The first month of the college football season has passed and we now have a better picture of the Heisman Trophy race. There is a clear runaway that resides in Louisville, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any other players deserving of a mention in the conversation. Here are a few ACC players still in the race.
Louisville Quarterback Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson TDs in the 1st half:
Passing – ????
Rushing – ?
No. 3 Louisville up 35-7 vs. Marshall pic.twitter.com/hdxlFUrfKO
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 25, 2016
Lamar Jackson scored seven touchdowns against Marshall last week and now has 25 total touchdowns in four games this season. If Lamar Jackson were a football team, he would rank second in total touchdowns in the country. The only team to score more touchdowns than Lamar Jackson is South Florida. To put Jackson’s historic start into perspective, his 25 touchdowns already surpass the total touchdowns of 16 Heisman winners. 16! Jackson has notably surpassed last year’s Heisman winner Derrick Henry (23) along with Marcus Allen (23), Tony Dorsett (23), O.J. Simpson (23), plus he’s currently tied with Eddie George’s 1995 total of 25.
Jackson will have his eyes set on the all-time record, held by Sam Bradford and Marcus Mariota with 53 total touchdowns. Some other notable touchdown totals for past winners: Tim Tebow (51), Cam Newton (49), Robert Griffin III (45), Johnny Manziel (43), Jameis Winston (42), and Barry Sanders (39).
Jackson will now face one of the best defenses in the country, as the Cardinals travel to Death Valley to take on the #5 Clemson Tigers. This could be the best game of the entire season, with the Cardinals owning the number top-ranked offense in the country, averaging 63.5 points per game, going up against the Tigers’ number one ranked defense, which has allowed 11 points per game this season.
North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky
ACC leaders in adjusted completion %
Ryan Finley, NCST, 82.7%
Mitch Trubisky, UNC, 79.2%
Jerod Evans, VT, 75.2%
Brad Kaaya, MIA, 74.0%
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) September 28, 2016
After back-to-back monster games, Tar Heels junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky has put himself in the Heisman conversation. In the last two games against James Madison and Pittsburgh, Trubisky has thrown for 885 yards, eight touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Trubisky led the Tar Heels on a 17-play, 63-yard game-winning drive, which ended on a touchdown pass with two seconds remaining to defeat Pittsburgh. Trubisky accomplished something only one other Power 5 quarterback has done: converting more fourth down throws in the fourth quarter of a one-possession game in an entire career.
Obviously a huge part of Lamar Jackson’s game is the threat he poses with his legs. However, when you compare Trubisky to Jackson when it comes to strictly passing statistics, the two are very similar. Here are each quarterback’s passing stats over the past three games:
Trubisky: 80.4 completion percentage, 1,150 yards, 10 touchdowns, 11.86 yards per attempt, 20 plays of 20+, and 92.2 QB rating
Jackson: 55.3 completion percentage, 1,044 yards, six touchdowns, 10.14 yards per attempt, 17 plays of 20+, and 93 QB rating
Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson
Most games with 200 pass/100 rush yards over last 2 seasons, per @ESPNStatsInfo:
Lamar Jackson 5
Deshaun Watson 4
DeShone Kizer/Greg Ward 2
— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) September 29, 2016
Watson has consistently produced this season and threw for a season high 304 yards last week against Georgia Tech. Watson may not have numbers that jump off the page like Jackson and Trubisky, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t having a fantastic season. He has 996 passing yards, nine touchdowns, 60% completion percentage, and a QB rating of 130.2. Watson’s name can soar up Heisman watch lists if he outplays Lamar Jackson in a win against Louisville this weekend.
Florida State Running Back Dalvin Cook: Cook finally broke the 100-yard rushing threshold this season, exploding for 267 yards against South Florida. Cook has 675 total yards and four touchdowns this season.
Miami Quarterback Brad Kaaya: Kaaya has recorded 694 yards and seven touchdowns for Miami this season. The Hurricanes had a bye last week and will travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech in their ACC opener.