Last week saw the Atlantic Coast Conference’s top Heisman Trophy candidates go head-to-head in a game that lived up to its hype. In the end, Clemson and quarterback Deshaun Watson pulled out a 42-36 victory over Louisville and its star QB, Lamar Jackson.
But that was then.
Week 6 of the college football season brings with it new challenges for the ACC’s Heisman hopefuls: Watson, Jackson, North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, Miami (Fla.) quarterback Brad Kaaya, and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. Here’s a look at what’s in store this weekend.
Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Watson stepped up his game against Louisville as he threw for five touchdowns to help lead the unbeaten Tigers. But he also tossed three interceptions, giving him seven on the season (he’s also thrown for 14 touchdowns).
Clemson figures to have an easier test this Saturday when it travels to Boston College. Moreover, some experts have picked the Tigers – along with Alabama and Ohio State – as a team most likely to finish the regular season undefeated. For Watson, staying in the Heisman race basically means staying on course.
Lamar Jackson, Louisville
Jackson struggled early on the road against a very good Clemson defense, but led a Louisville offense that piled up 363 yards in the second half. The Cardinals’ sophomore is averaging 463 yards of total offense, but couldn’t capitalize on Lousville’s final drive against Clemson.
Louisville returns home to play Duke this Saturday and there’s nothing to suggest that Jackson won’t continue to put up big numbers.
Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
Don’t look now, but UNC’s Mitch Trubisky has worked his way into the Heisman conversation. Trubisky has the best TD to interception ratio in the country (13 TDs, no picks) and has thrown 241 consecutive passes without an interception. He also leads the nation in completion percentage.
Trubisky and the Tar Heels face Virginia Tech on Saturday, giving him another chance to update his Heisman credentials against a solid opponent.
Brad Kaaya, Miami (Fla.)
Kaaya has thrown his hat in the Heisman ring while leading Miami to an unbeaten start through four games. But his candidacy will be on the line Saturday when the Hurricanes host arch-rival Florida State.
Miami is on a six-game losing streak against the Seminoles but Kaaya – who is on pace to break every passing record at a school that’s produced more than its fair share of quality quarterbacks – could help end the drought while polishing his Heisman creds.
Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Cook has become just as much of a threat in the Seminoles’ passing game as he is in their running game. The FSU junior has surpassed 100 receiving yards in a game twice this season, and his yards-after-catch numbers are impressive. But Florida State, which is 0-2 in the ACC and travels to Miami on Saturday, can’t afford any more stumbles for Cook to make his Heisman case.