSU, at Florida and at Clemson, he's got some high-profile opportunities to have a breakout game, but he has to get over that 150-yard hump. 

9: Matt Barkley, USC

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    The USC Trojans were on a bye last Saturday, and this week they travel to Utah. Quarterback Matt Barkley has a lot of catching up to do if he wants an invite to New York City in December. 

    If Barkley can produce a 200-yard passing game without any interceptions against the Utes, then he'll be back in the conversation. We need to see an airshow with shock and awe. 

8: Braxton Miller, Ohio State

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    Quarterback Braxton Miller had a good game against Michigan State going 16-of-23 for 179 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 136 yards on 23 carries. 

    Miller had an impressive win on the road against a stout Spartan defense, but the Big Ten just isn't as strong as last year—unless he puts up bigger numbers, he, like Matt Barkley, will drop out of the Heisman race. 

7: De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon

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    Running back De'Anthony Thomas is an exciting player to watch but sadly, we aren't getting enough of this human highlight reel.

    Against Washington State, Thomas had six carries for 26 yards and one touchdown. Prior to that game, he had a 62-yard game against Tennessee Tech and 48-yard game against Arizona. One more sub-100 yard game, and he's probably out of the race. 

6: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

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    The Fighting Irish play Miami (FL) at Soldier Field in Chicago this Saturday after coming off a bye week.

    This "Catholics versus Convicts" contest could produce another reason for Heisman voters to consider this superb athlete. I'm a defense-oriented geek, and I appreciate what Te'o has brought to the game every week.

    If Te'o has another dominating day like he did against Michigan State, he could move way up in these standings. 

5: David Ash, Texas

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    Texas Longhorn quarterback David Ash is new to the list this week, and his entry left a giant wake behind him. 

    Ash had a masterful performance against Oklahoma State on Saturday. Ash went 30-of-37 for 304 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the Longhorns' 46-31 win over the Cowboys.

    It wasn't just Ash's numbers that got him in the Heisman race, it was his poise. His head was in the game and he looked completely unrattled in a hostile venue.  

4: E.J. Manuel, Florida State

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    Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel is also a new entry on this list.  

    Manuel went 19-of-26 for 242 yards and one touchdown in the Seminoles' 30-17 win over South Florida. His "it" factor is his consistency: his accuracy has never dropped below 62 percent and right now, he's completing over 73 percent of his throws. 

    He's still flying a little low under the radar but he's getting more noticed by voters, myself included.

3: Aaron Murray, Georgia

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    Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, if he keeps this pace up, may catch up to the No. 1 Heisman candidate on my list. It's a long shot, but we're early into October and anything can happen.

    Consider this: Murray's accuracy percentage has increased for five consecutive weeks. 

    Murray completed 57.7, 62.9, 73.7 and 75 percent of his first four games' passes, and last week against Tennessee, he completed an amazing 76 percent of his passes going 19-of-25 for 278 yards. 

2: Collin Klein, Kansas State

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    The Kansas State Wildcats were on a bye last week so there are no new stats to peruse, but this week the 'Cats host the Kansas Jayhawks. I expect a very productive day from Klein, and he should solidify his No. 2 standing. 

1: Geno Smith, West Virginia

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    I know, there's no shock over this pick, is there?

    Quarterback Geno Smith made so many jaws drop on Saturday you almost wish he had done this in late October or early November when "Heisman Moments" are recollected.

    Lucky for Smith, this "Heisman moment" will not be forgotten: 45-of-51, 656 yards, eight touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 248. Those aren't his season stats, those are his game stats against Baylor.

    My... goodness. 

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