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Posted: Monday September 28, 2009 1:52PM; Updated: Tuesday September 29, 2009 12:41AM
Gene Menez Gene Menez >

Though shaken up, Tebow returns to front of Heisman race

Story Highlights

Tim Tebow ran all over Kentucky before sustaining a concussion in the win

Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen made Heisman-like plays against Purdue

Colt McCoy returned to his 2008 ways in the Longhorns' 64-7 rout of UTEP

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Cincinnati's Tony Pike passed for 300 yards in last week's win over Fresno State.

Heisman 2009

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This strange Heisman season took another twist last week when Florida quarterback Tim Tebow took the hit seen 'round the world and suffered a concussion on the play. The Watch would like to wish Tebow a speedy recovery, but what does this mean for Gator's Heisman hopes? Well, we'd rather not worry about until, and if, he actually misses a game.

In other news, running back Jahvid Best and quarterback Jacory Harris joined BYU's Max Hall as former top Heisman contenders, and their teams' meltdowns on Saturday have shaken up this week's Watch.

1. QB Tim Tebow, Sr., Florida

Last week: 5-of-10 passing, 103 yards, 1 TD; 16 rushes, 123 yards, 2 TDs in a 41-7 victory at Kentucky

Season: 44-of-68 passing, 643 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT; 55 rushes, 271 yards, 5 TDs

Heisman-o-meter: The Watch will go out on a limb and say that Tebow reclaiming the top spot is not the main concern of Gators fans right now. He suffered a concussion after getting pummeled by Kentucky's Taylor Wyndham and hitting his head on the knee of lineman Marcus Gilbert as he fell to the ground. But before his injury, Tebow returned to his dominant running self, even taking one carry for 30 yards, a career best. And, with the run game established, he took advantage of the Wildcats' defense with a perfectly executed play fake on his long touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez, closing out a near-perfect first quarter. On Sunday, coach Urban Meyer said Tebow had been released from the hospital and that the QB would be monitored to determine how much rest he needs. But, with the Gators fortuitously idle this week, The Watch will be shocked if he does not play in Baton Rouge.

Up next: Oct. 10 at LSU

2. QB Jimmy Clausen, Jr., Notre Dame

Last week: 15-of-26 passing, 171 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 4 rushes, minus-13 yards in a 24-21 victory at Purdue

Season: 77-of-117 passing, 1,122 yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT; 15 rushes, minus-13 yards

Heisman-o-meter: Last week, I mentioned how Clausen failed to make the important plays -- the plays a Heisman winner is expected to make -- in the loss to Michigan. Well, he made those plays against Purdue. Visibly bothered by a turf toe injury that forced him to split time with Dayne Crist, Clausen had some signature moments in rallying the Irish to victory, capped off by the clutch, game-winning TD pass on fourth down to Kyle Rudolph. (By the way, expect Rudolph to win a Mackey Award some day.) Clausen, who had been almost flawless in the first three games, was a bit erratic against the Boilermakers, but the injury had much to do with that. And he got a bit greedy late in the first half by trying to throw to the end zone, which resulted in an interception, costing his team three points. But this gutty effort puts him in the thick of the race.

Up next: Saturday vs. Washington

3. QB Colt McCoy, Sr., Texas

Last week: 28-of-35 passing, 286 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT; 4 rushes, 15 yards in a 64-7 victory against UTEP

Season: 103-of-145 passing, 1,145 yards, 9 TDs, 5 INTs; 28 rushes, 61 yards 1 TD

Heisman-o-meter: After throwing an ugly interception on his third pass, which resulted in a pick-six (and the Miners' only points of the game), McCoy seemed on the way to repeat his 2009 m.o.: slow-starting first halves. But he quickly got back on track and, with some athletic plays from the emerging Dan Buckner and very little resistance from UTEP, the Texas triggerman looked very much like the McCoy of 2008 (except for the lack of running, which he hasn't unleashed yet). He racked up those numbers in a little more than two quarters of play and, had James Kirkendoll held on to a pass, McCoy would've had four TD scores. Perhaps now the real McCoy is back.

Up next: Oct. 10 against Colorado

4. WR Dez Bryant, Jr., Oklahoma State

Last week: Did not play in a 56-6 victory against Grambling

Season: 17 receptions, 323 yards 4 TDs; 3 punt returns, 111 yards, 1 TD; 2 kickoff returns, 43 yards

Heisman-o-meter: Because of the failures of Best and Harris, Bryant moves up without even playing. Nursing a strained hamstring, Bryant sat out on Saturday, choosing not to risk further injury against an overmatched Grambling team. His replacement, freshman Dameron Fooks, had four catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant now gets two weeks to rest that hamstring before the Cowboys' Big 12 opener in Aggieland.

Up next: Oct. 10 at Texas A&M

5. QB Tony Pike, Sr., Cincinnati

Last week: 18-of-26 passing, 300 yards, 3 TDs; 4 rushes, 15 yards in a 28-20 victory against Fresno State

Season: 93-of-132 passing, 1,223 yards, 11 TDs, 2 INTs; 13 rushes, 38 yards, 2 TDs

Heisman-o-meter: It was another near-flawless game for Pike, who keeps moving up the list. On his first touchdown, he made a linebacker bite with a great play fake. And on the Bearcats' last two scores, Pike showed nice touch getting the ball to Mardy Gilyard, who is making a strong case to be included on The Watch, as well. Pike could've had a fourth TD pass, but sailed a ball to Gilyard when trying to throw on the run. The strong-armed Cincy quarterback may be flying under-the-radar nationally, but there are not many others playing on his level.

Up next: Saturday at Miami (Ohio)

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