Stats alone won't win N. Illinois' Wolfe the Heisman
Posted: Sunday October 1, 2006 7:17PM; Updated: Monday October 2, 2006 11:13AM
Garrett Wolfe may be on pace to break the single-season rushing record, but can he win the Heisman?
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After hitting the statistical lottery against Ball State (353 rushing yards and three touchdowns), Northern Illinois running back Garrett Wolfe has gone from charming small-school wonder to serious contender for the Heisman. My well-informed colleague Stewart Mandel even anointed him the front-runner at this point. The Watchman will not go that far (the contenders, now in alphabetical order, will be ranked later this month), but there's no doubt that if the stiff-armed statuette was awarded based on stats alone, Wolfe would already be preparing his acceptance speech. Many voters, though, factor in criteria such as team success (the Huskies are 3-2) and a player's impact on the college football landscape, which may prevent Wolfe from winning it.
Mike Hart, Michigan, RB, Jr.
Last week: 31 rushes, 195 yards; 1 reception, 31 yards in a 28-14 victory at Minnesota Season: 135 rushes, 672 yards, 5 TDs Heisman-o-meter: Those not watching Iowa-Ohio State witnessed the value of Hart against Minnesota. He carried the ball 10 times in Michigan's first 13 plays, helping to open up the passing game. He converted a third down with a key 31-yard reception, and he busted a 54-yard run late in the game as the Wolverines were trying to run out the clock. An all-around Grade-A effort. Up next: Saturday vs. Michigan State
Chris Leak, Florida, QB, Sr.
Last week: 14 of 20 passing, 174 yards, 2 TDs; 6 rushes, 31 yards in a 28-13 victory against Alabama Season: 84 of 130 passing, 1,240 yards, 14 TDs, 4 INTs Heisman-o-meter: The Gators went run-heavy against Alabama, so Leak deferred on this day to running back DeShawn Wynn and an opportunistic Florida defense. Leak's 45-yard run, the longest of his career, shows he has the wheels to be more of a running threat and makes the Watchman wonder if he's not a better runner because he doesn't like to take the hits. A three-game stretch against LSU, Auburn and Georgia will determine how serious a candidate Leak is. Up next: Saturday vs. No. 9 LSU
Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma, RB, Jr.
Last week: Idle Season: 117 rushes, 643 yards, 7 TDs; 4 receptions, 72 yards, 1 TD Heisman-o-meter: Thanks to the off week, Peterson's abused legs (he has not carried the ball fewer than 24 times this season) get a much-needed break. No game on Oklahoma's schedule will play a bigger role in Peterson's Heisman hopes than Saturday's against Texas and a defense that ranks second in the country against the run (36.6 yards per game allowed). Up next: Saturday vs. No. 7 Texas (in Dallas)
Brady Quinn, Notre Dame, QB, Sr.
Last week: 29 of 38 passing, 316 yards, 2 TDs in a 35-21 victory against Purdue Season: 121 of 196 passing, 1,402 yards, 13 TDs, 4 INTs Heisman-o-meter: The numbers make Quinn's outing look more impressive than it was. He played well, but despite facing the nation's 115th-ranked pass defense, the downfield passing game wasn't there, and a large chunk of his yards came on short passes and screen plays. He's still closer to the bottom of this list than the top. Up next: Saturday vs. Stanford
Ray Rice, Rutgers, RB, Soph.
Last week: 35 rushes, 202 yards, 2 TDs in a 22-20 victory at South Florida Season: 141 rushes, 806 yards, 11 TDs Heisman-o-meter: The running back whose nickname is Sizzle hasn't faced the competition of most of the others on this list, but his numbers can't be ignored. The quick and shifty Rice picked through South Florida for his second 200-yard rushing day this season. Are there enough votes to get both Wolfe and Rice to the Heisman presentation on Dec. 9? The Watchman has serious doubts. Up next: Oct. 14 at Navy