WASHINGTON — Let’s get this out of the way to start: The Heisman Trophy process is far from an exact science. Technically, it’s for the “best player in college football,” when in reality it’s intended for the “best quarterback/running back on a nationally contending team.” Which is much better than it used to be — until they started handing this award to sophomores and freshman (thank you, Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel), it was the “best upperclassman quarterback/running back on a nationally contending team” honor.
This year’s field has had many favorites who have either played their way out of contention (USC’s Sam Darnold) or watched their team suck the life out of their campaign (reigning winner Lamar Jackson at Louisville). Enter Baker Mayfield. The Oklahoma quarterback is completing 71 percent of his passes for 31 touchdowns to only five interceptions. In his three biggest games of the year he’s thrown for 333, 386 and 598 yards. And he’s got the Sooners on the cusp of a trip the College Football Playoff. Sorry, Bryce Love at Stanford. Prepare the pose, Mr. Mayfield.
Maryland (4-6, 2-5 Big Ten) lost to Michigan 35-10. The Wolverines put the game away with three touchdowns over a four-minute span in the second quarter. Despite outplaying their foes in the second half and outgaining them in the afternoon, the Terps find themselves on the precipice of postseason elimination. Terrapin Triumphs: DJ Moore achieved a rare feat: completing a pass, making a catch, punting the ball and making a tackle. Quarterback Ryan Brand played well for a former fifth string walk-on in his first collegiate start against the #2 defense in the nation. Josh Woods tallied 10 tackles. Terrapin Troubles: a blocked punt and a failed fake punt gave the Wolverines short fields that they turned into TD’S. The defense allowed 30+ points for the sixth straight game and eighth time in ten games this fall. Next: Saturday at 4 p.m. against 7-3 Michigan State.
Virginia Tech (7-3, 3-3 ACC) lost for the second straight week, this time slipping at Georgia Tech 28-22. Two weeks ago, we were wondering just how good this team actually was — and now we know they’re a middle of the pack team in the ACC’s weaker division. Hokie Highlights: Eric Kumah caught a career-high six passes for 82 yards. Josh Jackson turned in a turnover-free game. Greg Stroman continues to make impact plays, returning an interception for a touchdown. Hokie Humblings: the running game averaged less than 3 yards per carry … and the offense converted just four of 15 third downs. The defense coughed up a 60-yard touchdown pass and an 80-yard scoring strike. Next: Saturday at 12:20 p.m. vs 4-6 Pitt.
Virginia (6-4, 3-3 ACC) lost at Louisville 38-21 as defending Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson ripped through them for 195 yards passing and three touchdowns while adding 147 yards rushing and another score. Just to further underscore that the statue is not perfect, Jackson’s technically having a better year than 2016 but because his Cardinals can’t defend a ham sandwich he’s a Heisman afterthought. Cavalier Congrats: they began and ended the first half with touchdown drives. Andre Levrone caught six passes for 92 yards. Quin Blanding, to the surprise of nobody, led the team in tackles again with nine stops. Cavalier Concerns: after the opening possession, UVA gained 40 total yards on their next 22 plays from scrimmage. The running game was held to 63 yards on 28 tries — no way to keep Lamar Jackson off the field. Eight penalties for 73 yards on the road is not helpful either. Next: Saturday at noon against 9-0 Miami.
Navy (6-3, 4-3 AAC) snapped a three-game losing streak by outslugging SMU 43-40. A JR Osborn field goal at the final gun qualified the Mids for bowl eligibility — and sent the Mustangs home with visions of a ground game that put the Pony Express to shame. Midshipmen Medals: backup quarterback Malcolm Perry rushed for 282 yards and four touchdowns while the team tallied 559 yards on the ground. Micah Thomas led the defense with eight tackles, an interception and half of a sack. Owen White averaged 43 yards per punt. Midshipmen Miscues: two turnovers didn’t help things, and the defense that returned six starters has now allowed 30+ points in its last four games. Next: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at 8-2 Notre Dame.
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