Heisman hopefuls: Week 12
A week before championships and rivalries are played, the nation's top players continue to jostle for position to be considered for the Heisman Trophy. The field for the finalists is nearly set, but there is still plenty of time for these productive ballers to create separation from the rest of the field or make up some ground. All of these players helped their teams to wins with big numbers this past weekend, and being part of a successful team could be the difference in where they finish in the race for the most sought-after trophy in the sport.
Here are the five players who proved in their latest games that they were worthy of the Heisman.
Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State Buckeyes
Talk about a close call. The Ohio State Buckeyes escaped Annapolis with a hotly contested overtime win over Maryland, powered by the arms and legs of Dwayne Haskins.
The sophomore quarterback picked the Terps apart with his passing, finishing with 405 yards and three touchdowns. That’s supposed to happen. What wasn’t expected was Haskins finishing with 15 rushes for 59 yards and a season-high three touchdowns.
Ohio State’s golden arm now has 3,685 yards, 36 passing scores and seven interceptions heading into "The Game" with Michigan, and his team is still in contention for the Big Ten title and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma Sooners
Kansas might have hired Les Miles to save its program on Sunday. But it didn't matter much on Saturday when the Jayhawks were thrashed by Kyler Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners.
The dual-threat junior had his way with Kansas all night, carving up the Jayhawks to the tune of 272 pass yards and two pass scores. He also showed off his wheels on a 75-yard touchdown run, finishing the game with 99 rushing yards and three scores. Murray is firing on all cylinders and will look to continue his hot streak against West Virginia in the Big 12 Championship game.
Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama Crimson Tide
Different week, same story for Tua Tagovailoa — that’s a good thing for the Alabama Crimson Tide. The highly touted junior pass thrower continued his assault on the record books, surpassing AJ McCarron for the most passing touchdowns in a single season. After a slow start in the first half against The Citadel, Tagovailoa finished the game with three touchdowns through the air and one on the ground.
The Crimson Tide have Auburn and Georgia next on the schedule. Tagovailoa has 31 touchdowns against two interceptions and if he can survive those two games with the production he has kept up for the season, he would be a shoo-in to win the Heisman.
McKenzie Milton, UCF Knights
Twenty-three and counting — the UCF Knights are on the victory march again with McKenzie Milton leading the way.
The Hawaii native had himself another big game, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing score to put the No. 19 Cincinnati Bearcats away, 38-13, on national television. The Knights find themselves undefeated heading into a matchup against in-state rival South Florida, and Milton could build up his country-wide Q-Rating if he continues to have games like this.
Gardner Minshew, Washington State Cougars
Minshew Mania continues to wow, and Washington State continues to win. The East Carolina grad transfer has been on fire all season, but he went Super Saiyan on Saturday against Arizona, flaming the Wildcats for seven touchdowns and 473 passing yards. In the last two games, he has had 10 total touchdowns to put the Cougars in perfect position heading into the twilight of the season.
Washington State has the Apple Cup next on the docket. The Cougars have been less than successful against Washington in recent years, but with Minshew playing at the level he is now, the team might become rival victors, Pac-12 Champions and playoff participants in the coming weeks.