Heisman Watch: Could WR Blackmon make history this year?
If WR Justin Blackmon continues his streak, he is a likely Heisman candidate
Kellen Moore, despite Boise State's easy schedule, has proven his Heisman worth
Denard Robinson averaged 30.7 yards per completion in the Wolverines' win
His record keeps growing, and it is showing no signs of stopping.
Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon now has had at least 100 yards receiving in 14 consecutive games, three beyond the NCAA mark he broke last season. In comparison, the longest active streak with at least 300-yard passing games of six by Oklahoma's Landry Jones is 18 off Ty Detmer's mark, and games with 100 yards rushing is eight by Texas A&M's Cyrus Gray, which is 23 away from Archie Griffin's record.
It's a level of consistency unlike anything we're seeing in an age of explosive offenses, and one that we're seemingly taking for granted. It prompts the question: would it be enough for him to become the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy?
Yes, previous winners Tim Brown (1987) and Desmond Howard (1991) both played the position, but they were also heavily involved in the kick return games. Blackmon's only significant special teams contribution has been taking a blocked punt he took seven yards for a TD last season. He is simply, and yet brilliantly, a pass-catcher.
That alone couldn't net the award for Michael Crabtree, who was fifth in 2008 or Larry Fitzgerald; his second-place in '03, 128 points behind winner Jason White, is the highest finish for a player who was strictly a WR, and Blackmon himself was fifth in last year's voting.
As much as we discuss whether a defender can ever win, the argument for a strict WR is overshadowed. If Blackmon's streak lasts through the season -- and there's a good chance it will as the Cowboys see just two teams that ranked higher than 51st last season in pass defense -- expect this debate to be front and center.
Here's a look at how the Watchman stacked things up after last week, but before we unveil this week's top 10, a little housekeeping. We say so long (for now) to preseason favorite LaMichael James. While the Oregon running back showed his versatility against Nevada, he also finished below the 100-yard rushing mark for the second straight game, a troubling mark for the nation's top rusher a year ago. He'll have to work his way back up this list, but the good news is it's only September.
Last week: 20-of-28 passing for 290 yards, four TDs and one INT; three rushes for two yards in 44-14 win over Duke.
Season: 37-of-54 passing for 461 yards, six TDs and one INT; five rushes for 11 yards and one TD.
"We're a lot more than just Andrew Luck and the Luckettes," coach David Shaw said. Yes, but it's Luck who sets Stanford apart. Immediately after a deflected pass was returned for a TD, Luck responded by leading a 38-second drive that covered 59 yards through the air, en route to his fifth career four-TD game. With 51 career TD passes he's one behind Jim Plunkett, Stanford's last Heisman winner, for third on the school's all-time list. Luck should be tested in one of the better September QB duels next week as he faces Arizona's Nick Foles, who has an FBS-best 810 yards through two games.
Next up: Saturday at Arizona
Last week: Idle
Season: 28-of-34 passing for 261 yards, three TDs and an interception.
The Broncos faced their only BCS opponent, and have one date with a currently ranked team, No. 25 TCU, remaining. With blowouts in the forecast, Moore can expect to have his candidacy scrutinized because of them. But his play against BCS teams speaks for itself. In five games, he has thrown for 1,347 yards, 13 TDs and two picks and completed 69 percent of his passes -- oh, and he's 5-0. This week's opponent isn't from a power conference, but Toledo is no slouch; it upset Penn State in 2000, Michigan in '08, Colorado in '09, Purdue in '10 and put a scare into No. 17 Ohio State Saturday.
Next up: Friday at Toledo
Last week: 27 rushes for 176 yards and one TD; two receptions for eight yards.
Season: 50 rushes for 288 yards and four TDs; five receptions for 41 yards.
Lattimore surges up the charts with another dominant performance against Georgia. Last season he had his breakout game against the Bulldogs, and Saturday he burned them again, pushing his two-game total in the series to 64 rushes for 358 yards. But maybe most impressive was the way he closed, running 13 times for 96 yards in the fourth quarter in a hostile environment. He's on pace for a 300-carry season, and given Steve Spurrier's willingness to ride his workhorse's back to the wheels fall off, that number may be on the light side.
Next up: Saturday vs. Navy
Last week: Idle
Season: 21-of-27 passing for 359 yards, five TDs; 10 rushes for 38 yards and one reception for 15 yards.
RGIII gets another week to celebrate his monster performance against TCU, his Golden Bears' No. 20 ranking (their highest since 1991) and being the only contender on this list with his own logo. He wasn't exactly helped by the Horned Frogs this week as their defense continued to struggle, giving up 416 yards (over the first two games the Frogs have given up 575 more yards than a year ago) in a win over Air Force. Nonetheless, Griffin has a chance to pad his stats this week against an FCS opponent.
Next up: Saturday vs. Stephen F. Austin
Last week: 12 receptions for 128 yards and two TDs; one rush for six yards in 37-14 win over Arizona.
Season: 20 receptions for 272 yards and two TDs; one rush for six yards.
Take your pick on your favorite Blackmon highlight from this one. There was the over-the-shoulder-catch on a fade route where he managed to tap his foot down for the touchdown, and then there was the 360 spin move that left Wildcats safety Marquis Flowers shaking his head. Combined with the Cowboys' 36-10 win in December's Alamo Bowl, Blackmon has burned 'Zona to the tune of 21 catches for 245 yards and four TDs.
Next up: Saturday at Tulsa
Last week: Idle
Season: 35-of-47 passing for 375 yards, one TD; one rush for two yards.
Last September Jones carved up Florida State to the tune of 380 yards and four touchdowns, with a staggering 75 percent completion percentage, as the Sooners rolled 47-17. After that blowout, how could their rematch offer Jones a chance to pad his Heisman resume? OU's romp came in the friendly confines of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, and it has nowhere near the buzz of this meeting. If Jones can dominate a Top-5 showdown in Tallahassee -- and upstage the Seminoles' emerging contender QB E.J. Manuel -- everyone else may be playing catch-up.
Next up: Saturday vs. Florida State
Last week: 26 rushes for 111 yards and two TDs; four receptions for 19 yards and one kick return for 19 yards in 27-11 win over No. 23 Penn State.
Season: 39 rushes for 148 yards and five TDs; five receptions for 35 yards and one kick return for 19 yards.
Wasn't this what we were expecting with Richardson in the lead back role? After running for 37 yards on 13 carries in the opener, he had a workmanlike 111 yards on 26 carries. Week 2 gems seem to be part of the script for Richardson. As a freshman, he ran for 118 yards vs. FIU and last season he had 144 against the Nittany Lions. He could be in for a another huge day this week if Nick Saban keeps him in the game long enough; combining last season's stats and the first two weeks of 2011, North Texas has allowed 182 rushing ypg.
Next up: Saturday vs. North Texas
Last week: 11-of-24 passing for 338 yards, four TDs and three INTs; 16 rushes for 108 yards and one TD in 35-31 win over Notre Dame.
Season: 20-of-37 passing for 436 yards, four TDs and three INTs; 24 rushes for 154 yards and one TD.
If the Heisman could be won in September, Shoelace would be in Archie Griffin territory. He was the defining player in a game that has grown in stature over the years as he directed scoring drives of 83, 40, 58 and 80 yards, capped by a 16-yard floater to Roy Roundtree with two seconds left. In all, Robinson accounted for 446 of the Wolverines' 452 yards, averaging a staggering 30.7 yards per completion. Before we jump back on the bandwagon, he has to deliver a win against a ranked opponent, something he won't get a chance to do until Oct. 15 vs. Michigan State.
Next up: Saturday vs. Eastern Michigan
Last week: 10-of-21 passing for 219 yards, one TD and two INTs; 15 rushes for 166 yards and two TDs in 42-29 win over Fresno State.
Season: 21-of-43 passing for 335 yards, one TD and two INTs; 34 rushes for 301 yards and five TDs.
Martinez's 385 total yards were the second most of his career and for the seventh time he had at least 100 yards passing and 100 yards rushing. Of his 25 combined rushes and completions, seven were for 20 yards or longer, including a 57-yard run and a pass for 53 yards. But it was an uneven outing as he fumbled twice and threw two picks as his passer rating dipped to 112.7, which ranks 84th nationally. He continues to dazzle with his legs, but he has to shore up his passing game.
Next up: Saturday vs. Washington
Last week: 26-of-41 passing for 458 yards and five TDs; six rushes for nine yards in 48-23 win over North Texas.
Season: 56-of-81 passing for 768 yards and six TDs; 13 rushes for 39 yards.
The Watchman is a sucker for the pursuit of history. Keenum continued his, climbing up the career yardage lists with his 13th game of 400-plus yards and the first in his comeback from knee surgery. He's now fourth in passing yards (14,354) and total yardage (15,255), supplanting Colt Brennan and Colt McCoy, respectively, and tied with Danny Wuerffel for sixth all-time with his 114th TD pass. Keenum did most of his damage in the second half, hitting on 17 of 22 attempts for 284 yards and four TDs before sitting with nearly 14 minutes remaining. Most importantly in his Heisman pursuit, Keenum moved Houston to 2-0.
Next up: Saturday at Louisiana Tech
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