Heisman Watch Week Three: Geno Smith, Denard Robinson dominate lesser competition
It’s no small accomplishment that De’Anthony Thomas’s name is among Oregon’s leaders in both rushing and receiving week in and week out. But the regularity with which it occurs sometimes detracts from the sophomore’s shocking skill and ability.
The speedster did it again this weekend against Tennessee Tech, helping the Ducks coast to a 63-14 victory over the Golden Eagles. Thomas posted 62 yards rushing and 73 yards receiving on just six offensive touches. Who knows what kind of numbers Thomas could have posted with a few more touches. He’s certain to see more in the coming weeks, which could produce some thrilling highlights and statistics.
Denard Robinson has reemerged in a big way in the Heisman race, putting up two big games after a tough start to his 2012 campaign against Alabama. The seemingly perennial ”September Heisman” has put his name in the mix once again after posting 291 yards and three touchdowns against UMass on Saturday to go with his 106 yards and one score on the ground against the Minutemen.
In a stumbling Big Ten conference, Denard Robinson might be provided with a chance to lead the Wolverines to a conference championship, which would certainly bolster any Heisman hope for the versatile quarterback. A nationally televised game against seemingly reinvigorated Notre Dame next weekend could do plenty, as well.
Stanford has never been kind to Matt Barkley, and it was especially crushing on Saturday. Barkley threw two picks and completed less than half of his passes against the Cardinal, bringing his Heisman candidacy down at least a few notches and severely threatening the Trojans hopes at a national title shot. Barkley’s 253 passing yards were fine, but unable to pocket that “Heisman moment” when given the chance late in the fourth quarter, Barkley is certain to lose plenty of support in this race.
Barkley is certainly not out of this race, as no real frontrunner other than the USC quarterback has emerged as of yet, but he will certainly have work to do.
Geno Smith did every thing you might expect the West Virginia senior to do against a foe like FCS James Madison. He threw, he ran, and he helped the Mountaineers dismantle the Dukes, 42-12. Smith’s 411 yards through the air with five touchdowns was more than enough against James Madison, and again proves just what an offensive force the quarterback can be.
Of course, this was not the type of test that will truly find Smith’s viability as a Heisman candidate. Those matchups are to come, including a non-conference showdown with Maryland next week before West Virginia starts its inaugural Big 12 schedule against Baylor.
Against a very game Utah State team, it was Montee Ball’s 39 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown that helped the Badgers survive another upset bid, and this one at home in Camp Randall Stadium. After a really rough outing against Oregon State, where he was held to 61 yards on the ground and without a touchdown, Ball is back in the Heisman conversation.
With the Big Ten schedule about to begin for the Badgers, Ball has a solid chance to return to the conversation and the national consciousness if he can string a few strong performances together in the coming weeks.
Seemingly flying under the radar as the quarterback of bowl-ineligible Ohio State, Braxton Miller has certainly made a forcible impact during his first three games of 2012. Against California in an intriguing non-conference game, Miller certainly put his name on plenty of radars, passing for 249 yards and four touchdowns against the Golden Bear defense.
Miller is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten, and despite the Buckeyes’ inability to contend for a national title, they could prove a huge thorn in other teams’ sides with Miller at the helm.
On The Radar:
A star of the first two weeks, both because of Michigan State’s return to the national conversation and strong performances, Bell was held in check against Notre Dame in the Spartan’s tough loss. Just 77 yards and no scores for the junior, but he’s not out of this yet.
Eighty-five yards and a score against UAB was strong for the junior Gamecocks tailback. Given the performances that were either sub par or against weaker competition on the national scale, anything can happen for Lattimore in the weeks to come.
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