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Two to tango

Bush may be the leader, but Young in on his heels

Posted: Sunday October 16, 2005 10:34PM; Updated: Sunday October 16, 2005 11:11PM
Reggie Bush
Reggie Bush emerged as the man to beat in the Heisman race, but he doesn't have it locked up quite yet.
Peter Read Miller/SI

A little after 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, with Vince Young and Texas leading Colorado 35-10 and Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and USC trailing Notre Dame 21-14, I turned to my friend Kathryn (a.k.a. Vince Young Fan Club President) and said, "If I had to do the Heisman Watch at this very moment, I would rank Vince No. 1." Two hours and two Bush rushing touchdowns later, my position changed. Bush deserves to be the leader at this point, but Young is running right with him.

1. Reggie Bush, RB, USC, Jr.

Last week: 15 rushes, 160 yards, 3 touchdowns; 4 receptions, 35 yards in a 34-31 victory at No. 9 Notre Dame

Season: 86 rushes, 761 yards, 9 touchdowns; 17 receptions, 226 yards, 2 touchdowns

The lowdown: Bush was 1) brilliant 2) in a big game 3) on a national stage. Add those three up, and Bush has rightfully emerged as the one to beat. However he is far from being a Heisman lock, as some are suggesting. There are way too many games to be played.

Up next: Saturday at Washington

2. Vince Young, QB, Texas, Jr.

Last week: 25-of-29 passing, 336 yards, 2 touchdowns; 10 rushes, 58 yards, 3 touchdowns in a 42-17 victory against No. 24 Colorado

Season: 93-of-138 passing, 1,357 yards, 12 touchdowns, 5 interceptions; 75 rushes, 413 yards, 5 touchdowns

The lowdown: What in world has gotten into Young? Steve Young perhaps? Over the last two weeks, the younger Young has evolved from a running quarterback into a passing one, and on Saturday he had his best passing game ever.

Up next: Saturday vs. No. 10 Texas Tech

3. Matt Leinart, QB, USC, Sr.

Last week: 17-of-32 passing, 301 yards, 2 interceptions; 6 rushes, minus-11 yards, 1 touchdown in a 34-31 victory at No. 9 Notre Dame

Season: 125-of-198 passing, 1,947 yards, 12 touchdowns, 5 interceptions

The lowdown: As he did in the Trojans' two other big games (Oregon and Arizona State), Leinart once again looked human and has dropped off the pace set by Bush and Young. To his credit, with USC all but buried on Saturday, Leinart saved the Trojans with his clutch 61-yard pass to Dwayne Jarrett on fourth-and-nine and his 1-yard touchdown sneak.

Up next: Saturday at Washington

4. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame, Jr.

Last week: 19-of-35 passing, 264 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception; 13 rushes, 21 yards, 1 touchdown in a 34-31 loss to No. 1 USC

Season: 143-of-225 passing, 1,885 yards, 14 touchdowns, 4 interceptions

The lowdown: Quinn played solidly against USC, but he would have moved significantly up this list had he somehow led the Irish to an upset over the No. 1 team in the country. Nonetheless he still has numbers comparable with other quarterbacks on this list.

Up next: Saturday vs. BYU

5. Marcus Vick, QB, Virginia Tech, Jr.

Last week: Idle

Season: 73-of-107 passing, 1,043 yards, 10 touchdowns, 2 interceptions; 55 rushes, 134 yards, 2 touchdowns

The lowdown: The question surrounding the Hokies in the offseason was How will Marcus Vick handle the pressure? So far, so very good. But looming is Tech's toughest stretch, and Vick's biggest tests. After Thursday's game against the Terps, the Hokies meet Boston College and Miami in Blacksburg and Virginia in Charlottesville.

Up next: Thursday at Maryland