By Joel Devick
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State – last week’s stats: bye week
Although he was on a bye last Saturday, Saquon Barkley is the leader in the Heisman again this week, mostly because of a consistently strong body of work to this point. With jaw-dropping, stop on a dime cuts and one handed-catches being the norm while watching Barkley during a Penn State game, the hype will only continue to grow. The opportunity to earn more votes will be good with three ranked teams on the Nittany Lions’ schedule over the next three games.
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford – last week’s stats: 17 rushes, 147 yards, two touchdowns
The steady rise of Bryce Love has been remarkable to watch. Love had his worst single-game rushing total of the year last Saturday against Oregon, when rushed for a measly 147 yards. Love has been as steady as they come in the rushing attack for any FBS offense, but he will need to overcome an ankle injury he recently suffered to keep climbing.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma – last week’s stats: 17-for-27, 302 yards, two touchdowns, seven rushes, 27 yards
Baker Mayfield played tough as nails down the stretch in the Sooners’ game with Texas. The Red River Showdown turned into a borderline dirty and definitely chippy affair, with Mayfield taking a bad late hit to his shoulder, but toughed it out and finished the game for a gutsy win. Mayfield still has only one interception this season, and despite the loss to Iowa State, Oklahoma is right in the thick of things if it keeps winning.
Kenny Hill, QB, TCU – last week’s stats: 27-for-37, 297 yards, six rushes, 13 yards, one touchdown
TCU’s Mr. Do-it-All had a bit more of a quieter game in a less hyped matchup last Saturday against Kansas State but was the leader the Horned Frogs needed to pull out the win. Hill and the Horned Frogs have been out and out the best Big 12 team this season. The meat of TCU’s conference schedule is on the back half, meaning Hill can’t afford to drop his play before games with Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma to stay in the national player of the year conversation.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Lousiville – last week’s stats: 19-for-39, 332 yards, two touchdowns, 22 rushes, 180 yards, three touchdowns
Despite suffering two consecutive losses, Lamar Jackson is still putting up some ridiculous numbers for the Cardinals. Not keeping his team in the win column is a bit of a damper on a pretty stellar statistical season, but the numbers need to be respected. If Jackson can pull off some more crazy performances and Louisville doesn’t drop too many more games, he could become the first to repeat since Archie Griffin in 1974-75.
Oklahoma State’s Top Candidate
Mason Rudolph, Quarterback – last week’s stats: 19-for-31, 459 yards, three touchdowns
After coming off a bye, Mason Rudolph shook off early rust against Baylor to help Oklahoma State to its best single game yardage total in school history, with 747 yards. Rudolph has accounted for 25 touchdowns this season, and six of those have been with his legs, making his dual threat ability noticeable this campaign.