Each week, Advocate sportswriter Scott Rabalais, a Heisman Trophy voter since 1997, breaks down the top candidates for college football’s most prestigious award.
1. DAK PRESCOTT, QB, MISSISSIPPI STATE
Prescott led the Bulldogs to yet another win Saturday, 45-31 over Kentucky, with another strong performance: 216 yards passing, 88 yards rushing, three total touchdowns. But the game was an indicator of what a tough road to the College Football Playoff — and the Heisman Trophy — the journey can be. Prescott was battered by the Wildcats, leaving the game wearing a walking boot after being sacked three times and intercepted once. Prescott told ESPN there was “nothing to worry about” regarding his foot, but the Bulldogs go nowhere without him. For the season, Prescott has thrown for 1,694 yards, rushed for 664 and has 25 total touchdowns.
2. MARCUS MARIOTA, QB, OREGON
The Ducks had to survive a wild 59-41 win over California, but all the better for Mariota’s stats. He was 18 of 30 passing for 326 yards with 5 TDs and 1 INT. That interception was his very first of 2014 against 24 passing TDs (he’s rushed for five more). As long as the Ducks remain a prime CFP contender, Mariota will be near the top of the Heisman list.
3. TREVONE BOYKIN, QB, TCU
Video game quarterbacks are envious of the numbers Boykin is putting up. He and TCU startled the nation with their 82-27 win over Texas Tech in which Boykin threw for 433 yards and seven TDs. For the season he’s 168 of 286 for 2,306 yards wth 21 TDs and just 3 INTs.
4. AMEER ABULLAH, RB, NEBRASKA
Abdullah has the “Heisman moment” — his pinballing TD run to beat McNeese State — and the numbers to be a top candidate. Abdullah leads the nation with — 1,249 yards rushing and 17 TDs after running for 225 yards and 3 TDs on 19 carries Saturday in a 42-24 win over Rutgers.
5. MELVIN GORDON, RB, WISCONSIN
Gordon played just a half in a 52-7 rout of Maryland, but as LSU fans know one half of Gordon can be plenty. He ran for 122 yards and 3 TDs on 22 carries and has 1,168 yards and 16 TDs total.
ON THE RADAR
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami (Fla.)
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State