Cam Newton Will Win The 2010 Heisman*. Last week, I compared Cam Newton to Michael Vick in his college days. Somehow, though, I neglected to mention this: Newton should win the 2010 Heisman Trophy going away.
Newton has simply been as statistically impressive as any player has been in many years in a year with few other eye-popping candidates, and done it with the nation's eyes trained on him for at least two months. How far ahead of the field is he? Let's compare him to some of the top players in this week's Heisman Trophy Watch.
- 2,038 passing yards (10.3 yards per attempt), 21 touchdowns, six interceptions
- 1,297 rushing yards (6.3 yards per carry), 17 touchdowns
- 181.7 passing yards per game, 117.91 rushing yards per game, 3.55 touchdowns accounted for per game
- 60.0% of team's total offense
- 2,921 passing yards (10.4 yards per attempt), 28 touchdowns, five interceptions
- 292.1 passing yards per game, 2.8 touchdowns accounted for per game
- 54.8% of team's total offense
- 1,422 rushing yards (6.3 yards per carry), 17 touchdowns
- 158.0 rushing yards per game, 2.0 touchdowns accounted for per game
- 29.0% of team's total offense
- 2,746 passing yards (8.6 yards per attempt), 24 touchdowns, seven interceptions
- 445 rushing yards (9.1 yards per carry), three touchdowns
- 249.1 passing yards per game, 40.5 rushing yards per game, 2.45 touchdowns accounted for per game
- 62.2% of team's total offense
- 2,229 passing yards (9.6 yards per attempt), 16 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
- 1,538 rushing yards (6.8 yards per attempt), 14 touchdowns
- 202.6 passing yards per game, 139.8 rushing yards per game, 2.73 touchdowns accounted for per game
- 66.6% of team's total offense
Does Newton stand out in that five-person race? Absolutely. And he's played one fewer game than Luck and Robinson, his closest competitors, statistically — Moore also has two games left, and James, who was suspended for Oregon's season opener, has two as well
There is a decent chance that Newton will travel to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony with 20 passing and 20 rushing touchdowns like Tim Tebow had in 2007 — and add an undefeated record, 2,500+ passing yards, and 1,500+ rushing yards. If that happens, Newton should not just win the Heisman, but win it by one of the largest margins in the award's history.
*Of course, this is contingent on him remaining eligible.
Oklahoma State's New Triplets. One person left out of that accounting of Heisman favorites is Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State's tremendous wide receiver. He leads the nation in receiving yards with 1,560, and receiving touchdowns, with 17, and he's tied for the national lead in total touchdowns (rushing, receiving, return) with 19. He's also been just as virtually uncoverable by Big 12 defenders as he was against non-conference patsies: Blackmon averages 156.0 yards per game and 16.60 yards per catch on the season, and 156.5 yards per game and 16.47 yards per catch against the Big 12.
It's no shock that Oklahoma State has failed to score 30 points just once this season — when Blackmon was suspended after being arrested for DUI, and it should be no shock if he is named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
But focusing on Blackmon would miss how good Oklahoma State's offense has been as a whole, and how good a trio Blackmon, Brandon Weeden, and Kendall Hunter have been. Weeden's the old hand at quarterback, a 27-year-old junior and former minor league baseball player (he was drafted by the Yankees in 2002 and was part of the trade that put Kevin Brown in pinstripes) who has thrown for 3,760 yards and 30 touchdowns; Hunter's the highly-touted recruit finishing an up (1,555 yards in 2008) and down (just 186 carries combined in 2007 and 2009) college career with a stellar season, rushing for 1,461 yards through 11 games and only failing to eclipse the century mark in two games that were well in hand by halftime.
Together, those three have helped the Cowboys (552.0 yards per game) edge out Oregon's offense (542.2 yards per game), just barely, for the nation's lead in total offense per game through Week 13.
Will that lead evaporate after the Cowboys see Oklahoma this week, or after Oregon gets to aerate their decimated in-state rival, Oregon State, in the Civil War? Probably. But that offense has the Cowboys 10-1 for the first time ever, and Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, formerly the offensive guru who worked wonders with Case Keenum at Houston, has pushed his stock from smoldering to white-hot.
Mikel Leshoure's Lake Shore Drive. Last weekend's Wrigley Field novelty turned into one of the year's most spectacular showcases for one player thanks to Illinois' Mikel Leshoure. Leshoure ran for 330 yards on 33 carries, which, if you passed second grade, is 10 yards per carry; he raised his per-carry average this season from 5.2 to 5.9 with the monster day. And his 330 yards was not only his first outing of more than 200 yards, but also more yardage than he had gained on the ground than any two games combined this year.
The Still Sponsor-Free Conference USA Shootout of the Week. Southern Mississippi 59, Houston 41. A cool 100 points in a game that featured just one turnover, and a nice win for the Golden Eagles one week after three players were shot at a club. Runner-up: UCF 61, Tulane 14, in which the Knights made up for their frustrating loss to Southern Miss last week by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, going up 31-0 in the first quarter and 38-0 less than 20 minutes in.
The Also Sponsor-Free MAC Foot-Shooting of the Week. Miami of Ohio 19, Akron 14. Akron: entered the fourth quarter down just 16-14; took a sack on a third and 13 from its own 17 that led to a possession for the Redhawks beginning at the Akron 16; blocked the field goal attempt on that possession; drove the ball into Miami territory, then threw an interception; gave up a field goal that made a touchdown necessary to win; drove down to the Miami 12, then fumbled to seal its 11th loss of the season.
Akron's last chance to avoid a winless season comes this Friday, when 2-9 Buffalo travels to face the Zips on perhaps the most apt football game in Black Friday history.
The Sun Belt Agonizing Moment of the Week. Middle Tennessee State 27, Western Kentucky 26. The Hilltoppers entered the fourth quarter with a 26-13 lead, then gave up a 99-yard fumble return for a touchdown, permitted the Blue Raiders (who mustered just 208 total yards) to drive 77 yards for a go-ahead touchdown, and had a 34-yard field goal blocked.
I sort of want to see a game between Akron and Western Kentucky, but I'm not sure I want to open up the singularity the two teams meeting would no doubt prompt the universe to create.
The FCS Score of the Week. Florida A&M 38, Bethune-Cookman 27. It's called the Florida Classic, this game pitting Florida's two most prominent historically black schools, and this year produced just another entry in a series that is often nutty: the Rattlers upset the previously unbeaten Wildcats by scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half.
The Division II Or Below Score of the Week. Alfred 60, SUNY Maritime 0. The Saxons blanked the Privateers in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Fun fact: the village of Alfred, New York is home to 3,954 people and two four-year universities, Alfred University and Alfred State College.
Notable Numbers. Stats too brief for elaboration, and too good for tweets.
South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns on seven carries in the first quarter of the Gamecocks' 69-24 throttling of Troy — and his final two carries in the quarter went for a combined three yards. ... Cincinnati beat Rutgers 69-38, and the teams combined to outscore every other Big East game combined. ... Georgia State's Albert Wilson returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown against Alabama; the Panthers didn't have 97 yards either passing or rushing. ... In Washington's 24-7 win over UCLA, quarterbacks combined to complete just 16 of 46 passes, and threw four interceptions. ... John Brantley caught a five-yard touchdown pass in Florida's 48-10 win over Appalachian State; it is his career long reception by 15 yards, thanks to a reception of his own pass for a loss of 10 yards against South Carolina two weeks ago. ... Rice, previously 2-8, beat East Carolina 62-38, dashing the Pirates' faint hopes for a Conference USA championship. ... Over the past two weeks, Northern Illinois has scored 124 points. ... Despite some idiot predicting that LSU-Mississippi would set back the forward pass, Jordan Jefferson had his best game of the season in the Tigers' 43-36 victory, completing 13 of 17 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown. ... Virginia Tech has forced 12 turnovers in the last two weeks. ... Nebraska, which has the nation's seventh-ranking rushing offense, had more penalty yards than rushing yards in a 9-6 loss to Texas A&M. ... Hawai'i's Bryant Moniz threw for 560 yards in the Warriors' 41-7 rout of San Jose State, and threw just four passes in the fourth quarter.