By Joel Devick
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State – last week’s stats: 15 rushes, 108 yards, two touchdowns, 3 catches, 53 yards, one touchdown
What Michigan defense? Saquon Barkley absolutely torched the previously stout Wolverines’ D last Saturday, starting with his first touch of the ball, a 69-yard touchdown run. Barkley’s devastating skill set has been amazing to watch, and with another prime-time game against Ohio State this Saturday, Barkley has a chance at even more exposure for his Heisman campaign.
Bryce Love, RB, Stanford – last week’s stats: bye week
Bryce Love has become the most consistent offensive force in college football this season. Stanford’s main source of offense is a first down waiting to happen, with his average yards per at an absurd 10.3. Love’s hype train continues to grow, with each performance garnering more national attention. If he can close out the season replicating the numbers he is been putting up, college football may be all about Love come January.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma – last week’s stats: 32-for-41, 410 yards, two touchdowns, nine carries, 69 yards, two touchdowns
The Sooners were once again carried on the back of Baker Mayfield to victory in their grind-it-out victory against Kansas State last Saturday. Mayfield showed off his playmaking run ability with two rushing touchdowns, and led clutch late drives to hold off a determined Kansas State team. Mayfield is doing a lot with not much around him, but needs to keep up the momentum against the rest of Oklahoma’s Big 12 competition.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin – last week’s stats: 22 carries, 126 yards, one touchdown
Seeing Wisconsin running backs succeed is not anything new in college football, but seeing it be a freshman is relatively surprising. Jonathan Taylor has seized the rock-toting duties and has been a steady force for the undefeated Badgers. Like Bryce Love a few weeks ago, Taylor’s ascension to the Heisman conversation has been sudden, but deserved, and it may not stop here.
Kenny Hill, QB, TCU – last week’s stats: 19-for-26, 278 yards, five touchdowns
TCU played perennial Big 12 punching bag Kansas and Kenny Hill took full advantage by stuffing the stat sheet. Hill did little damage with his legs, but was more than effective through the air with five passing scores. The biggest games of the Horned Frogs schedule are still ahead, and Hill needs to capitalize to get to New York at the end of the season. This Saturday’s game with upstart Iowa State is going to be a great test.
Oklahoma State’s Top Candidate
Mason Rudolph, QB – last week’s stats: 25-for-38, 282 yards
Mason Rudolph and the Cowboys offense struggled mightily against Texas last Saturday, barely getting the win and putting up only 13 points a week after the best offensive output on the season. The play-calling seemed to favor the run game for most of the contest, and Rudolph was by no means a liability, but Rudolph needs to be dominant and develop more of a killer instinct if he wants to challenge rival Oklahoma signal-caller Baker Mayfield for nation’s best player.