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Buckeye bonanza

Two Ohio St. players among top 10 award candidates

Posted: Tuesday September 5, 2006 3:32PM; Updated: Tuesday September 5, 2006 5:19PM
Ohio State WR Ted Ginn Jr. burned inferior Northern Illinois corners throughout the Buckeyes opening win.
Ohio State WR Ted Ginn Jr. burned inferior Northern Illinois corners throughout the Buckeyes opening win.
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Before getting to the headline act in this story -- the 10 names below -- let's explain what you're looking at: the 10 leading candidates for the Heisman based on Week 1 performances only. Thus there are many big names not on this list, namely the Watchman's preseason favorite, Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. The list, however, is very fluid and will change considerably, especially early in the season, so there's no reason for any Irish fans to get all e-mail-crazy about how the Watchman is a Notre Dame hater. Quinn was simply harassed for much of the game by the Georgia Tech defense and did not have one of the 10 best performances from Week 1. The following (listed in alphabetical order until mid-October) did.

Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State, WR, Jr.

Last week: Four receptions, 123 yards, two TDs; two punt returns, 44 yards; two kickoff returns, 25 yards in a 35-12 victory against Northern Illinois.

Heisman-o-meter: An assist for Ginn's performance should go to the Northern Illinois defensive backs who let Ginn's fleet feet run wild in the secondary. He'll need to get more than eight touches a game -- and do some truly spectacular things with those touches -- to get an invite to New York in December.

Up next: Saturday at No. 2 Texas

Kenny Irons, Auburn, RB, Sr.

Last week: Twenty rushes, 183 yards, one touchdown; three receptions, 40 yards in a 40-14 victory against Washington State.

Heisman-o-meter: His first carry of the season was a stretch play over the right side that he turned upfield for 42 yards. Later he broke off a 58-yard touchdown run. Fast and tough, he was as impressive as any other player in Week 1.

Up next: Saturday at Mississippi State

Ben Olson, UCLA, QB, Soph.

Last week: Twenty-five of 33 passing, 318 yards, three TDs in a 31-10 victory against Utah.

Heisman-o-meter: So now we see why he was the No. 1 quarterback recruit in 2002. Even though it was his first start in five years, he played with patience, poise and a great command of the offense. And his numbers would have been even better if his receivers hadn't dropped at least three balls.

Up next: Saturday vs. Rice

Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma, RB, Jr.

Last week: Twenty-four rushes, 139 yards, one TD; one reception, 69 yards, one TD in a 24-17 victory against UAB.

Heisman-o-meter: With the offensive line and receiver-turned-quarterback Paul Thompson providing little support, Peterson was a one-man gang against the Blazers. He scored both of the team's second-half touchdowns, the second on a 69-yard catch-and-run, saving Oklahoma from what would have been a second straight season-opening upset. Can he beat teams by himself? We may actually get to find out.

Up next: Saturday vs. Washington

Ray Rice, Rutgers, RB, Soph.

Last week: Thirty-one rushes, 201 yards, three TDs in a 21-16 victory at North Carolina.

Heisman-o-meter: Fullback Brian Leonard was supposed to be Rutgers' Heisman hopeful, but his backfield mate upstaged him. Many of Rice's yards were a result of the Tar Heels' defense focusing on Leonard, so any Rice-for-Heisman campaigns should proceed with extreme caution.

Up next: Saturday vs. Illinois