Heisman Watch Week Five: Geno Smith’s brilliant day rules weekend storylines
De’Anthony Thomas found yards where he could against Washington State — that being all over the field. Receiving (26 yards), rushing (28), kick returning (53) and punt returning (19) gave the sophomore a chance to shine across the board. The sophomore can seemingly contribute everywhere. While scoring just six of Oregon’s 51 points, Thomas made his presence known.
And yet, the problem moving forward could be a lack of consistent shining production like the game some other players produced this weekend. If Thomas doesn’t rack up 100-yards or more in one of these categories, is he doing himself a disservice in the Heisman race? Though it might seem counterintuitive — lots of offense is good anyway you can get it — Thomas might need to produce in more traditional and consistent ways to stay in the Heisman race.
Likely lost in the gaudy numbers Geno Smith posted Saturday was how his arm and athleticism took over early and simply did not let up. Sure, his 656 yards passing, eight touchdown passes and 31 yards rushing will get Heisman voters’ attention when voting comes around, but Smith showed just how talented he was beyond the box score against Baylor.
Certainly the frontrunner for the trophy at this point, Smith gets the best of the Big 12 in the coming weeks, but as we’ve seen in recent years, even the Big 12′s best lacks in the defensive department. We’re probably not done with the gaudy stat lines from Smith.
Facing their first road test of their season, the Seminoles relied heavily on the arm of EJ Manuel, who continues to enjoy a strong start to his senior season at Florida State. Keeping his mistakes to a minimum, Manuel was able to out-shine fellow star quarterback, South Florida’s B.J. Daniels, and kept the Seminoles undefeated.
Ranked fourth in the nation, expectations are mounting for Florida State, but on Saturday, Manuel handled it just fine. Finishing with 242 yards and a touchdown toss, Manuel is squarely in the Heisman conversation.
Efficient where needed and the leader Ohio State required down the stretch, Braxton Miller continues to impress despite Ohio State’s ineligibility to win the Big Ten or make a bowl game. Miller passed for 179 yards and rushed for 136 more, leading the Buckeyes past Michigan State on Saturday, and keeping his Heisman hopes strong.
A key pick and a fumble in Michigan State territory could have undone the sophomore, but he held strong, and led his team to a key early season victory.
In what turned into a barn-burning slugfest between SEC foes, it was Aaron Murray’s arm that helped Georgia get by Tennessee, 51-44, as the junior gunslinger vaults his way into the Heisman conversation. Having already passed for 1,092 yards coming into the meeting with the Volunteers, it was more of the same for Murray, who saw his running game give the kind of support quarterbacks can only hope for.
With 12 touchdowns against just two interceptions on the year after Saturday’s key victory, Murray also boasts the skills and stats to stay in this race for the long-term. But the Bulldogs will have to keep winning for it to matter.
On The Radar:
A bye week is certainly never kind to any Heisman hopeful, especially one with a falling stock like Barkley’s. But with the Pac-12 schedule hitting high gear — and a Thursday night game on tap against Washington — Barkley has a shot to re-enter the race.
Klein, too, was on a bye this week, but with his stock soaring after leading Kansas State past Oklahoma last weekend and vaulting the Wildcats into the top 10, Klein has a shot to make some real noise in the coming weeks.
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