Week three featured a lot of great games for college football fans, and with great games come great individual performances by the Heisman Hopefuls. With week four right around the corner it’s time to look at the best performances from the weekend with my Heisman front-runners.
Kellen Moore: Quarterback, Boise State
Week three started out slow for Moore and the Broncos who only led by six points at the end of the first quarter. While the Heisman hopeful Moore had already thrown for two touchdowns, the Boise State defense was having trouble stopping the Toledo offense. Thankfully for the Broncos, Moore brought his A game. Completing 32 of his 42 pass attempts, (76%) for an astonishing 455 yards, Moore lead the Broncos to a 25 point win over Toledo on Friday. Moore was able to exploit the Toledo secondary for FIVE touchdowns including three to senior receiver Tyler Shoemaker. On the season Moore has averaged 358 yards with four touchdowns to just one interception per game, certainly a great way to begin a Heisman campaign.
LaMichael James: Running Back, Oregon
After a rocky start to the season against LSU, James has been dominant for the Ducks racking up 412 total yards of offense and six touchdowns. The star junior out of Texas has been a playmaker in every way scoring rushing, receiving and punt return touchdowns. Last week against Missouri State, James had 204 yards on 12 carries, an unbelievable 17 yard average. James also found the endzone three times. While he will have to shake off a week one disappointment against the Tigers, his monster performance in week three has him back in the running for college football’s most prestigious award.
Matt Barkley: Quarterback, Southern California
Perhaps the darkest of dark horses, due to USC’s NCAA sanctions, Barkley has been putting up ridiculous numbers for the Trojans. Barkley has been on a tear ever since the season started completing 69% of his passes, (a seven percent increase from last year), and has a touchdown to interception ratio of 9-1. Last week against Syracuse, Barkley completed 67% of his passes for 324 yards and FIVE touchdowns. Barkley, who has never thrown for over 2800 yards, is on pace for 3,568 yards and a ludicrous 36-4 touchdown to interception ratio. If that doesn’t scream Heisman then I’m not sure what does.
Russell Wilson: Quarterback, Wisconsin
The NC State transfer was everything advertised in the first two games of the season and week three wasn’t any different. Completing 23 of 32 passes Wilson totaled 347 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson also added 37 yards on the ground in five carries. Wilson has certainly found targets he trusts in senior receiver Nick Toon and sophomore tight end Jacob Pedersen who have been on the receiving end of seven of Wilson’s eight touchdowns. Wilson is averaging just 263 yards through the air but has been very careful with the ball resulting in only one interception in three games. Wilson’s leadership and ability also has the Badgers in the National Title hunt which will only help his Heisman campaign.
Andrew Luck: Quarterback, Stanford
The favorite for the award heading into the season, Luck has overcome a mediocre performance in week one against San Jose State with back to back strong outings. Against Duke, Luck completed 71% of his passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns. The Cardinal quarterback followed the performance up with a 325 yard and two touchdown day against the Arizona Wildcats. Luck is on pace for 3,144 yards and a 28-4 touchdown to interception ratio. While the yardage and touchdowns might be down from last year, with no Cam Newton in the Heisman race, Luck could find himself walking away with the award anyway.
Marcus Lattimore: Running Back, South Carolina
There may not be another player in the nation who had a bigger, (or more important), week three performance then the sophomore from Duncan, South Carolina. Not only did Lattimore carry the ball an absurd 37 times (every single one was needed to squeak out a three point win against Navy), but he ran over the Navy defense for 246 yards and three touchdowns. Lattimore also added 25 yards receiving on four catches. Lattimore is off to a blistering start for the 2011 season, and is on pace to rush for 2,136 yards on 348 carries and score 28 touchdowns. While it’s not likely he’ll reach these numbers it’s still a remarkable start to the season for Lattimore that certainly makes him a favorite to strike the pose in December.
Trent Richardson: Running Back, Alabama
Just two years ago, Trent Richardson was the Robin for the eventual Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. During that 2009 season, Richardson flashed signs of greatness averaging over five yards per carry and finishing the season with 870 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns. Now, fast forward two years and the junior from Pensacola Florida is the Crimson Tide’s Batman. Averaging 6.3 yards per carry with eight rushing touchdowns in three games, Richardson has helped the Tide get off to a 3-0 start including a marquee win over Penn State in Happy Valley. If Richardson continues on the pace he has set not only could he be hoisting the Heisman in December, but a National Championship in January may be in the cards as well.