Heisman Watch: Week 7

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1. Georgia RB Todd Gurley

Last week (W, 44-17, vs. Vanderbilt): 25 attempts, 163 yards, 2 TDs

2014: 773 rushing yards, 8 TDs

Out of the top Heisman candidates, Gurley was one of the few to escape last week with a victory. The 6-foot-1, 226-pounder scorched yet another SEC defense on his way to his third 160-plus-yard game this season. The way the Heisman race looks right now, this could be the year for a running back to finish at the top, with Gurley leading the way. As Oregon’s offense, which includes Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota, struggles, the door for Gurley has swung wide open. He’s lived up to expectations thus far and can be counted to produce each week. 

2. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota

Last week (L, 31-24, vs. Arizona) 20-for-32, 276 yards, 2 TDs

2014: 1,411 passing yards, 15 passing TDs, 3 rushing TDs

In its upset victory over Oregon last week, Arizona exposed a vulnerability in the Duck’s offense that could potentially be troubling for Mariota’s Heisman hopes — a weak offensive line. The Ducks allowed seven sacks of Mariota, enough to leave him, as his offensive coordinator said after the game, “not feeling 100 percent.” With tough Pac-12 defenses coming his way, Mariota’s protection in the pocket will be key to his health and success. But, if there’s one thing the best quarterback in college football has proven, it’s that, even in the face of distress, he’ll stay as calm and consistent as ever. 

3. Notre Dame QB Everett Golson

Last week (W, 17-14, vs. Stanford): 20-for-43, 241 yards, 2 TDs, 34 rushing yards

2014: 1383 passing yards, 13 passing TDs, 4 rushing TDs

Golson didn’t put up any huge numbers in Notre Dame’s week six victory over Stanford, but he was at his best when it mattered most — throwing a fourth-down, game-winning pass with 1:01 left on the clock. Even with one interception in the game, that kind of win against a ranked opponent is huge. The senior has kept Notre Dame undefeated, which some notable Heisman hopeful’s can’t say for their teams. As long as he keeps leading the Irish to victory, Golson will find himself near the top of this list when the season ends. 

4. Mississippi St. QB Dak Prescott

Last week (W, 48-31, vs. Texas A&M): 19-for-25, 259 yards, 2 TDs, 77 rushing yards, 3 rushing TDs

2014: 1,223 passing yards, 13 passing TDs, 455 rushing yards, 6 rushing TDs

There’s always a dark horse that rises among Heisman candidates, and, this season, Prescott is looking like the perfect candidate. Prescott has now taken down two straight ranked SEC opponents in LSU and Texas A&M, scoring eight total touchdowns in the two games. And not only has he had good passing stats, his rushing numbers match that of a running back. The junior quarterback is the definition of a dual-threat. If he keeps this up against the rest of the SEC, he could thrust himself to the top of the Heisman race. 

5. Alabama WR Amari Cooper

Last week (L, 23-17, vs. Ole Miss): 9 receptions, 91 yards

2014: 52 receptions, 746 yards, 5 TDs

Alabama lost last week, but, given that Cooper is still the best wide receiver in the nation, he deserves to be kept on the list. Cooper didn’t score against Ole Miss, but he wasn’t a non-factor either, as his 91 yards helped keep the Crimson Tide in the game. Out of all of the candidates struggling to stay relevant in the Heisman conversation, Cooper is most likely to hang on in the coming weeks — giving him the chance to rise again among Heisman contenders.