Heisman Watch: Running backs strengthen cases as outrageous week looms

November 25, 2015 - running watch

Week 12 didn’t shake a substructure of a Heisman Trophy race. Week 13, however, could make things really interesting.

This past Saturday several top-tier Heisman contenders faced overmatched opponents. Charleston Southern, Chattanooga and Wake Forest don’t yield a kind of plea that defines a Heisman campaign. But a integrate of possibilities still managed to make moves in a Heisman Watch, including dual Pac-12 using backs in Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and Oregon’s Royce Freeman. In fact, a new Heisman Watch now facilities 4 using backs and usually one quarterback.

We’ll learn a lot some-more about these possibilities subsequent week. That’s when Rivalry Week pits many of these players opposite emotionally charged opponents. It’s also a final possibility for some Heisman contenders to stir voters.

1. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Last week: 24-35 passing, 343 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs; 10 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD in a 33-13 win over Wake Forest
Next week: Nov. 28 during South Carolina

Watson squandered no time creation an impact in Clemson’s 33-13 win over Wake Forest. He threw dual touchdown passes and ran in another measure to assistance a Tigers build a 20-0 lead by a finish of a initial quarter. In a end, Watson accounted for 387 yards of offense and 4 touchdowns, his fifth tour with during slightest 350 sum yards in a final 6 games.

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Watson stays a ACC personality in sum offense (326 yards per game) and flitting efficiency. Many seem to forget Watson leads a No. 1 group in a nation as a loyal sophomore, one that tore his ACL a year ago. Now story bodes good for Watson’s program: Clemson is 11-0 for usually a third time in propagandize history, and both prior teams (1948 and 1981) finished unbeaten, with a ’81 patrol winning a inhabitant title. Now let’s see if Watson can continue his swell on a highway opposite opposition South Carolina subsequent Saturday.

2. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama

Last week: 9 carries, 68 yards, 2 TDs in a 56-6 win over Charleston Southern
Next week: Nov. 28 during Auburn

Alabama faced a saved bye week opposite Charleston Southern during Bryant-Denny Stadium, and a Crimson Tide led their FCS enemy 49-0 during halftime. By that indicate Derrick Henry had rushed 9 times for 68 yards, including a span of touchdowns in a initial quarter. Henry afterwards sat out a second half while Alabama’s second group finished off a 56-6 victory.

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Against Charleston Southern Henry tied a program’s single-season symbol for rushing touchdowns (21), a record set by former using behind Trent Richardson in 2011. Henry has now amassed 1,526 rushing yards on a season, apropos usually a third Tide behind to rush for 1,500 yards alongside Richardson and Mark Ingram (2009). Of course, Ingram went on to win a Heisman, while Richardson finished third in 2011. Now Henry could serve indurate his mark in a Heisman competition with a large opening in a Iron Bowl subsequent week.

3. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

Last week: 29 carries, 192 yards; one catch, 49 yards, 1 TD; 3 flog returns, 148 yards, 1 TD in a 35-22 win over Cal
Next week: Nov. 28 vs. No. 4 Notre Dame

Once again, McCaffrey did a small bit of all in assisting Stanford bind a mark in a Pac-12 pretension game. The sophomore set a propagandize record with 389 all-purpose yards as a Cardinal sunk Cal 35-22. McCaffrey ran for 192 yards, hauled in a 49-yard touchdown locate and ran behind one of his 3 kickoff earnings for another 98-yard score. It was his fourth 300-yard all-purpose diversion of a season.

After a win Stanford manager David Shaw did a small politicking for his cherished sophomore. “Has anybody seen a using back—I’ll contend this, a football player—better than Christian McCaffrey this year?” Shaw said. “Tell me. Show him to me. we haven’t seen anybody.”

McCaffrey stays a many prolific descent arms on a Stanford group that will now play for a Pac-12 title. But a using back’s flexibility is what sets him detached from other Heisman contenders. McCaffrey now ranks initial nationally in all-purpose yards per diversion (255.2), roughly 50 some-more yards than that of a second-place player, Tyler Ervin of San Jose State. The subsequent dual weeks will be a possibility for McCaffrey to make his final Heisman case: The Cardinal horde Notre Dame before personification for a discussion championship.

4. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Last week: 15 carries, 106 yards, 2 TDs in a 52-13 win over Chattanooga
Next week: during No. 10 Florida

Cook notched his seventh 100-yard diversion of a year opposite Chattanooga, adding to his program-record 1,475 rushing yards this season. The sophomore also chipped in dual rushing touchdowns to his deteriorate sum of 16, tied for a second-most in propagandize history.

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Cook competence not get a ton of Heisman adore after Florida State mislaid a shot during personification for a ACC title. Plus, a banged-up Cook sat out a Seminoles’ win over Syracuse on Oct. 31, and players who skip games are historically singular in a Heisman race. But Cook stays a ACC’s personality in rushing yards (147.5 per game) and rushing touchdowns (16) while ranking fifth nationally in yards-per-carry (7.97). He’s but a doubt one of a best runners in a country, and he can acquire some-more Heisman voters’ courtesy subsequent week when a ‘Noles transport to play a top-10 Florida team.

5. Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon

Last week: 20 carries, 147 yards; dual catches for 50 yards in a 48-28 win over USC
Next week: Nov. 27 vs. Oregon State

Freeman competence be one of a many underappreciated players in a country. That’s mostly since a Ducks’ trashy 3-3 start to a year became a prevalent storyline in Eugene. But Oregon has started to demeanour like Oregon again, and on Saturday Freeman helped his group win a fifth true game—a 48-28 win over USC—since that muted start.

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With one week left in a unchanging season, Freeman ranks third nationally with 1,539 rushing yards. But some-more importantly, a sophomore has averaged 136 rushing yards per game—and 6.4 yards per carry—during Oregon’s tide five-game winning stream. Freeman usually has one some-more shot during impressing Heisman voters, and that comes subsequent Friday opposite Oregon State in a Civil War. If a sophomore steamrolls a Beavers, he can make it to New York.

Outside looking in: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma; Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State; Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

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