Heisman Watch: Wilson poised to follow in Cam Newton's footsteps
Russell Wilson may follow Cam Newton and win the Heisman trophy as a transfer
Andrew Luck leads the Heisman pack with his first 300-yard game of the year
After failing to reach 100 receiving yards, Justin Blackmon slides down the ranks
Like Cam Newton before him, Russell Wilson has clearly heeded the advice of Too $hort, who once told us to "get in where you fit in."
One year after Newton transferred to Auburn and won the Heisman Trophy in his first season, Wilson is positioning himself for a similar run at Wisconsin.
He was a star at North Carolina State, a former ACC Rookie of the Year and the conference's leader in total offense last season, but he seemed to fly under the radar nationally. But with the Badgers, Wilson has taken his skills to a new level and thrust himself into the Heisman race. He ranks second in the nation in passing efficiency (213.4), completing 75.8 percent of his passes; Wilson's highs with the Wolfpack were a 127.5 rating and a 59.3 completion percentage.
It's why he could join Newton as back-to-back transfers to win, though to find a case more similar to Wilson's, you have to go all the way back to Doc Blanchard (1945). Newton, like O.J. Simpson (1968) and Mike Rozier (1983) before him, had all spent time at a junior college before landing at the school where they won, while Blanchard had gone directly from North Carolina to Army.
Certainly, Wilson has benefited from an increase in the level of talent around him, especially in the running game -- the Badgers average 238.3 yards per game on the ground; N.C. State never rushed for more than 123.3 yards per game in Wilson's three seasons -- but it's Wilson and the dynamic ability he brings that is key to Wisconsin's national title aspirations and it's what makes him a more viable candidate than the team's top rusher Montee Ball.
Wilson's debut is only part of the shake up in the Watch as South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore rises and Nebraska's Taylor Martinez falls out. As a refresher, here's how things stacked up after Week 2.
Last week: 20-of-31 passing for 325 yards and two TDs; three rushes for 36 yards in 37-10 win over Arizona.
Season: 57-of-85 passing for 786 yards, eight TDs and one INT; five rushes for 11 yards and one TD.
Not only did he get the better of Arizona's Nick Foles (239 yards and one TD) in one of the weekend's most anticipated QB duels, but Luck also showed he can deal with some adversity on the road as his two favorite targets, tight end Coby Fleener and receiver Chris Owusu, left with injuries. The end result was his first 300-yard game of the season, and the fifth of his career, as he helped the Cardinal to extend what is now the nation's longest active winning streak to 11 games.
Next up: Saturday, Oct. 1 vs. UCLA
Last week: 37 rushes for 246 yards and three TDs; four receptions for 25 yards in 24-21 win over Navy.
Season: 87 rushes for 534 yards and seven TDs; nine receptions for 66 yards.
The Gamecock's workhorse continues his climb up the Watchman's list. Now the national leader in yardage and carries, Lattimore played two halves that standing on their own would have been impressive. He ran for 118 yards and two scores on 13 carries in the first two quarters, then followed it up with 24 carries for 129 yards and a TD in the second in posting a career-best 246 yards. You'll find concern here about the heavy workload Lattimore is getting this early in the season; the 37 carries were the third time he's had at least that many touches in a game.
Next up: Saturday vs. Vanderbilt
Last week: 32-of-42 passing for 455 yards, five TDs and one INT; two rushes for two yards in 40-15 win over Toledo.
Season: 60-of-76 passing for 716 yards, eight TDs and two INTs; two rushes for two yards.
This was Moore at his surgical best. In the first half alone, he shredded the Rockets for 298 yards and three TDs on 19-of-23 passes for a QB rating of 234.4. He finished with a career-high 32 completions, his fourth career five-touchdown game and he went over 400 yards for the first time in seven games. Moore could have a similarly gaudy statistical day this week. Tulsa had its fill of elite QBs, allowing 375 yards and a score vs. Oklahoma's Landry Jones and 369 yards, while Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden registered 369 yards and three TDs.
Next up: Saturday vs. Tulsa
Last week: 20-of-22 passing for 265 yards and three TDs; eight rushes for 78 yards in 48-0 win over Stephen F. Austin.
Season: 41-of-49 passing for 624 yards and eight TDs; 18 rushes for 116 yards; one reception for 15 yards.
The only thing that could stop Griffin was Mother Nature as he continued his blazing start to the season. He had completed a staggering 90.9 percent of his passes (20 of 22) in leading the Bears to scores on their first five drives and eight of the nine that he played in before the game was stopped in the third quarter due to lightning. RGIII leads all FBS passers with a 244.5 rating, and most amazingly, he has as many incompleted passes (8) as TDs throws.
Next up: Saturday vs. Rice
Last week: 18-of-27 passing for 199 yards, one TD and two INTs; three rushes for minus-10 yards and a TD.
Season: 53-of-74 passing for 574 yards, two TDs and two INTs; four rushes for minus-8 yards and a TD.
Jones kept the Sooners' BCS title aspirations intact and he stepped up when it mattered, leading an eight-play, 83-yard drive ending with a 37-yard strike to Kenny Stills for the go-ahead TD. He also passed Sam Bradford as Oklahoma's alltime leading passer and jumped to eighth on the Big 12 list as he moved ahead of Major Applewhite with 8,490 yards. But Jones had a chance to take the lead in the Watchman's eyes with a big performance and didn't come through as he was held under 200 yards for the first time in 26 games.
Next up: Saturday vs. Missouri
Last week: 11 rushes for 167 yards and three TDs; one reception for one yard in 41-0 win over North Texas.
Season: 50 rushes for 315 yards and eight TDs; six receptions for 36 yards; one kick return for 19 yards.
Richardson torched the Mean Green for runs of 71 and 58 yards, averaging 15.1 yards per carry en route to a career-best rushing total and a tie for the national lead with eight rushing touchdowns. By comparison, it took Mark Ingram seven games to get that many scores in his Heisman-winning season. It's a torrid pace and if Richardson could maintain it if Alabama played a 14-game season (SEC title game and a bowl), he would only then tie 1988 Heisman recipient Barry Sanders for the FBS record of 37.
Next up: Saturday vs. No. 14 Arkansas
Last week: 23-of-32 passing for 347 yards, three TDs and one INT; five rushes for 37 yards in 49-7 win over Northern Illinois.
Season: 50-of-66 passing for 791 yards, eight TDs and one INT; 11 rushes for 110 yards and one TD.
Wisconsin is a run-oriented team, and that doesn't figure to change, but Wilson is adding a rarely seen wrinkle to the offense. His 347 passing yards made him just the ninth Badger to throw for 300 yards -- the first since 2008 -- and his 384 total yards were the fifth highest in school history. He'll get one more chance to fine tune things before Wisconsin opens up Big Ten play against Nebraska as it hosts South Dakota, which ranks 90th out of 121 FCS schools in passing offense (242.6 ypg).
Next up: Saturday vs. South Dakota
Last week: Seven-of-18 passing for 95 yards, two TDs and one INT; 26 rushes for 198 yards and one TD in 31-3 win over Eastern Michigan.
Season: 27-of-55 passing for 531 yards, six TDs and four INTs; 50 rushes for 352 yards and two TDs.
Wait, Rich Rodriguez is gone, isn't he? One week after throwing for 338 yards, Shoelace looked every bit the QB that was at the controls of RichRod's spread as he completed just seven passes, while running 26 times, one for a 52-yard gain. It was the most attempts he has had since running 27 times against Penn State on Oct. 30, and should be cause for concern given the number of times he was banged-up last season. While he seemed to make strides in the passing game vs. Notre Dame, this was a step in the wrong direction.
Next up: Saturday vs. San Diego State
Last week: Seven receptions for 57 yards and one TD; one rush for zero yards in 59-33 win over Tulsa.
Season: 27 receptions for 329 yards and three TDs; two rushes for six yards.
The streak is over. The question is, should we be concerned about a Watchman jinx? For the first time in 15 games, the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner failed to reach 100 receiving yards, this coming after burning the Golden Hurricane for 174 yards and three TDs on six receptions last season. His candidacy took a major hit, but the good news is he doesn't have to wait long for a chance to revive it as the Cowboys travel to Kyle Field this weekend in a top-10 clash with Texas A&M.
Next up: Saturday at No. 8 Texas A&M
Last week: 25-of-40 passing for 351 yards, three TDs and two INTs; five rushes for minus-10 yards in 35-34 win over Louisiana Tech.
Season: 81-of-11 passing for 1,119 yards, 10 TDs and two INTs; 18 rushes for 29 yards.
Trailing 34-7, Keenum directed the Cougars to their biggest comeback win ever as they scored 28 unanswered points. The sixth-year senior also moved past Tim Rattay and into a tie with Timmy Chang for fourth on the alltime TD pass list with 117; he is now four behind Ty Detmer for third. Keenum's only blemish was throwing his first interception of the year, which ended a streak of 90 attempts without one to open the season.
Next up: Saturday vs. Georgia State
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