Two pre-season Heisman favourites went head-to-head in Week 9 as Clemson traveled to Florida State, while Jabrill Peppers continues to amaze the country with his versatility. How does the Top 5 stand after Week 9?
Dalvin Cook (RB, Florida State)
It should be noted that in a loss to #3 Clemson, Dalvin Cook almost single-handedly took down the Tigers at home with a strong performance if it wasn’t for another Heisman candidate coming up clutch. Cook ran for 169 yards and 4 touchdowns, including a 70-yarder against a stout Clemson defense.
5) Donnell Pumphrey (RB, San Diego State) – WEEK 8: #4
Pumphrey continues to be the MVP for the Aztecs and although he was kept out of the end zone for the first time this season, he recorded his fourth 200-yard game this year with a 223 yard game on 32 carries. He’s had at least 100 yards in each game so far this season except for his season opener, where he only ran for 98 yards. Only. His performance helped him leapfrog three more running backs on the all-time NCAA career rushing yardage list.
4) Jabrill Peppers (S, Michigan) – WEEK 8: N/R
Peppers was all over the field in the Wolverine’s 32-23 win over Michigan State in a performance which not only puts him back in the Top 5, but closer to the Heisman contenders in front of him. On defense, he recorded seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a key sack in the 4th quarter. On offense, he ran for 24 yards and a touchdown and on special teams, he returned a botched two-point conversion for a touchdown. Peppers now has 4 touchdowns for the year, which is the same amount former Michigan defensive back Charles Woodson had in his 1997 Heisman year. Could this be a good omen for Peppers?
3) Jake Browning (QB, Washington) – WEEK 8: #3
The Huskies quarterback had a quiet game at Utah, but helped lead Washington to victory over a ranked Pac 12 rival on the road. Browning threw for 186 yards and 2 TDs. Browning now has 32 total touchdowns for the year, only six behind Lamar Jackson, but has recorded less total yards than Jackson and Deshaun Watson. Browning is still in the hunt but will need some big performances, as well as his Heisman rivals to stumble in order to have a shot.
2) Deshaun Watson (QB, Clemson) – WEEK 8: #2
Watson remains in the second spot despite Browning having recorded more touchdowns than him this season. A big reason why Watson is where he is is his clutch performances this year and that continued in Week 9 in a victory over Florida State away from home. It was a back and forth battle between Watson and pre-season Heisman favourite Dalvin Cook, where Cook had one of his best games of the year. However, Watson threw for 378 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a clutch fourth quarter touchdown throw to Jordan Leggett with about two minutes to go which put Clemson on top.
1) Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville) – WEEK 8: #1
Jackson may have produced his Heisman moment of the year on the weekend when he led a clutch fourth quarter drive, which concluded with Jackson throwing a 29-yard touchdown to Jaylen Smith with 13 seconds left to save the season against Virginia. It was Jackson’s arm that was on display as he threw for 361 yards and 4 TDs, while also adding 88 yards on the ground. The Heisman leader has thrown for over 2,500 yards this season and is nearing 1,000 yards on the ground, putting together a strong Heisman campaign in the process.