COLUMBUS, Ohio -- This is a major week in college football with a handful of games that could begin to shape the Heisman race.
Ohio State has an off-week, but it played its first game against a ranked opponent last week. After struggling in the first quarter, it bounced back to improve to 6-0, while its quarterback continued to play at a Heisman-level. Other names on this list will get there first chance to do so on Saturday.
Here are our top five Heisman Trophy candidates after Week 6:
1. Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma
Jalen Hurts came back down to earth some in his second Big 12 game. He threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns but completed less than 70 percent of his passes for the first time this season. He ran for two more touchdowns and 56 yards on 10 carries. The Big 12 doesn’t have the same level of competition that Hurts was used to in the SEC. There are fewer opportunities to get statement wins, but he’ll get his chance this week against Texas and possible Heisman candidate Sam Ehlinger.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama
Tua Tagovailoa keeps his spot in the race coming off of an off week for the same reason Hurts did after Week 4. You can’t penalize a guy because of his team’s schedule. He’ll face his first ranked opponent this season when Alabama travels to College Station to take on Texas A&M. So far this season he’s 1,718 yards and 23 touchdowns. He’s the only quarterback on this list who has yet to throw an interception.
3. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
Joe Burrow is reaching Dwayne Haskins territory in terms of making crazy numbers look like another day at the office. He threw for 344 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Utah State to close out non-conference play. But now LSU will face its second top 10 team this season in Florida. Starting quarterback Feleipe Franks is out with an ankle injury for the rest of the season, but Kyle Trask has stepped in the past three weeks and kept things on track. That includes a win over Auburn. Burrow passed a test against a top 10 team in a road game against Texas already, can he do so again on Saturday in his own back yard.
4. Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
The first-year starting quarterback threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 61 yards and a score in Ohio State’s 34-10 win over Michigan State. But he also threw his first career interception. Fields faced his first amount of adversity as a college football player, but he didn’t fold in the moment. Much like the Buckeyes have done to have high scoring second quarters this season, he adjusted to possibly the best defense he’ll face in the regular season.
5. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin
Jonathan Taylor did exactly what he was supposed to do when a top ten team plays a Mid-American conference opponent. He ran for 186 yards and five touchdowns on 9.6 yards per carry. He also added three catches for 29 yards and a score. Now he’ll get his chance to face Michigan State’s defensive line. Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins ran for 172 yards and a touchdown against the Spartans last week, let’s see if Taylor can top that.
Others for consideration: Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins.
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