Heisman Watch Week Nine

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Florida State running back Dalvin Cook sheds Clemson safety Van Smith during a 70-yard touchdown run in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 29,2016. Clemson defeated Florida State 37-34.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Mark Wallheiser
  • 1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville quarterback
  • 2016: 2,522 passing yards, 996 rushing yards, 38 total touchdowns

It may not have been in his typical dominating fashion, but Jackson delivered a Heisman-caliber moment in a comeback win over Virginia. 

With 13 seconds remaining, Jackson fired a 29-yard bomb to the right corner of the end zone. His wide receiver Jaylen Smith snagged in the game-winning throw to beat the Cavaliers 32-25. 

Jackson’s receivers had multiple drops all-day, but it didn’t adversely affect the sophomore’s stat line. He threw for 361 yards and four touchdowns, adding 88 on the ground in No. 7 Louisville’s seventh victory in eight games.

It was actually Jackson’s first game without a rushing touchdown, but he still leads the nation with 16 of his own.

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  • 2. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan outside linebacker
  • 2016: 131 rushing yards, 3 sacks, 257 punt return yards

Peppers made history in No. 3 Michigan’s win over Michigan State in week nine. The junior lined up in 10 different positions, ranging from wildcat quarterback to wide receiver to cornerback to kick returner. 

He anchored a fourth down stop, scored a rushing touchdown and returned a fumble recovery 87 yards for a two-point conversion on the game’s final play. 

The last defensive player to win the Heisman was Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997. Peppers has equaled Woodson’s four total touchdowns and possesses more rushing yards than the legendary cornerback through eight games.

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  • 3. Deshaun Watson, Clemson quarterback
  • 2016: 2,328 passing yards, 331 rushing yards, 22 passing touchdowns

In the midst of a late-night hostile environment in Tallahassee, Watson emerged as the hero. 

Down 34-29 with just over two minutes to go, the junior quarterback found his tight end, Jordan Leggett, wide-open by the right sideline. Leggett dove into the end zone to complete the 37-34 victory over No. 22 Florida State. 

Watson threw for 378 yards and rushed for another 52 in No. 2 Clemson’s 13th-straight conference victory. He matched his season-high passing total in the win, and his Tigers continue their quest for their second straight playoff appearance.

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  • 4. Dalvin Cook, Florida State running back
  • 2016: 1,069 rushing yards, 371 receiving yards, 11 rushing touchdowns

Cook did his best one-man effort in an attempt to take down Clemson last Saturday. The junior Seminole ran for 169 yards and four touchdowns in the narrow defeat, continuing to build his case as one of the nation’s top running backs. 

He has rushed for 100 yards in his past five games, including a 267-yard performance at South Florida. Cook also stands out as a great receiver too, reaching triple digits in the receiving yards category in two games this season. 

Out of all running backs, he is fourth in the nation in rushing yards and 10th in rushing touchdowns in 2016.