Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen Heats Up Heisman Race
October has struck us with crisp air, and high winds. We are also beginning to see the Heisman Race work itself out. In this edition of the Heisman watch, four new faces emerge into the spotlight.
Houston quarterback Case Keenum has fallen out of the race after the Cougars were upset by UTEP. Keenum still has a legitimate claim to being a candidate for this prestigious award, but his chances of winning dissipated when Houston lost.
Cal running back Jahvid Best, although playing injured, had another lackluster performance in the Golden Bears defeat at the hands of the USC Trojans. With his subpar play the last two weeks, his name is thrown into the pot with the Daryll Clark's and Jacory Harris's, of the college football world.
You know, guys that could crack this list again, but must reverse their course.
Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson, ranked 11th last week, has fallen out after a performance where he struggled with his composure, while facing a solid Arkansas pass rush. The Aggies ended up losing that game, but it still wasn't completely Johnson's fault.
Kansas QB Todd Reesing has dropped from the Top 12 by default since Kansas was off, and several players performed well enough to leap him in this race.
Other players that are on the mend are Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant, Alabama QB Greg McElroy, West Virginia RB Noel Devine, and Tennessee S Eric Berry.
12—WR Golden Tate (Notre Dame)
Stats: 5 G, 33 Rec., 602 yards, 4 TDs/13 carries, 93 yards, 1 TD
Notre Dame Record: 4-1 (next: USC)
Former Notre Dame wide receiver Tim Brown would be proud, as current Fighting Irish WR Golden Tate is looking to become just the third WR to win the Heisman Trophy.
Tim Brown was the first WR to win the Heisman Trophy in 1987.
Thus far, Tate is fourth nationally in receiving yards. He is averaging a very impressive 18.2 yards per catch.
Notre Dame is also utilizing their most explosive play-maker in the wildcat formation, making him a versatile threat that each opponent of Notre Dame has to specifically game-plan around.
11—QB Chris Todd (Auburn)
Stats: 5 G, 81/138, 1230 yards, 58.7%, 12 TD/1 INT, 2 sacks
Auburn Record: 5-0 (next: at Arkansas)
Believe it or not, Auburn is back on the map as a threat to win the Southeastern Conference after an impressive 5-0 start to the season which includes wins over West Virginia and Tennessee.
The Tigers faithful can thank quarterback Chris Todd.
Although he lacks a great completion percentage, he is seventh nationally in touchdown passes thrown. He also has the eighth best passing efficiency rating.
The Tigers will come and go, with Chris Todd's ability to exploit the defense after it presses to stop the Auburn rushing attack.
10—RB John Clay (Wisconsin)
Stats: 5 G, 112 carries, 582 yards, 7 TDs
Wisconsin Record: 5-0 (next: at Ohio State)
Since the '90s, Wisconsin has been the home of a powerful rushing attack. Former Badger RB Ron Dayne won the 1999 Heisman Trophy, and P.J. Hill had an impressive career from 2005-2008.
The next great Badger tailback is John Clay.
Versus division one-FBS opponents, and receiving at least 21 carries, Clay is averaging 156.3 rushing yards per game.
Clay is currently fourth in the nation in rushing yards, and eighth in rushing touchdowns.
His legs are driving the underrated and undefeated Wisconsin Badgers into a showdown with Ohio State next week.
With a win for Wisconsin, and an impressive outing from Clay, he could shoot up the Heisman rankings next week.
9—QB Kellen Moore (Boise State)
Stats: 5 G, 92/133, 1217 yards, 69.2%, 13 TD/2 INT, 3 sacks
Boise State Record: 5-0 (next: at Tulsa)
Kellen Moore dips in the rankings due to his team's lackadaisical effort against Cal-Davis. Moore still put on a good show, completing 71 percent of his passes, for 285 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
He did throw his first interception since Sept. 12 though.
Still, Moore is not getting much respect around the Heisman circuit although it is due.
He has a strong arm, and is the leader of a top five team in the country. He is second best in passing efficiency, right behind Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen.
Give him his due!
8—WR Eric Decker (Minnesota)
Stats: 5 G, 43 receptions, 639 yards, 5 TDs
Minnesota Record: 3-2 (next: Purdue)
Which wide receiver is second in the nation in receptions, and first in the nation in receiving yards?
If you guessed Dez Bryant, Dezmon Briscoe, Golden Tate, Mike Williams, or Mardy Gilyard, you guessed wrong. It is Minnesota's Eric Decker.
Decker is not receiving enough attention, because he plays in a conference that is not known for prolific receivers putting up the kind of gaudy numbers you expect from someone in a conference full of run-and-shoot offenses.
Decker is on pace for 100+ receptions. It is about time we start paying attention to what he is doing.
7—RB Toby Gerhart (Stanford)
Stats: 5 G, 120 carries, 650 yards, 8 TDs
Stanford Record: 4-1 (next: at Oregon State)
The nation's top rusher continues to shred defenses in the Pac-10.
This past Saturday, Gerhart ripped the UCLA Bruins defense for 134 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
He is averaging nearly five and a half yards per carry on the season, while Stanford continues to make waves throughout the Pac-10.
The Cardinals should win their next three games before heading into a collision with Oregon, and then an inevitable showdown with USC.
By then, Gerhart should be a household name since he is only the best running back west of the Mississippi River.
6—QB Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)
Stats: 4 G, 87/131, 1161 yards, 66.4%, 11 TD/0 INT, 4 sacks
Missouri Record: 4-0 (next: Nebraska)
The exhibition games are over for Gabbert and Missouri, as he will finally find a true test in Nebraska this Thursday night.
Gabbert did not play yesterday, but he is still on pace to be one of the most productive quarterbacks in Big 12 history.
Only three quarterbacks are more efficient than Gabbert: Jimmy Clausen, Kellen Moore, and Tim Tebow.
His next three games are against ranked opponents, so we will find out just how good this guy is.
After all, Mizzou fans have already forgotten about Chase Daniel.
5—QB Tim Tebow (Florida)
Stats: 4 G, 44/68, 643 yards, 64.7%, 6 TD/1 INT, 6 sacks, 271 rushing yards, 5 rushing TDs
Florida Record: 4-0 (next: at LSU)
Here it is: Tim Tebow will face his toughest test, if he can play, next Saturday at Louisiana State.
Let's see how good he is.
One bad game could ruin his chances at the Heisman Trophy, although he will be in the race all season long since he is "Superman."
With all of the hype set aside, Tebow is the leader of the No. 1 team in America.
With a week off, and some uncertainty around his immediate future, he slides down in this week's rankings.
4—QB Colt McCoy (Texas)
Stats: 4 G, 103/145, 1145 yards, 71%, 9 TD/5 INT, 4 sacks
Texas Record: 4-0 (next: Colorado)
Colt McCoy and the Texas Longhorns had a week off.
McCoy is currently not living up to his billing as a Heisman Trophy candidate, and a bad game or two could completely derail his chances at following in the footsteps of Tim Tebow, and Sam Bradford.
Still, with plenty of meat left on the schedule, notably the rivalry game with Oklahoma, McCoy has plenty of time left to state his case for this great award.
3—RB Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)
Stats: 5 G, 108 carries, 570 yards, 8 TD, 120 receiving yards
Virginia Tech Record: 4-1 (next: Boston College)
Billed as the next Adrian Peterson in the last Heisman watch update, freshman RB Ryan Williams just struggled against a stout Duke defense led by DT Vince Oghobaase.
Still, Williams rises from fifth to third in this update, because he is currently seventh in the nation in rushing, while carrying the load for the No. 5 Hokies offense.
2—QB Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame)
Stats: 5 G, 100/148, 1544 yards, 67.6%, 12 TD/2 INT, 8 sacks
Notre Dame Record: 4-1 (next: USC)
Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen solidified his candidacy for the Heisman Trophy with a 422-yards performance on Saturday against Washington.
Clausen was coming off of a subpar performance against Purdue until he led the Fighting Irish to a rallying victory.
Knute Rockne, the great Notre Dame head coach, would be pleased since after all, he is known as the father of the forward pass.
The last Notre Dame quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy was John Huarte in 1964.
Notre Dame has next week off, but Clausen could make a statement against the rest of this group with an electrifying performance against the USC Trojans.
1—QB Tony Pike (Cincinnati)
Stats: 5 G, 116/174, 1493 yards, 66.7%, 13 TD/3 INT, 3 sacks
Cincinnati Record: 5-0 (next: at South Florida)
College football has changed so much in the last decade.
Cincinnati is the reigning Big East champion, are ranked No. 8 in the nation, and they have the best quarterback in America.
QB Tony Pike is not receiving his due diligence, but his play on the field speaks for itself.
Among all college passers, Pike is fifth in passing yardage, third in touchdowns, and eleventh in efficiency.
So far this season, he has had his way with Rutgers, Oregon State, and Fresno State.
Able to buy time in the pocket, Pike has one of the strongest arms. He is also savvy with his feet, rushing for two touchdowns in the year.
The bottom line is that the Bearcats can create a massive controversy by running the table. They would be poking their heads in at a national championship.
Also, Tony Pike could be staring at a Heisman Trophy, which would be the first in school history.