Heisman Watch 2010: Matt Barkley, Terrellle Pryor, Jacory Harris Start Strong

Robert Quinn@@RQuinn619Correspondent ISeptember 3, 2010

Heisman Watch 2010: Barkley, Pryor, Harris Start Strong

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes hands the ball off against the Oregon Ducks during the 96th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Thursday night sparked the beginning of the 2010 college football season. Four games featured a potential Heisman candidate.

    Terrelle Pryor and the Ohio State Buckeyes opened their season against Marshall, and gave a nice taste of what to expect from the program many believe could emerge as the National Champions when all is said and done.

    Jacory Harris and the Miami Hurricanes took on Florida A&M, and are trying to bring "The U" back to their National Championship ways.

    Lane Kiffin had his first game as Southern California's new head coach, with sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley leading the way.

    Dion Lewis and the Pittsburgh Panthers traveled to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Utes.

    Let's take a look at how the prospective Heisman candidates played.

Terrelle Pryor: Ohio State Buckeyes

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    COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 2:  Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes attempts a pass to Corey Brown #10 of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Ohio Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Get
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor picked up right where he left off as the Rose Bowl MVP.

    Pryor put up huge numbers, mostly in the first half, and ended the night completing 17-of-25 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns en route to a 45-7 victory.

    Pryor looked solid, and his performance gives the Buckeyes confidence as they take on the Miami Hurricanes in their first meeting since the 2002 National Championship game.

    Pryor's favorite target last night was DeVier Posey, who caught four passes for 41 yards, including two scores.

    He also connected with Dane Sanzenbacher three times for 113 yards, along with a deep 65-yard touchdown.

    After the game, he stated to ESPN, "Every game is about maturity. It's 12 weeks in a [season]. Let's see what happens next. I'm excited to play Miami."

Jacory Harris: Miami Hurricanes

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 03:  Quarterback Jacory Harris #12 of the Miami Hurricanes drops back to pass against the Oklahoma Sooners at Land Shark Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Miami defeated Oklahoma 21-20.  (Photo by Doug Benc/
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Jacory Harris and the Miami Hurricanes took on Florida A&M in their first game of the NCAA season, and the 'Canes looked like a hungry team fighting for a National Championship. They mauled Florida A&M 45-0, for their first shutout since 2006.

    Harris led the way, needing just two quarters to complete 12-of-15 passes for 216 yards to go along with three touchdown passes. He looked a lot more confident than last season, showing improved pocket presence, and showed that he is maturing as a quarterback.

    Harris utilized all of the weapons at his disposal, leading to 10 receivers having at least one reception.

    His favorite weapon Leonard Hankerson caught six passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns, both from Harris.

    After the game, Harris stated, "I went out there and took care of my business. As a team, we came out there and did everything we had to do in the first half, and coach sat us out for the rest of the game. I guess it was well-deserved."

Matt Barkley: Southern California

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    SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 26: Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans passes against the Boston College Eagles during the 2009 Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park on December 26, 2009 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Matt Barkley proved why he is the starting quarterback last night, as No. 14 USC beat Hawaii, 49-36.

    Barkley had a shaky freshman season, but seems to have made huge strides in the offseason to improve his play.

    That paid off, as he passed for 257 yards and a USC record five touchdown passes, three of which to wide receiver Ronald Johnson, also a USC record.

    Barkley completed 18 of 23 passes, including his first seven of the game. He was also the fifth USC player to pass for five touchdowns in a game.

    After the game new head coach Lane Kiffin said, "It was a good start for Matt, five touchdown passes and no interceptions. Ronald had four overall touchdowns, which was good to see and Marc, in his first start, got probably nine or 10 yards a carry."

Dion Lewis: Pittsburgh Panthers

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Dion Lewis #28 of the Pittsburgh Panthers runs away from Deunta Williams #27 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Pittsburgh took on Utah last night, and running back Dion Lewis was expected to be a playmaker after his 1,799 yard, 17 touchdown campaign as a freshman.

    However, he managed just 75 yards on 25 carries, but did score a touchdown.

    Utah won 27-24 in overtime after intercepting Pittsburgh QB Tino Sunseri and then driving for a game-winning field goal.

    Pittsburgh had tied the game on a last-second 30-yard field goal in regulation following two Utah timeouts.

    If Lewis wants to stay in the Heisman race, he needs to have a better performance than last night's.