Heisman Watch Week 2: Jackson extends lead

Matt McClain

Sports Blogger

@mattdmcclain

Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville: 59.7 percent passes completed, 697 pasing yards, seven touchdowns; 318 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson's impressive start has him leading the Heisman race early. (Nick Coffey, Flickr)

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson’s impressive start has him leading the Heisman race early.
(Nick Coffey, Flickr)

Is this NBA Jam? Because Jackson is on fire. He followed up his eight-touchdown performance Week 1 with five touchdowns against Syracuse on Friday. Louisville opened up conference play against Syracuse but the score was indicative of a nonconference game against a cupcake team. In the 62-28 victory, Jackson scored four times on the ground. If Jackson can keep up this astronomic pace, he will win the Heisman easily. Louisville hosts Florida State next week, and Jackson has a huge opportunity to shine.

J.T. Barrett, quarterback, Ohio State: 66 percent passes completed, 498 yards, six touchdowns; 85 rushing yards, three rushing touchdown

The Buckeyes played Tulsa this week, and they dominated in the last three quarters. Barrett wasn’t effective through the air against the Golden Hurricane but did run the ball well. He scored two touchdowns, both coming on run plays. Barrett will have a primetime opportunity to make his case to overtake Jackson on Saturday when the Buckeyes face off with the Sooners in Norman.

Jalen Hurts, quarterback, Alabama: 61.7 percent passes completed, 405 yards, four touchdowns; 51 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns

The true freshman has impressed in his first couple of games as the Crimson Tide’s quarterback. Hurts threw for two touchdowns in Alabama’s matchup against Western Kentucky on Saturday. He’s also been an efficient passer. Hurts has thrown one interception through two games. Alabama plays Ole Miss next week, and Hurts has a chance to make his stamp on the college football world.

Deondre Francois, quarterback, Florida State: 69 percent passes completed, 681 yards, five touchdowns

Francois, like Hurts, is a true freshman. Also like Hurts, he’s impressed early for the Seminoles. Francois threw three touchdowns in Florida State’s 52-8 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday. The thing that could be detrimental to Francois’ Heisman hype is that he is not a dual-threat quarterback. He’s scored no touchdowns on running plays. Heisman voters value a dual-threat quarterback. Francois will lead the Seminoles against Jackson and Louisville on Saturday.

Kalen Ballage, quarterback, Arizona State: 193 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns

Ballage could not be ignored. The Sun Devils’ running back tied the FBS record for most touchdowns in one game with eight. Ballage got the ball at the goal line several times in the wildcat formation. He was used in that package so much that Texas Tech knew he was going to run, and they still couldn’t stop him. I am wary of Ballage’s touches so I wouldn’t expect a long-term stay in the Heisman Watch. Arizona State visits UTSA on Saturday.

Oklahoma State’s top candidate

Mason Rudolph, quarterback: 66.2 percent passes completed, 477 yards, four touchdowns

OSU’s signal caller has the best chance of any Cowboy to win the Heisman, however, his chances are almost down to zero. The Cowboys’ stunning loss against Central Michigan will go down as an instant classic but it also means that OSU’s Heisman chances barely remain. The harsh reality is that the Heisman winner is usually on a title contending team, and I think OSU’s title hopes are gone.

ozone@ocolly.com

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