By Joel Devick
Saquon Barkley, running back, Penn State: 14 rushes, 172 yards, two touchdowns
Saquon Barkley lands the top spot this week after handing in a ridiculous performance last week. The junior tailback gained 226 yards from scrimmage on Akron during Penn State’s 52-0 shutout of the Zips. Barkley has proved the offense revolves around him. Up next is a test for Penn State against ACC foe and in-state rival Pittsburgh.
Josh Rosen, quarterback, UCLA: 35-for-59, 491 yards, four touchdowns
Things looked bleak for UCLA nearing the end of the third quarter in its game against Texas A&M on Sunday. The Bruins trailed the Aggies 44-10, but then Rosen the Chosen emerged. The ridiculed but talented junior came into the season looking to make amends for a disappointing 2016 season, and he delivered when it mattered most. Rosen led a crazy comeback by throwing all four of his scores in the fourth quarter to win the game 45-44 and now finds himself in the Heisman race.
Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma: 19-for-20, 329 yards, three touchdowns
Baker Mayfield would have the No. 2 spot this week if it weren’t for Rosen’s heroics, but the Sooner senior is in fine position after a near-perfect performance against UTEP. Mayfield was pulled at halftime of a blowout, which makes his 19-of-20 for 329 yards and three touchdowns even more impressive. He needs to have a similar performance this week against No. 2 Ohio State to climb the rankings.
Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville: 30-for-46, 378 yards, two touchdowns, 21 rushes, 107 yards
Lamar Jackson and Louisville struggled to put away a pesky Purdue team Saturday but managed to do so thanks in large part to Jackson being the best player on the field. Louisville still isn’t a juggernaut of a program, but with Jackson’s game-breaking ability, the Cardinals have a shot every time he steps on the field. The Cardinals are on the road this week with a conference test against North Carolina, and Jackson will look to lead the charge.
Derrius Guice, running back, LSU: 27 rushes, 121 yards, two touchdowns
Derrius Guice continued right where he left off last season with a throttling of the BYU defense. The junior registered the first two scores for the Tigers in what would be a 27-0 shutout. Even his backup, senior Darrel Williams, registered a worthy stat line with 92 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. Guice will get another shot to shine in the box score with a matchup against non-major Chattanooga on Saturday.
Oklahoma State’s Top Candidate
Mason Rudolph, quarterback: 20-for-24, 303 yards, three touchdowns, one rushing touchdown
Mason Rudolph proved he belonged in the Heisman discussion with a lights-out performance against Tulsa. Rudolph, a senior, threw three touchdowns and punched in another on a quarterback sneak en route to a 59-24 win. Rudolph was helped by an impressive night on the ground for the Cowboys, but it helped having fellow Heisman candidate receiver James Washington torch the Golden Hurricane secondary. Saturday is a road game against the Jaguars of South Alabama.