OSU Smith falls back to pack; Hart, Quinn back in it
Posted: Monday November 6, 2006 12:34PM; Updated: Monday November 6, 2006 2:25PM
Troy Smith threw just his third interception of the season in Ohio State's lackluster 17-10 win over Illinois on Saturday.
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We may just have a Heisman race after all. After a very un-Heismanlike effort against Illinois, quarterback Troy Smith has, at least in these eyes, opened the door.
He's not asked to do as much as, say, a Brady Quinn, so when Smith does get the chance to make a play he must take advantage of it, which he has done for much of this year. But he didn't do it on Saturday.
Despite what happened at Champaign, he's still the leader, but considering how important the guys just below him on the list are to their teams, it's not Smith's trophy yet.
1. Troy Smith, Ohio State, QB, Sr.
Last week: 13-of-23 passing, 108 yards, 1 INT; 11 rushes, 37 yards in a 17-10 victory at Illinois Season: 158-of-237 passing, 2,006 yards, 22 TDs, 3 INTs; 53 rushes, 206 yards, 1 TD Heisman-o-meter: After completing 4 of 5 passes and driving his team to a touchdown on the game's opening drive, Smith ended up having his worst game this season. It wasn't that he was bad. He was just off, especially in the second half, and so was the Buckeyes' offense. His margin for error has dwindled. Up next: Saturday at Northwestern
2. Mike Hart, Michigan, RB, Jr.
Last week: 25 rushes, 154 yards, 1 TD; 2 receptions, 8 yards in a 34-26 victory over Ball State Season: 259 rushes, 1,281 yards, 10 TDs; 13 receptions, 122 yards Heisman-o-meter: Hart fumbled for the first time in two years, but, after a few workmanlike games, he finally got loose like we know he can. He may not be as flashy or have the gaudy stats of others on this list, but the toughness he displays when he runs wins me over every time. Up next: Saturday at Indiana
3. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame, QB, Sr.
Last week: 23-of-35 passing, 346 yards, 4 TDs in a 45-26 victory over North Carolina Season: 216-of-338 passing, 2,579 yards, 25 TDs, 4 INTs Heisman-o-meter: Not even Troy Smith generates as many e-mail responses as Quinn. Half of them say he should be moved ahead of Smith; the others believe he doesn't belong above Colt McCoy. I almost needed to flip a coin to decide between Quinn and Hart at No. 2, but I decided to go with the Michigan back for now, even though Quinn is coming off a game in which he was locked in from the outset. (An aside: Was it just me or did it seem like Carolina's corners were giving Jeff Samardzija way too much cushion?) Up next: Saturday at Air Force
4. Colt McCoy, Texas, QB, Fr.
Last week: 23-of-29 passing, 346 yards, 3 TDs in a 36-10 victory over Oklahoma State Season: 170-of-246 passing, 2,051 yards, 27 TDs, 4 INTs Heisman-o-meter: After much re-evaluation, McCoy jumps from No. 9. The reasoning: Ignoring his stats for a moment (which have been sensational by the way), he has been nails in Texas' biggest wins, throwing two key touchdown passes in the comeback against Oklahoma, driving the Horns to a game-winning field goal at Nebraska and rallying them from a 21-point deficit at Texas Tech. Few on this list can say they have as much impact in as many big wins as this cool 20-year-old. Up next: Saturday at Kansas State
5. Steve Slaton, West Virginia, RB, Soph.
Last week: 18 rushes, 156 yards, 1 TD; 3 receptions, 74 yards in a 44-34 loss at No. 5 Louisville Season: 169 rushes, 1,215 yards, 10 TDs; 12 receptions, 161 yards Heisman-o-meter: Last week's No. 2 was on his way to a huge night before losing feeling in his left arm, which led to fumbles on consecutive carries in the third quarter. The second fumble was returned for a touchdown and completely changed the momentum in what would eventually be a Mountaineers' loss. As impressive as Slaton's been all year, it would be difficult to vote for a guy who coughed up the ball twice in his team's biggest game of the year. Up next: Saturday vs. Cincinnati