2012 Heisman Horse Race, Week 2: Welcome Back, Denard

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 08: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines runs for a third quarter touchdown while playing the Air Force Falcons at Michigan Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

In Week 2 of the Heisman Horse Race, the big points go to Denard Robinson, Jarvis Jones and Johnathan Franklin.

I guess it's to be expected early on, really. In the second week of the Heisman Horse Race, the top 10 players were completely different from Week 1's top 10. Some of Week 1's stars still played well -- Marqise Lee, Braxton Miller, Taylor Martinez, et cetera -- but none were worthy of a repeat appearance up top. We'll see who truly begins to separate himself from the pack as the season progresses.

Week 2 saw an absurd number of similar performances from quarterbacks throughout the country (most taking advantage of low-tier competition), but in the end the top 10 was still pretty easy.

1. Denard Robinson, Michigan

Welcome back to real life, Denard. A week after having to face the suffocating Alabama defense, Robinson welcomed the sight of a mortal defense (Air Force's) by putting up a truly Denard-like stat line: 14-for-25 passing for 208 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and 8.3 yards per pass attempt, mixed with 218 pre-sack rushing yards and two more touchdowns. He was Michigan's offense, and while Air Force's offense is not exactly all-world, a 200-200 game still gets you to the top of this list.

2. Jarvis Jones, Georgia

Jones, meanwhile, was probably the most important player of the week. With Georgia nursing a seven-point lead over Missouri in the fourth quarter, Jones single-handedly forced two turnovers -- first, he intercepted a pass and returned it to the Missouri 1, then he forced a fumble that was recovered at the Missouri 5 -- worth 12.7 equivalent points. He was the priority of Missouri's offensive line all game, and he still made plays during winning time. Georgia's defense is excellent now and could turn other-worldly when all of its suspended and injured players are back and 100 percent.

3. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA

In Week 1, Franklin rushed for 214 yards, but it was against Rice, so he just missed out on top 10 inclusion. So he rushed for 217 yards against Nebraska the next week. He also caught three of three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. That's 29 touches for 276 yards in an enormous UCLA win. It feels odd not putting him No. 1 -- the top three names here were virtually even.

4. Demontre Moore, Texas A&M

Jarvis Jones wasn't the only defensive player living in the opposing backfield. Texas A&M's defense showed just enough cracks to let Florida pull off a 20-17 win, but that wasn't Damontre Moore's fault. All he did was log 8.5 tackles and sack quarterback Jeff Driskel three times. It was the most disruptive defensive performance this side of Columbia, Mo.

5. Kolton Browning, UL-Monroe

When you throw for 412 yards and three touchdowns, and when you almost rush for 100 yards as well in an enormous upset of a top 10 team, you make the top 5. Browning was wonderfully efficient against Arkansas, completing 63 percent of his passes and hitting deeper balls when needed. And then he pulled a Vince Young and victimized an over-pursuing defense for the game-winning touchdown. And then his coach hugged a cop.

6. Tyler Bray, Tennessee

A week after showing serious explosiveness against N.C. State, Tennessee got to do a little stat-padding in an easy win over Georgia State; but while anybody can simply pad stats, not just anybody can complete 18 of 20 passes for 310 yards and four touchdowns. Bray completed all eight passes to Justin Hunter for 146 yards and three touchdowns (Hunter narrowly missed out on the top 10 himself), and still completed 10 of 12 for 164 to everybody else. It was an almost perfect performance. (Meanwhile, TCU's Casey Pachall basically did have a perfect performance against Grambling -- 9-for-9 for 201 yards and three touchdowns -- but I just couldn't make myself put him in the top 10 with only nine passes. He'll get plenty more opportunities to impress in the coming weeks.)

7. Kenjon Barner, Oregon

His quarterback was making a few mistakes, and his defense was only solid and not as good as I expected it to be; but Kenjon Barner just kept grinding out yards in a win over Fresno State. Including targets, he gained 222 yards on 39 touches (34 carries, five targets, three catches) and scored three times. He even stole the spotlight from his explosive backfield counterpart, De'Anthony Thomas, who gained 128 yards in 13 touches and scored twice.

8. Brett Hundley, UCLA

Granted, throwing is typically pretty easy when you have a running back like Johnathan Franklin running wild, but before leaving the game briefly with an injury, Hundley completed 21 of 33 passes for 305 and four touchdowns in the Bruins' 36-30 win over Nebraska. He also gained 66 yards in nine non-sack carries. He really has not looked like a redshirt freshman so far in 2012.

9. Robert Woods, USC

In two weeks, USC quarterback Matt Barkley has yet to make this list, but each of his primary receivers have now. Woods caught 10 of 11 passes for an efficient 93 yards and two touchdowns in the Trojans' win over Syracuse, but what got him into the Top 10 was a 76-yard run. His counterpart, Marqise Lee, had a similar game (11 targets, 11 catches, 66 yards; one carry for 23 yards), but Woods was a little better on Saturday.

10. Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest

Campanaro barely gets the nod over two other deserving candidates (Tennessee's Justin Hunter and Oklahoma's Damien Williams) for his importance. He caught 13 of 15 passes for 164 yards, and Wake Forest needed every one of them in a big, 28-27 win over North Carolina. Williams scored four touchdowns and rushed for 156 yards, but OU would have beaten Florida A&M regardless.

Honorable Mention:

  • Chi Chi Ariguzo, Northwestern (9.0 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss, one sack, one pass broken up versus Vanderbilt)
  • David Ash, Texas (16-for-22 passing for 221 yards, two touchdowns and 8.3 yards per pass attempt versus New Mexico; two carries for 52 yards and a touchdown)
  • Matt Barkley, USC (23-for-30 passing for 187 yards, six touchdowns, one interception and 5.3 yards per pass attempt versus Syracuse)
  • B.J. Daniels, South Florida (22-for-40 passing for 363 yards, three touchdowns and 8.7 yards per pass attempt versus Nevada; 10 carries for 60 yards)
  • Seth Doege, Texas Tech (24-for-32 passing for 319 yards, five touchdowns and 10.0 yards per pass attempt versus Texas State)
  • Cody Fajardo, Nevada (27-for-38 passing for 271 yards, one touchdown and 6.3 yards per pass attempt versus South Florida; 16 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns)
  • Justin Hunter, Tennessee (eight targets, eight catches, 146 yards, three touchdowns versus Georgia State)
  • Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas (4.0 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and one pass broken up versus New Mexico)
  • Taylor Kelly, Arizona State (18-for-24 passing for 249 yards, one touchdown and 9.8 yards per pass attempt versus Illinois)
  • Tevin King, Louisiana Tech (18 touches, 156 yards, three touchdowns versus Houston)
  • Collin Klein, Kansas State (9-for-11 passing for 210 yards, one touchdown, one interception and 17.4 yards per pass attempt versus Miami; 21 carries for 74 yards and three touchdowns)
  • Munchie Legaux, Cincinnati (205 passing yards, 129 pre-sack rushing yards versus Pittsburgh)
  • E.J. Manuel, Florida State (11-for-13 passing for 161 yards and three touchdowns versus Savannah State)
  • Zach Maynard, California (17-for-23 passing for 229 yards, one touchdown, one interception and 9.3 yards per pass attempt versus Southern Utah; five carries for 46 yards)
  • Jamal Merrell, Rutgers (9.0 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss versus Howard)
  • Braxton Miller, Ohio State (18-for-24 passing for 155 yards, one touchdown, one interception and 6.0 yards per pass attempt versus UCF; 26 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns)
  • Tristan Okpalaugo, Fresno State (7.0 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, one sack, one fumble recovery versus Oregon)
  • Casey Pachall, TCU (9-for-9 passing for 201 yards and three touchdowns versus Grambling State)
  • David Piland, Houston (53-for-77 for 580 yards, four touchdowns and 7.1 yards per pass attempt versus Louisiana Tech)
  • Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State (32 touches, 193 yards versus Arizona)
  • Ed Reynolds, Stanford (3.5 tackles, two interceptions returned for 121 yards and a touchdown, one pass broken up versus Duke)
  • Matt Scott, Arizona (28-for-41 passing for 320 yards, two touchdowns and 6.5 yards per pass attempt versus Oklahoma State; 15 carries for 84 yards)
  • De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon (13 touches, 128 yards, two touchdowns versus Fresno State)
  • Dylan Thompson, South Carolina (21-for-37 passing for 330 yards, three touchdowns and 7.8 yards per pass attempt versus East Carolina; six carries for 34 yards)
  • Damien Williams, Oklahoma (10 carries, 156 yards, four touchdowns versus Florida A&M)

2012 Heisman Horse Race Point Totals (Through 2 Weeks)
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia (10 points)
1. Denard Robinson, Michigan (10)
3. LeVeon Bell, Michigan State (9)
3. Jarvis Jones, Georgia (9)
5. Marqise Lee, USC (8)
5. Johnathan Franklin, UCLA (8)
7. Braxton Miller, Ohio State (7)
7. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M (7)
9. De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon (6)
9. Kolton Browning, UL Monroe (6)
11. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska (5)
11. Tyler Bray, Tennessee (5)
13. Bjoern Werner, Florida State (4)
13. Kenjon Barner, Oregon (4)
15. Cordarelle Patterson, Tennessee (3)
15. Brett Hundley, UCLA (3)
17. Andre Ellington, Clemson (2)
17. Robert Woods, USC (2)
19. Dee Milliner, Alabama (1)
19. Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest (1)

If somebody deserving is blatantly absent from this list, it is quite possibly because of human error. I am not above making changes, so let me know who's missing.

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