LaMichael James' Heisman hopes falter in wake of elbow injury
LaMichael James' Heisman hopes could fizzle if he doesn't take the field Saturday
Arguably no one is more vital to team success than Andrew Luck is to Stanford
Boise State's Kellen Moore rebounds after shaky performance against Nevada
LaMichael James' Heisman campaign may be ending just as it appeared he ran his way back into the race.
Statistically speaking, the Oregon junior has bounced back after his 54-yard game against LSU in the opener. He has run for over 200 yards in each of the last three outings, including 239 in Week 5 against Cal, and is averaging an FBS-best 170.4 yards per game.
But those numbers alone, as grandiose as they are, hadn't been enough to help James reclaim his preseason buzz. What he has needed is to deliver in the spotlight.
The Nov. 12 duel with No. 7 Stanford and Andrew Luck was always the key date in getting James back in voters' minds, but another opportunity has presented itself in Saturday's matchup with No. 18 Arizona State. But will James even be on the field?
He is listed as questionable after dislocating his right elbow against the Bears. Despite James' insistence that "I'm a warrior and I'm not going to quit on my team," it would be stunning to think he doesn't miss at least some time, and that might be the final blow to a campaign that already had little margin for error.
In the modern era, only two Heisman winners have missed a game, Charles White (1979) and Charlie Ward (1993). Third behind Cam Newton and Luck in 2010, James is in danger of becoming the third player since 1976 to finish in the top three in voting one year and fail to follow it up, joining Marshall Faulk in 1993, Rex Grossman in 2002 and Mark Ingram last season.
As far as James' place on this list is concerned, the Heisman Watch has officially become the Health Watch.
Before I unveil, this week's top 10, which includes a push from Oklahoma's Landry Jones after his dissection of Texas' secondary, here's a look at the rankings after Week 5. Also, get your pick in for the Halfway Heisman, which the Watchman will award next week. You can vote via e-mail or Twitter.
Last week: 26-of-33 passing for 370 yards, three TDs and one INT; one rush for two yards in 48-7 win over Colorado.
Season (five games): 106 of 145 passing for 1,383 yards, 14 TDs and two INTs; 12 rushes for 60 yards and one TD; one reception for 15 yards.
John Elway was on present. But the main attraction at Palo Alto was again Luck, who threw for the second-most yardage of his career. His most impressive moment came on third-and-26, when he rolled to his left and threw across his body for a 27-yard gain to keep the scoring drive alive. He may not lead the nation in passing yards or TDs, but arguably no single player is more important to his team's success than Luck, who pushed the Cardinal to their 13th straight win, equaling a school record set between 1939-41.
Next up: Saturday at Washington State
Last week: Idle.
Season (five games): 83-of-111 passing for 1,391 yards, 13 TDs and one INT; 22 rushes for 140 yards and two TDs.
Wilson got the week off, but he did take over as the FBS leader in pass efficiency with a 216.9 rating, 4.75 ahead of the previous No. 1, Baylor's Robert Griffin III. The senior will take on 1-4 Indiana and its 97th-ranked defense this week at Camp Randall, and if the first five games are any indication, we can expect plenty of fireworks early on. Wilson has thrown for 1,042 yards, 10 touchdowns and no interceptions over the first two quarters of play.
Next up: Saturday vs. Indiana
Last week: 31-of-50 passing for 367 yards and three TDs in 55-17 win over No. 11 Texas.
Season (five games): 142-of-205 passing for 1,814 yards, 13 TDs and five INTs; 10 rushes for two yards and two TDs.
Will Oklahoma's sports information department look any further when compiling clips for Jones' Heisman highlight package? Heading into the Red River Rivalry game, Texas had allowed all of two passing TDs, but Jones had three by halftime to go along with 305 yards on 23-of-35 passing. It was his fourth 350-plus yards game of the season and the third in as many games. Jones now boasts two wins over top-11 teams, more than any other QB on this list. Nobody did more to help their cause in Week 6.
Next up: Saturday at Kansas
Last week: 22-of-30 passing for 212 yards and one TD; 24 rushes for 107 yards and one TD in 49-26 win over Iowa State.
Season (five games): 93-of-113 passing for 1,308 yards, 18 TDs and one INT; 36 rushes for 173 yards and one TD; one reception for 15 yards; one punt for 39 yards.
He threw for a season-low 212 yards, but RG3 proved he's still capable of taking over a game with his legs. The former track star ran a career-high 24 times in going over 100 yards for the first time since Oct. 16, 2010, ending a 10-game drought. He faces what figured to be the first of tough back-to-back road games this vs. No. 21 Texas A&M, though the matchup seems more troubling for the Aggies now. In the past three games, A&M was torched by Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden (438 yards), Arkansas' Tyler Wilson (510 yards) and Texas Tech's Seth Doege (391 yards).
Next up: Saturday at No. 21 Texas A&M
Last week: 19 rushes for 107 yards and one TD; two receptions for one yard in 34-0 win over Vanderbilt.
Season (six games): 96 rushes for 622 yards and 10 TDs; 11 receptions for 148 yards and one TD; two kick returns for 43 yards.
He might have been overshadowed by A.J. McCarron as the Crimson Tide QB broke out with a four-TD day, but Richardson continued to be impressively consistent. He posted his fifth consecutive game with at least 100 yards, tying him with Miami's Lamar Miller for the nation's longest streak. That run is two games longer than Richardson's predecessor Mark Ingram had in his Heisman season. The smart money is on Richardson keeping it alive through Week 7 as he faces Ole Miss, which ranks 95th against the run, giving up 193 yards per game.
Next up: Saturday at Ole Miss
Last week: 23-of-31 passing for 254 yards and three TDs in 57-5 win over Fresno State.
Season (five games): 102-of-138 passing for 1,137 yards, 14 TDs and four INTs.
One week after the shakiest performance of his Boise State career, Moore was back to his efficient self. He found a season-high 10 different receivers in posting his fourth game of the season with a completion percentage of 74.2 or higher. He also earned the 43rd win of his career, breaking a tie with David Greene and Andy Dalton for sole possession of second on the alltime list. Moore now trails only Colt McCoy, whose record of 45 he will have two more shots at equaling before the calendar turns to November.
Next up: Saturday at Colorado State
Last week: 17-of-26 passing for 337 yards, two TDs and three INTs; 25 rushes for 117 yards and two TDs in 42-24 win over Northwestern.
Season (six games): 50-of-91 passing for 793 yards, eight TDs and six INTs; 77 rushes for 603 yards and six TDs.
If ever they erect a roller coaster in Ann Arbor, they should just call it Shoelace. After throwing three first-half interceptions, Robinson passed for two TDs and ran for two more as the Wolverines rallied to stay perfect. He finished one yard behind the career-high 338 passing yards he had in Week 2 and went over 350 yards of offense for the eighth time in the past two seasons. Things figure to get a little more difficult this week as Michigan faces its first ranked opponent in No. 23 Michigan State, whose defense leads the nation, allowing a mere 173.4 yards per game.
Next up: Saturday at No. 23 Michigan State
Last week: Six tackles, one for loss and one interception; two punt returns for 12 yards in 41-11 win over No. 17 Florida
Season (five games): 41 tackles, five tackles for loss, 1½ sacks, four forced fumbles, two returned for TDs, two interceptions; 13 punt returns for 97 yards
The word is officially out on the Honey Badger. ESPN profiled the LSU star, which included Les Miles comparing Mathieu to the fearsome member of weasel family, and you can buy your own 'Honey Badger Takes What He Wants!' T-shirt. Mathieu didn't disappoint in the rout of Florida as the 5-foot-9 corner, who was covering 6-foot-3 tight end Jordan Reed, went up and pulled down his second interception of the season. Charles Woodson created seven turnovers in his Heisman-winning season; Mathieu already has six through five games.
Next up: Saturday at Tennessee
Last week: 22 rushes for 102 yards; four receptions for 14 yards in 54-3 win over Kentucky.
Season (six games): 124 rushes for 677 yards and nine TDs; 12 receptions for 139 yards and one TD.
He was kept out of the end zone for the first time this season, but Lattimore still ended a string of two games without 100 yards to stay 11 ahead of Richardson for the SEC rushing lead. That, no doubt, had something to do with a passing offense that -- under the direction of Connor Shaw -- finally kept a defense from keying on Lattimore. It's debatable if that was the best thing to happen to Lattimore this weekend. During a Friday concert at the Carolina Coliseum, rapper The Game boasted he was "gonna rock like Lattimore," going on to say, "That man Lattimore is a beast."
Next up: Saturday at Mississippi State
Last week: 30 rushes for 239 yards and one TD in 43-15 win over Cal.
Season (five games): 95 rushes for 852 yards and eight TDs; 11 receptions for 159 yards and one TD; six punt returns for 116 yards and one TD; one kick return for 21 yards.
James continued his torrid run despite his day being cut short by injury early in the fourth quarter. He ran for a 53-yard touchdown on his first carry of the game en route to becoming the first Ducks player to run for at least 200 yards in three consecutive games. He also passed Napoleon Kaufmann for fifth on the Pac-12 rushing list with 4,129 yards. The junior, who had four runs of 20 yards or more in the win over the Bears, now has an FBS-best 11 this season.
Next up: Saturday vs. No. 22 Arizona State