The Auburn Tigers are not the same team without Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton at quarterback, but they still have a superstar in the backfield.
Sophomore running back Michael Dyer has been outstanding through the first quarter of the 2011 season, rushing for 358 yards and six scores in just three games.
Last week, against Mississippi State, Dyer averaged a whopping 8.3 yards per-carry.
In week three, Dyer out-did himself, carrying the ball at 9.4 yards a clip in a losing effort against the Clemson Tigers.
Despite the loss, and the fact that Auburn likely won’t repeat as national champs, can Dyer give the Tigers back-to-back Heisman winners?
From a pure numbers standpoint, there is no reason to believe that Dyer can’t do it.
Auburn’s new superstar is on pace to rush for over 1,400 yards and an eye-popping 24 touchdowns.
Another important aspect of the Heisman race is the wow-factor, and Dyer seems to possess that as well.
He is incredibly explosive—as evidenced by his 52-yard run for six against the Tigers in Week 3 and his 35-yard score Week 2 against Mississippi State—and any back averaging almost ten yards per-carry over a two-game span is capable of breaking things wide open every time he touches the ball.
Because Dyer plays in the SEC, which is arguably college football’s best conference, he will get plenty of opportunities to showcase his amazing talents the rest of the way.
However, if Gene Chizik’s squad struggles to make it through the upcoming SEC portion of their schedule, Dyer could get lost in the shuffle.
Seven of the trophy’s last eight winners have either won or played for a national title, and voters have traditionally placed major weight on a team’s successes when selecting a winner.
If Auburn’s hiccup against Clemson is just an apparition, than Dyer should be in good shape. If, instead, the Tigers finish around 8-4 like most people expect, the sophomore tailback will be lucky just to get an invite to the Downtown Athletic Club at season’s end.