At this juncture of the season, we're starting to see the Heisman Trophy contenders emerge with some spectacular early performances.
Penn State junior running back Saquon Barkley stands head and shoulders above everyone else right now. Through five games, he's averaging almost seven yards per carry, has accumulated 574 rushing yards, is averaging over 14 yards per reception with 27 catches for 386 yards, and in last week's win over Indiana, he took the opening kickoff 98 yards to the house along with throwing a fourth quarter touchdown pass.
Penn State's Saquon Barkley takes the opening kickoff back 98 yards for a score against Indiana.
In Barkley’s first two seasons, he racked up 2,572 rushing yards, 563 receiving yards and 30 total touchdowns. He cemented himself as the Heisman front-runner with his outstanding game against Iowa on September 23rd in a tough 21-19 victory. Barkley ran over, around and through the Hawkeyes defense to the tune of 211 yards on 28 carries and caught 12 passes for an additional 94 yards.
His 358 all-purpose yards broke Curt Warner’s 36-year-old program record, and with the undefeated Nittany Lions ranked No.4, Barkley has proven to be the college game's next great running back as he takes over that mantle from Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette.
Next up on the Heisman totem pole is Oklahoma's phenomenal quarterback Baker Mayfield. The national spotlight will shine all over him in the upcoming Red River Rivalry against Texas next weekend on October 14th, but the senior from Austin, Texas is compiling a resume that is seriously making a case for him being one of the best college quarterbacks in the history of the game.
Mayfield has completed 75.2 percent of his throws, is averaging 13.2 yards per attempt and has 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions thus far for the No.3 Sooners. Throughout his career, he's compiled 11,309 passing yards and 101 touchdowns and through four games for the undefeated Sooners, he's thrown for 1,329.
Baker Mayfield threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns as Oklahoma pulled ahead in the second half to knock off Ohio State 31-16 on Saturday night to give first-year head coach Lincoln Riley an early signature victory.
His opening game work against UTEP, completing 19 of his 20 attempts for 329 yards and three TD's, was spectacular. But the biz he gave Ohio State in Oklahoma's 31-16 beatdown of the Buckeyes was downright vicious, going 27-of-35 for 386 yards and three scores.
With the returning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson playing for a Louisville team that's already suffered two losses, the odds are in favor of a new winner this year.
And while Barkley and Mayfield are the favorites right now, don't sleep on Stanford running back Bryce Love, who has exploded onto the national radar with a string of scintillating performances.
Love smoked Rice to the tune of 180 yards rushing on only 13 attempts to open the year and he hasn't slowed down since. He ran the ball 17 times against USC for 160 yards, averaged a ridiculous 14.2 yards per carry while piling up 184 yards and two touchdowns against San Diego State, and followed that up with a monster showing against UCLA where he ran the ball 30 times for 263 yards.
Watch as Stanford football's Bryce Love eclipsed the 1,000 rushing yard plateau for the season against Arizona State. Love achieved the feat in the third quarter of Stanford's fifth game of the season, becoming the fastest player in Stanford history to reach the milestone (Christian McCaffrey, eight games).
But last week against Arizona State, he broke Stanford's single-game school record for rushing yards with an astounding 301 in the Cardinal’s 34-24 win. His five-game stretch to open the year has been utterly bananas with 1,088 rushing yards. That's the fourth-most all time in FBS history through five games. The college game hasn't seen anything like it since Northern Illinois’ Garrett Wolfe ran for 1,181 over ten years ago in 2006.
He's averaging a ridiculous 11.1 yards per carry and in Stanford's entire football playing history, they've only had a running back surpass 250 yards in a game once. Love has done it twice this year alone. The last time a Pac-12 runner got busy like this, USC's Reggie Bush was out there making people believe that their eyes had the capacity to lie!
Uploaded by Stanford Athletics on 2017-10-04.
Love is running through defenses like Montezuma's Revenge tears up the spring break crowd in Cancun! The cat is an open-field wonder, averaging an unbelievable 51.7 yards per carry on his eight touchdown runs. Fitty-One-Point-Seven!!!!
Only one of his eight TD scampers has gone for less than 43 yards. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. If he continues to pile up those video-game type numbers, and if Jackson, Barkley and Mayfield continue to work their magic, we should be in store for one of the more exciting Heisman Trophy races in years.