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Heisman Watch: Nine Remain (10/8)

Vince Russo

Vince Russo writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Heisman Watch (10/8)

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama (Ranked No. 1)

A team’s overall record contributes heavily to a Heisman candidate’s chances, and Alabama shows no signs of losing. The case against Ingram is that he missed the first two games due to injury. However, since his return he’s been rolling like the Tide with two touchdowns in each of his three games. He’s averaging 7.9 yards per carry, which is almost two yards more than last year’s average when he took home the hardware. Archie Griffin may not be happy about it, but if Ingram keeps scoring at his current pace, he’s a candidate that will be difficult to pass over.

Last game: 47 yards and two touchdowns rushing (3.92 YPC), three catches for 19 yards receiving vs. No. 7 Florida

Next game: @ No. 19 South Carolina

Stock: Down Slightly

LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (Ranked No. 3)

The numbers are hard to ignore. James leads all running backs with 712 yards rushing, and is averaging an astounding eight yards per carry. Despite missing the season-opener due to suspension, he’s amassed seven touchdowns through four games. He doesn’t add anything from the receiving game, but if the Ducks win out that might not matter. With Stanford now safely in their rearview mirror, Oregon faces a slate of very winnable games, with No.9 Arizona on November 26th as their only ranked opponent. If James keeps up these numbers for an undefeated squad, he’ll make a very strong Heisman case.

Last game: 257 yards and three touchdowns rushing (8.29 YPC) vs. No. 9 Stanford

Next game: @ Washington State

Stock: Way Up

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (Ranked No. 16)

Luck’s stock took a significant hit in his team’s 21-point loss to Oregon, but his superb statistics from the season mean he isn’t out of the equation yet. Stanford still has time to catch up to Oregon in the Pac-10, and the chances of Luck continuing to put up big numbers seem highly probable.

Last game: 341 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions passing (63 percent completed, 7.4 YPA), 39 yards and one touchdown rushing (4.88 YPC) @ No. 4 Oregon

Next game: vs. USC

Stock: Down

Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska (Ranked No. 7)

Between Martinez and Denard Robinson, it’s extremely difficult to recall a more improbable pair of shockingly dominant young quarterbacks. Since enduring a quarterback competition that lasted right up until Week 1, Martinez has stunned the college football world by totaling 15 touchdowns (three passing, 12 rushing) while burning the ground up for 737 yards rushing. He needs to improve as a passer to approach Heisman status, but there isn’t a team in the country that isn’t terrified of Martinez right now.

Last game: 128 yards and one touchdown passing (71.4 percent completed, 18.3 YPA), 241 yards and four touchdowns rushing (16.1 YPC) @ Kansas State

Next game: vs. Texas

Stock: Way Up

Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State (Ranked No. 4)

The argument against Moore vs. other candidates is that he doesn’t add the running element and (of course) strength of schedule. After a week that saw Boise State rout New Mexico State 59-0 and still get bypassed by Oregon in the rankings, surely Moore faces an uphill battle with some voters. But the bottom-line is this: Kellen Moore wins and doesn’t throw interceptions. As a starter he hasn’t lost since December 23, 2008 and that was by one point. Since then the Broncos have gone 18-0, with Moore throwing 50 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Last game: 196 yards and three touchdowns passing (72.2 percent completed, 10.9 YPA) @ New Mexico State

Next game: vs. Toledo

Stock: Down Slightly

DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma (Ranked No. 6)

Murray is a bit under the radar this year, which is puzzling when you consider he has 10 touchdowns (nine rushing, one receiving) and 703 yards from scrimmage through five games. He’s been the workhorse for Oklahoma’s potent offense, and for the first time in his career has the backfield basically to himself. If he can stay healthy, don’t be surprised if Murray starts getting more attention in Heisman discussions.

Last game: 115 yards and two touchdowns rushing (4.6 YPC), 31 yards receiving vs. No. 21 Texas

Next game: vs. Iowa State (after bye week)

Stock: Up

Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn (Ranked No. 8)

If Newton can keep Auburn on the winning track, the former Florida transfer can make a surprisingly strong dark horse bid for the Heisman. He has 17 total touchdowns (12 passing, five rushing) through five games, and has thrown just four interceptions. His completion percentage (65.5), yards per pass attempt average (10.7) and yards per carry average (6.24) are all brilliant, too. Expect this tank to slow down a bit when Auburn takes on tougher SEC matchups like LSU and Alabama, but he’s been golden so far.

Last game: 245 yards, three touchdowns and one interception passing (73.7 percent completed, 12.9 YPA) vs. Louisiana-Monroe

Next game: @ Kentucky

Stock: Up

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State (Ranked No. 2)

As long as Ohio State keeps winning, Pryor’s name will continue to be included in Heisman discussions. He’s thrown 12 touchdowns against three interceptions for 1,015 yards, adding to that an average of 6.9 yards a carry with three rushing touchdowns. He’s guided the Buckeyes to 44 points a game and a 5-0 start. Pryor’s biggest tests come on the road against Wisconsin on October 16th, Iowa on November 20th, and in the season finale against Michigan at the Horseshoe. If he aces those exams, the stats will surely be there, as will the strong possibility of the Heisman.

Last game: 76 yards, two touchdowns and one interception passing (56.3 percent completed, 4.8 YPA), 104 yards rushing (9.45 YPC) at Illinois

Next game: vs. Indiana

Stock: Down Slightly

Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (Ranked No. 18)

It’s safe to say Tate Forcier won’t be getting his job back anytime soon. Robinson has been absolutely electrifying and his stats are overwhelming. In guiding Michigan to a 5-0 start, Robinson has accumulated 1,913 yards of total offense and 15 touchdowns. He’s rushed for 200 yards in a game twice, never falling below 100 yards rushing in any game. Because of his threat as a runner, he doesn’t throw the ball as much as your traditional pocket passer. However, he’s been extremely accurate with just one interception while completing 69.8 percent of his passes.

Last game: 277 yards and three touchdowns passing (62.5 percent completed, 17.3 YPA), 217 yards and two touchdowns rushing (11.42 YPC) @ Indiana

Next game: vs. No. 17 Michigan State

Stock: Sky High

Week 5’s Verdict: Denard Robinson

In 2007, Tim Tebow set a new plateau for Heisman-winning, dual-threat quarterbacks by throwing for 32 touchdowns and running for 23. While Denard Robinson’s stats don’t project out to those totals, he’s still on pace to throw 17 touchdowns and to run for 19. Past winners Troy Smith (’06) and Eric Crouch (’01) had combined touchdown totals of 31 and 26 respectively, and Robinson’s pace surpasses them. Tough games with Michigan State, Iowa, and Wisconsin remain. He’s already a media darling, and if he arrives undefeated to Columbus on Nov. 27th and plays well (in victory or defeat), the trophy will be his.