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Posted: Tuesday September 2, 2008 12:43PM; Updated: Tuesday September 2, 2008 12:44PM
Gene Menez Gene Menez >
HEISMAN WATCH

Despite injury, Beanie Wells stays on top; Tebow, Moreno loom

Story Highlights
  • OSU's Wells suffered a foot injuy Saturday and is questionable against Ohio
  • Missouri's Chase Daniel was in midseason form in thrasing No. 20 Illinois
  • With 338 yards passing against Virigina, USC's Matt Sanchez is moving up
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Beanie Wells
Beanie Wells enjoyed another prolific day before going down with a foot injury.
AP
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These early-season Heisman Watches are always the most difficult to do. Candidates have such a small sampling of games, and most of those are against a slew of Directional State U nobodies. For that reason the Watch will wait to drastically move contenders up and down the list. That's not to say, however, that the opening week of games was without its share of Heisman developments, beginning with one from the Watch's preseason favorite, Beanie Wells.

1. Beanie Wells, Ohio State, RB, Jr.

Last week: 13 rushes, 111 yards, 1 TD; 3 receptions, 10 yards in a 43-0 victory over Youngstown State.
Heisman-o-meter: Health has always been the No. 1 concern with the injury-prone Wells, and just as the big back was confirming his place at the top with a 43-yard touchdown romp, he goes down with a non-contact injury in the third quarter of Game 1. As of Tuesday morning, Ohio State still had not disclosed what's wrong with Wells' right foot or how long he will be out. Since it's not certain whether he will miss even one game (though that seems likely with the overmatched Bobcats coming to town and USC looming in two weeks), he remains No. 1, though a very tenuous one.
Up next: Saturday vs. Ohio.

2. Tim Tebow, Florida, QB, Jr.

Last week: 9-of-14 passing, 137 yards, 1 TD; 9 rushes, 37 yards in a 56-10 victory over Hawaii.
Heisman-o-meter: The incumbent didn't need to be his Heisman self against Hawaii (he did hit Louis Murphy over the middle, leading to a 48-yard touchdown, and still led the Gators in rushing attempts), but the game may have been telling nonetheless. After Tebow had guided the Gators to the Hawaii 3-yard line with more than three minutes left in the third quarter, coach Urban Meyer replaced Tebow with backup Cam Newton, who ran two straight times for the touchdown. Could this be a hint as to how Meyer plans to use his Heisman winner this season? Saturday's matchup with Miami should provide a few more answers.
Up next: Saturday vs. Miami.

3. Chase Daniel, Missouri, QB, Sr.

Last week: 26-of-45 passing, 323 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 9 rushes, 46 yards in a 52-42 victory over No. 20 Illinois in St. Louis.
Heisman-o-meter: The savvy operator of the spread had the Tigers' scary good offense in midseason form against the Illini. As always, he got rid of the ball quickly, avoided errors (except for the interception he threw that was returned for a touchdown) and moved the chains with his feet when necessary. He'll be a candidate all season, but receiver Jeremy Maclin, who almost made this list, may start stealing some of Daniel's Heisman love.
Up next: Saturday vs. Southeast Missouri State.

4. Pat White, West Virginia, QB, Sr.

Last week: 25-of-33 passing, 208 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT; 9 rushes, 63 yards in a 48-21 victory over Villanova.
Heisman-o-meter: Let's not get carried away here. Saturday's game was against Division I-AA Villanova. That said, this was the most impressive we've seen White throw the ball. The open field running wizard threw the ball with touch, he threw it with pace and he even threw the ball downfield some, much different from the swing-pass heavy, horizontal passing game from the previous coaching regime. If he continues to do this against more legitimate competition, watch out.
Up next: Saturday at East Carolina.

5. Knowshon Moreno, Georgia, RB, Soph.

Last week: 8 rushes, 59 yards, 3 TDs; 2 receptions, 53 yards in a 45-21 victory over Georgia Southern.
Heisman-o-meter: Quarterback Matthew Stafford (275 yards passing, two touchdowns) actually played like the true Heisman candidate from Georgia, but as I said earlier, the Watch will not make any drastic alterations after only one game. Moreno did get loose a couple times -- one on a 40-yard screen play, which he capped by plowing his shoulder into an Eagles defender, the other on his 24-yard touchdown run during which he grabbed the back of his right leg, sending a scare through Georgia fans everywhere. It turned out just to be cramps.
Up next: Saturday vs. Central Michigan.

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