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Should Tate Forcier Be in the Heisman Race?

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 19:  Fans of quarterback Tate Forcier #5 of the Michigan Wolverines hold signs promoting him before the game against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Michigan Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.   Michigan won 45-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Adam BoutonCorrespondent IOctober 4, 2009

After another near comeback victory for Michigan's Tate Forcier against Michigan State on Saturday, his performance begs one question.

Should the freshman be considered as a runner in the Heisman Trophy race?

After five games, the answer is yes.

Yes, it's only the beginning of October and the college football season isn't even half over, but Forcier has been electric in his first five starts this season.

He led Michigan to a thrilling victory over a then-ranked Notre Dame squad in Ann Arbor and also threw a go-ahead touchdown to Martavious Odoms to lead the Wolverines past Indiana.

Down 20-6 against Michigan State, Forcier again worked his magic.

He threw two touchdown passes in the final 4:47 to knot the game up and send it into overtime. Even though he threw an interception that ultimately doomed the Wolverines, Forcier is now a proven force in the college football world.

He has followed up each performance by producing another great effort.

His statistics aren't exactly Heisman-worthy at the moment, but the numbers when it counts are what matters.

The true freshman from San Diego has been nearly flawless in the fourth quarter.

Overall, he has thrown nine touchdowns and just three interceptions in the first five games of 2009. He has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes (59.7) and has added 154 yards rushing with two touchdowns.

While those numbers don't necessarily match up with players like Tim Tebow (11 total touchdowns) or Colt McCoy (10 total touchdowns), his grit and determination have far surpassed the likes of some of the more well-known stars around the country.

Especially impressive in the game against the Spartans was that it was Forcier's first road game. It looked like it would be a poor first outing for the Maize and Blue quarterback, but he showed poise in leading Michigan down the field twice in tying the game in East Lansing.

Where would Michigan be without Forcier?

They would have easily lost to Michigan State and probably would have just two wins and a 0-2 record in the conference at this point in the year.

Forcier must continue his hot start and keep his high level of play throughout the season. It won't be easy with more road games against Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin in the future. But he looked good under pressure and should be brimming more and more with confidence after every game.

Another fact that I believe will help him is that the Wolverines don't have a week off until after its final scheduled game against Ohio State. He also has to play some of the harder games left (Penn State and Ohio State) at home in front of 110,000 Wolverine fans.

Michigan is in the thick of the Big 10 race and it looks as though it should stay near the top of the conference for most of the season. Forcier must continue to perform well and win some big games for him to be counted in the top group of contenders.

It's really tough to say who will win the Heisman Trophy at this point in the season. There is plenty of great performances that are yet to unfold.

But as of Week Five, Tate Forcier must be considered as one of the leading candidates as college football heads into the second half of its season.

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