Posted: Monday September 20, 2010 2:58PM ; Updated: Monday September 20, 2010 3:56PM
Cory McCartney

K-State's beastly RB Thomas joins the fray, while Shoelace holds No. 1

Story Highlights

Heisman obits for Washington's Jake Locker and Houston's Case Keenum

Hogs' Mallett could make a play for the top spot against No. 1 Alabama

Stanford's Luck displayed dominance again, and has yet to throw a pick

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Daniel Thomas
K-State's Daniel Thomas has racked up 552 rushing yards in the first three weeks, but can he keep up his enormous workload?

The Watchman has heard your cries, Andy from Olathe, Kan. You too, Charles of Topeka, Jay from Salina, and if my inbox is any indication, the vast majority of the Sunflower State population with an Internet connection.

Since the initial Heisman Watch, I have been inundated with e-mails wanting to know, as Shea from K.C. puts it: "How can you neglect Daniel Thomas from Kansas State? Where's the love, man?"

I'll admit it: I've been slow to warm to the Wildcats' running back, mainly because Thomas is K-State's offense and I wondered if defenses would simply load up against him and cool his production. But consider me a covert for now. Through three games, the nation's second-leading rusher has become too prolific to ignore with 552 yards. The former juco quarterback has been responsible for 45 percent of K-State's offense and he's had the ball on nearly half their offensive plays.

So, relax Manhattan, Thomas makes his debut in the latest Watch, while we welcome back a face that's all-too-familiar to the Heisman fraternity.

Also, some quick obits for a pair of preseason favorites ... Washington's Jake Locker only completed 20 percent of his passes (4-of-20) in a loss to Nebraska, the third-worst completion percentage of any FBS quarterback with at least 20 attempts in the last six years. Meanwhile, Houston's Case Keenum was knocked out for the season with a torn ACL. A Houston source tells me the school may apply for a medical hardship to bring the redshirt senior back next year.

As always, here's a look back to see how the Watchman ranked the contenders after Week 2.

1. Denard Robinson, Michigan QB, Soph.

Last Week: 10-of-14 passing for 241 yards, two TDs, one INT; 17 rushes for 104 yards and one TD in 42-37 win over UMass.
Season: 53-of-76 passing for 671 yards, four TDs and one INT; 74 rushes for 559 yards and four TDs.

Shoelace's defense did him no favors as he played into the fourth quarter with the Wolverines giving up 37 points and 439 yards to an FCS opponent. At least it gave us another monster performance, as Robinson topped 330 total yards in the first three quarters. He also took less of a pounding, cutting his carries down to 17 after running 57 times in the first two games -- key since Big Ten play has yet to start.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Bowling Green

2. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas QB, Jr.

Last Week: 21-of-33 passing for 380 yards and three TDs; two rushes for minus-4 yards in 31-24 win over Georgia.
Season: 70-of-100 passing for 1,081 yards, nine TDs and two INTs; 11 rushes for minus-3 yards.

Mallett ramped up his candidacy and silenced his critics by delivering his first career SEC road win between the hedges. Big Tex delivered three big throws on the final drive, culminating in the game-winning touchdown pass to Greg Childs with 15 seconds left (prime highlight-reel material should he earn an invitation to NYC). Mallett could make a play for the top spot on this list with No. 1 Alabama coming to Fayetteville.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Alabama

3. Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State QB, Jr.

Last Week: 22-of-29 for 235 yards, two TDs and two INTs; eight rushes for 35 yards in 43-7 win over Ohio.
Season: 51-of-81 for 715 yards, six TDs and two INTs; 36 rushes for 165 yards and two TDs.

So much for the error-free play. Pryor threw his first two interceptions of the year, including one when he forced a ball into double-coverage. But he offset those mistakes by completing a season-high 75.9 percent of his passes, including a Buckeyes' record 16 consecutive completions in the first half to break Jim Karsatos' previous record of 12 set in 1985. It came against a MAC team, but it was the kind of breather Pryor needed after facing Miami.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Eastern Michigan

4. Kellen Moore, Boise State QB, Jr.

Last Week: 20-of-30 passing for 370 yards, two TDs and one INT; two rushes for minus-1 yard in 51-6 win over Wyoming.
Season: 43-of-68 passing for 585 yards, five TDs and one INT; four rushes for minus-20 yards.

Moore showed no signs of rust after a 12-day layoff as he led the Broncos to their 16th straight win. While he did throw his first interception of the year (and just the fourth in 485 attempts), Moore still torched the Cowboys for his highest yardage total in 26 starts. He has a golden opportunity to bolster his resume in prime time as the Broncos host No. 24 Oregon State, which has given up 453 yards per game.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Oregon State

5. LaMichael James, Oregon RB, Soph.

Last Week: 14 rushes for 227 yards and two TDs; one reception for nine yards in 69-0 win over Portland State.
Season: 30 rushes for 361 yards and three TDs; four receptions for 36 yards.

The man is obviously a perfectionist. After recording his first 200-yard game -- in one half -- James had this to say: "I feel like [this] was the worst game I've played in my life." Well, he certainly looks like he's running on all cylinders after being suspended for the opener, rattling off runs of 76 and 66 yards in his first two games. The opposition hasn't been a major challenge, but that will change this week.

Next Up: Saturday at Arizona State
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