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Kellen Moore: Did He Become the Heisman Front-Runner on Monday?

Bailey BrautiganCorrespondent ISeptember 3, 2016

Kellen Moore: Did He Become the Heisman Front-Runner on Monday?

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    After an outstanding performance from Boise State in Monday night's showdown in Landover, Md., many of us are beginning to see a Heisman Trophy in the ice-cold quarterback's future.

    This year's Heisman race is on, and many of the preseason hopefuls have proven their worth.

    Others have fallen short.

    Has Kellen Moore earned himself a spot as the top contender for college football's most esteemed prize?

    Let's take a look at some of the top preseason Heisman hopefuls and where week one put them in the race for the trophy.

10. Mark Ingram

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    Dave Martin/Getty Images

    Ingram started this season as the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, but an early injury has put a big question mark on this running back from Alabama.

    While Alabama should not miss Ingram's talents too much, with other very capable running backs on their squad, some are wondering if this injury will keep Ingram from his second trophy.

    Exactly when Ingram will be back to fighting shape is unclear (sources say anywhere from one to four weeks), but a quick recovery could keep him in the running as a strong Heisman contender.

9. Jake Locker

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    Arguably the best quarterback in the Pac-10, Jake Locker has his work cut out for him in order to remain a Heisman hopeful this season. No matter how much potential Locker may have, he needs a better supporting cast (and a better team record) to be part of any Heisman conversation.

    Washington's loss to BYU Saturday was not a good start to the Huskies' season, especially because Locker needs to drastically improve his numbers this year in order to make a run for the Heisman.

    Last season, Locker had only one 300 yard passing game, and the BYU Cougars kept him to 266 yards. He attempted 37 passes and completed only 20 of them.

8. Jacory Harris

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    Fan brawls aside, Miami dominated Florida A&M on Thursday night, and quarterback Jacory Harris has increased his Heisman chances. Harris completed 12-of-15 passes (80 percent) with three touchdowns for the night.

    As for Miami's next game (arguably their biggest game of the season), Harris had a message to fans. Harris tweeted in regards to Miami's last meeting with Ohio State (2003 Fiesta Bowl): "Leave the past in the past, fans. This is a new (year) with two totally different teams. We're just going out there to ball."

    A bold statement from this Miami QB.

    We'll see if he can put his money where his mouth is.

7. Ryan Mallett

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    In Arkansas' opening game, the Hogs trampled Tennessee Tech, 44-3, and while Arkansas has much more difficult games on its schedule (can we say Alabama and LSU?), Mallett showed us why he deserves to be considered for a Heisman.

    Mallett had a near-perfect night, with a pass completion percentage of 87.5 and only one interception. Even though Arkansas has arguably one of the toughest schedules in the SEC, Mallett will have the advantage of playing Alabama and LSU at his home stadium.

6. Case Keenum

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Keenum's junior year was stellar in every regard, as he threw for 5,671 yards and 44 touchdowns, but Houston's schedule might get in the way of Keenum earning a Heisman to top off his senior year.

    In Saturday's game against Texas State, Keenum completed 17 of his 22 attempts and earned the Cougars five touchdowns. Keenum is strong and accurate, but with Houston's most difficult game at UCLA, he will have to keep up his near-perfection in order to stay in the Heisman running.

5. Jacquizz Rodgers

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    Rodgers has shown Heisman qualities in his two seasons with Oregon State, and this just might be his year. Rodgers' small stature and speed make it difficult for defenses to find an answer for him, and the Beavers' tough schedule will give him the stage to earn some Heisman votes.

    Even with a loss to TCU, Rodgers still has a shot at the trophy if he and the Beavers can step it up against some very strong opponents.

    The real test of Rodgers' worth will come when Oregon takes on Boise State on the road. If the Beavers can upset the Broncos, we will see Rodgers' Heisman hopes rise.

4. John Clay

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    Clay rushed for an amazing 1,517 yards last season, and the Badgers can thank him for 18 of the team's touchdowns. The only two Big Ten teams that could find an answer for Clay were Iowa and Ohio State, and if Clay can step it up against these two opponents this season, a Heisman could be in his future.

    During Wisconsin's first game this season against UNLV, Clay rushed for 123 yards and earned the team two touchdowns. Clay's beastly 255 pounds on his 6'1" frame make him a sort of bowling ball that most defenses have no chance of stopping.

3. Christian Ponder

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    Before being injured last season against Clemson, this senior quarterback from Florida State was averaging 306 yards per game. He even put up outstanding numbers with 359 yards against Georgia Tech and 395 yards against UNC. He combined for eight touchdowns in those games.

    In Florida State's season opener against Samford, Ponder completed 85.7 percent of his passes and earned the Seminoles four touchdowns.

    Florida State's schedule is extremely difficult (with road games against Oklahoma and Miami), but if Ponder can stay accurate, his Heisman hopes will remain high.

2. Kellen Moore

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    Kellen Moore had ice in his veins during the final two minutes against Virginia Tech on Monday. He maintained his composure and got the job done against the Hokies. If there was any doubt that Moore was a Heisman-caliber quarterback, it all ended last night.

    Last season, Moore completed for 39 touchdowns with only three interceptions, and it looks like he's looking for a repeat this season.

    Moore demonstrated his "clutch factor," but he will need to work on his accuracy (60.5 percent against Va. Tech) in order to keep Boise State perfect. Without a perfect season, the Broncos will lose their shot at a national championship, and Moore may lose his chances at Heisman.

1. Terrelle Pryor

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    Terrelle Pryor is the front-runner for this year's Heisman, and it looks like he has made the necessary adjustments to improve his numbers this season. Pending a win against the Miami Hurricanes, Pryor and the Buckeyes definitely have a shot at a national championship.

    Facing tough Big Ten defenses throughout the season, Pryor will have to remain versatile in order to get the job done.

    We already know the kid can run (He led the Buckeyes in rushing yards last season as a quarterback!), but he needs to improve upon his passing game. With targets such as Dane Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey, the Buckeyes have created the kind of chemistry Pryor needs to be a Heisman-caliber quarterback.

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