Posted: Monday September 27, 2010 12:49PM ; Updated: Monday September 27, 2010 6:16PM
Cory McCartney
Cory McCartney>HEISMAN WATCH

LSU's Peterson flashes signs of Trophy contender, Boise QB shines

Story Highlights

LSU's Patrick Peterson's 60-yard punt return gave a glimpse at what could come

Boise QB Kelly Moore looked his finest in a 13-point win over Oregon State

Ryan Mallet had a chance to seize the Heisman lead, but failed in a loss to 'Bama

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Patrick Paterson was flagged for excessive celebration after his 60-yard punt return touchdown against West Virginia on Saturday.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It certainly wasn't subtle. But an in-your-face signal that he was officially throwing his hat into the ring was exactly what Patrick Peterson needed.

The LSU corner/return man had just returned a punt 60 yards in the Tigers' 20-14 win over West Virginia on Saturday night, when he stopped in the end zone and struck that familiar stiff-armed Heisman Trophy pose. It drew a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration, but come December, that yellow flag could turn into much more -- like a bronze trophy.

"The attention he receives for that will be off the charts," LSU associate sports information director Bill Martin told the Shreveport Times. "We've had a 'Peterson for Heisman' promotional plan in the works since the spring. We've just been waiting to really start it."

Peterson faces the longest of odds (something Ndamukong Suh knows a little about), but what he has, and what arguably no defensive player has had since Charles Woodson broke through the glass ceiling 13 years ago, is a singular moment to burn into voters' minds before the start of October.

LSU may not have begun its Peterson Heisman campaign, but for all intents and purposes, it's officially underway.

Before the Watchman unveils this week's top 10 Heisman candidates, here's a look back at the rankings after Week 3.

1. Denard Robinson, Michigan QB, Soph.

Last Week: 4-of-4 passing for 60 yards; five rushes for 129 yards and two TDs in 65-21 win over Bowling Green

Season: 57-of-80 passing for 731 yards, four TDs and one INT; 79 rushes for 688 yards and six TDs

The knee, according to Michigan's staff is fine. In fact, Robinson could have returned if needed, but it was clear he wasn't. Shoelace was spectacular in a little more than nine minutes of work, running for 100-plus yards again to keep his national rushing lead. But the injury -- minor or not -- was a concern for a player who has taken a pounding and enormous workload just four weeks into the season.

Next Up: Saturday at Indiana

2. Kellen Moore, Boise State QB, Jr.

Last Week: 19-of-27 passing for 288 yards and three TDs; two rushes for minus-1 yard in 37-24 win over Oregon State

Season: 62-of-95 for 873 yards, eight TDs and one INT; six rushes for minus-21 yards

This was Moore at his very best. With Oregon State's Brandon Hardin coming untouched off the edge, Moore sidestepped the rusher and hit Austin Pettis with a 25-yard pass before lofting a pass to Titus Young for a touchdown. Moore put on a show in what was billed as the biggest sporting event in Idaho history. Now comes the hard part: keeping voters' interest with the BCS portion of the schedule over.

Next Up: Saturday at New Mexico State

3. Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State QB, Jr.

Last Week: 20-of-26 passing for four TDs; seven rushes for 104 yards and one TD; one reception for 20 yards and one TD in 73-20 win over Eastern Michigan

Season: 71-of-107 passing for 939 yards, 10 TDs and two INTs; 43 rushes for 269 yards and three TDs; one reception for 20 yards and one TD

Pryor did everything but the laundry. He accounted for six touchdowns, becoming the third player in OSU history to throw for a TD, run for a TD and catch a TD pass in a game, all while leading the Buckeyes to their largest point total since 1950. Four weeks into the season, it looks like Jim Tressel has loosened the leash on his quarterback as Pryor's averages 26.8 passes per game after topping 26 attempts four times in 2009.

Next Up: Saturday at Illinois

4. Mark Ingram, Alabama RB, Jr.

Last Week: 24 rushes for 157 yards and two TDs; two receptions for 27 yards in 24-20 win over Arkansas

Season: 33 rushes for 308 yards and four TDs; two receptions for 27 yards

It's the Watchman's dilemma: Having missed two games, how high can Ingram move up? He's averaging 9.3 yards per carry in two weeks of work and he's arguably the reason the Crimson Tide dodged an upset in Fayetteville, so he's making a strong case. But another national title seems more obtainable than equaling Archie Griffin's two trophies, though you'll find no argument here that Ingram is proving he's still the best running back in the country.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Florida

5. Cameron Newton, Auburn QB, Jr.

Last Week: 16-of-21 passing for 158 yards and two TDs; 25 rushes for 176 yards and three TDs in 35-27 win over South Carolina

Season: 43-of-68 passing for 683 yards, nine TDs and three INTs; 75 rushes for 485 yards and five TDs; one reception for 22 yards

Newton simply took over against the Gamecocks, but like Michigan with Shoelace you have to wonder if the Tigers are riding Newton too much? Of Auburn's 131 points, Newton has been responsible for 84 of them and he leads the SEC in rushing with 75 carries, trailing only Robinson and Georgia Tech's Josh Nesbitt for most by a passer. He's going to need more help from his running backs to keep him upright and in the race.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Louisiana-Monroe

 
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