RotoWire Partners

Heisman Watch (10/15): The view is becoming clearer.

Vince Russo

Vince Russo writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Heisman Watch (10/15)

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama (Ranked No. 8)

Didn’t see that one coming. A South Carolina defense that allows an average of 365 yards a game was able to hold Ingram to just 41 yards rushing and no scores in a shocking 35-21 upset win over the Tide. Ingram already had two strikes against him by missing the first two games of the season due to injury. The combination of a team loss with an individual performance like this just might be the kiss of death for Ingram’s chances at a Heisman repeat. Ingram will still finish with decent numbers, but it most likely won’t be enough for an award.

Last game: 41 yards rushing (3.7 YPC), four catches for 16 yards receiving @ No. 19 South Carolina

Next game: vs. Mississippi

Stock: Approaching Rock Bottom

LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (Ranked No. 2)

The James train just keeps rolling along. The sophomore tallied another three scores despite playing without starting quarterback Darron Thomas for almost three quarters against Washington State. Although he’s usually not a threat to catch the ball, he scored on an 84-yard catch, and added a pair of one-yard TD plunges in the game. James now has 10 touchdowns through five games played and is averaging over seven yards a carry. What’s more, Oregon has only two ranked opponents left on their schedule with No. 17 Arizona and No. 24 Oregon State, so James is unlikely to slow down.

Last game: 136 yards and two touchdowns rushing (5.4 YPC), two catches for 87 yards receiving and one touchdown @ Washington State

Next game: @ vs. UCLA (after the bye)

Stock: Way Up

Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford (Ranked No. 14)

After a 21-point loss to Oregon, Stanford rebounded nicely in a 37-35 shootout victory over USC. Luck was efficient with an 83 percent completion rate on 24 throws, hitting on three passing scores from short distances. More importantly, with a minute and eight seconds left in the game, trailing 35-34, Luck completed three passes to get his team into field goal range to set up the game-winning 30-yard field goal. More of those moments can sway Heisman voters in a close race. With 18 scores through six games, Luck stays in the discussion despite the Oregon loss.

Last game: 285 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions passing (83 percent completed, 11.9 YPA), 40 yards rushing (6.7 YPC) vs. USC

Next game: vs. Washington State (after the bye)

Stock: Up

Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska (Ranked No. 5)

It’s safe to say the bright lights of Thursday night College Football do not scare off Taylor Martinez. In a 48-13 decimation of Kansas State, Martinez rattled off touchdowns runs of (ready for this?) 14, 35, 80, and 41 yards. Sandwiched between two of those runs was a 79-yard touchdown pass to Kyler Reed. Martinez has now thrown touchdown passes in each of his last three games and has 12 rushing touchdowns on the year. The argument against him would be the level of competition he’s faced (Western Kentucky, South Dakota State), but the numbers—15 touchdowns in five games with 737 yards rushing—cannot be ignored. Wow.

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. 3)

Kellen Moore simply refuses to throw interceptions. Against Toledo, Moore was near perfect throwing touchdown strikes of two, 51, and 33 yards and again did not turn the ball over. Moore doesn’t run, but he doesn’t have to. With six-shooters Titus Young and Austin Pettis at his side, Moore systematically finds the open man and moves the chains. Moore is now projected to throw 34 touchdowns to just two interceptions. If that happens, and the Broncos stand undefeated on Sunday, December 5th, are the Heisman voters really going to let ‘strength of schedule’ stand in his way again?

Last game: 267 yards and three touchdowns passing (72.7 percent completed, 12.1 YPA) vs. Toledo

Next game: @ San Jose State

Stock: Up 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

Stock: Steady

Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn (Ranked No. 7)

If case you weren’t paying enough attention to Newton this season, he decided to rack up 408 yards of total offense all by himself in a 37-34 shootout win over Kentucky. He ran for four scores, with his longest coming from 16 yards out, and now has 19 scores on the season. (12 passing, 7 running.) Currently, he’s projected for 24 touchdown passes, but keep in mind he’s got some tough games coming up with No. 9 LSU on October 23rd and No. 8 Alabama at the end of the season.

Last game: 210 yards, no touchdowns and one interception passing (61.9 percent completed, 10 YPA), 198 yards and four touchdowns rushing (7.1 YPC) @ Kentucky

Next game: vs. No. 12 Arkansas

Stock: Way Up

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State (Ranked No. 1)

It’s a simple formula, really. When your team is undefeated, ranked No. 1, and you’re the centerpiece of the offense that makes everything go, you’re going to be a Heisman favorite. Pryor threw touchdowns of 22, 60 and 17 yards to three different receivers in OSU’s 38-10 win over Indiana. With 18 scores (three running) so far, Pryor is projected to throw 30 touchdowns and six interceptions with a 68 percent completion rate. If OSU beats No. 18 Wisconsin on Saturday and No. 15 Iowa in November, Pryor just might be the favorite by default.

Last game: 334 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions passing (80 percent completed, 11.1 YPA), -19 yards rushing (-6.3 YPC) vs. Indiana

Next game: @ No. 18 Wisconsin

Stock: Up

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

Robinson hit his first speed bump of the 2010 campaign throwing three costly interceptions in the Wolverine’s first loss of the year, a 34-17 drubbing at home to the 6-0 Michigan State Spartans. Robinson still accounted for two scores, but had season-lows in YPC and completion percentage. His last two interceptions came in the third and fourth quarter, each time with Michigan trailing by two scores. As Sam Bradford proved in 2008, you can lose a big, midseason matchup and still take home the trophy, but there’s no doubt that Robinson really needed this game.

Last game: 215 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions passing (58.6 percent completed, 7.4 YPA), 86 yards and one touchdown rushing (4.1 YPC) vs. No. 17 Michigan State

Next game: vs. No. 15 Iowa

Stock: Way Down

Today’s Verdict: Terrelle Pryor

With stat-machine Denard Robinson being picked off by the Spartans, the smart money has to be on Terrelle Pryor at this point. He doesn’t rush for as many touchdowns as other candidates, but he’s still a dual-threat as he’s rushed for over 100 yards in a game three times and averages 6.2 YPC on the season. But more importantly, he’s throwing well on a team that looks poised to run the table in a conference with highly ranked opponents. His 18 combined scores are second to Cam Newton, but you have to think Auburn is more likely to lose heading forward than the Buckeyes are.