Notre Dame and USC have each produced seven Heisman winners, the most schools in college football history. However, the Ohio State Buckeyes have produced five Heisman winners, representing a total of six trophies (Archie Griffin won consecutive Heismans in 1974-75). While Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn was the favorite to win this year’s award at the start of the season, Ohio State QB Troy Smith is the early leader in my second Heisman Trophy top 10 poll of the young season. The full survey appears below.
Heisman Top-10 Trophy
(Monday, September 11)
1) TROY SMITH (Ohio State) Last Week: 1. Texas used its Sept. 25-22 win over Ohio State in Columbus to catapult the Longhorns to their first undisputed national title since 1969 last year. Ohio State is hopeful that its impressive 24-7 victory Saturday night in Austin, which ended Texas’ 21-game winning streak, will be a similar stepping stone. Whether or not Ohio State will claim the national crown this year is unknown, but the team is off to a great start, entering the year as the nation’s number one team in the two major polls and increasing its lead by opening 2. -0. Likewise, Troy Smith had a much better season debut than Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn and Smith was very good again Saturday night in Austin. Smith completed 17 of 26 passes for 269 yards with two TDs and no interceptions in the win against Texas. It marked Ohio State’s ninth straight victory with Smith completing 67.1 percent of his passes for an average of 254.6 YPG with 18 TDP and just two INTs. The victory over No. 1 Texas gives Smith a 7-1 record against ranked opponents in his career. Smith is being compared to Vince Young from Texas, but we still haven’t seen Smith run anything like Young in these first two games. While Smith averaged 50.7 YPG (4.9 YPC) and rushed for six TDs while Ohio State closed last year with seven straight wins, he has had eight carries so far in 2006, losing a total of 14 yards. That is ‘pinching pennies’ though, as Smith has been great! Ohio State will host Cincinnati this Saturday. His season stats are: 35 of 51 68.6 percent 566 yards with 5 TDP and 0 INT.
2) BRADY QUINN (Notre Dame) last week: 3. After a less-than-spectacular game in ND’s season-opening 14-10 win over Ga Tech (no TDP, but a TD run), Quinn it was sharp in Saturday’s 41-17 win at home. about Penn State. Quinn was 12 of 16 for 150 yards with two TDPs in the second quarter alone and his third TDP early in the fourth quarter put the Irish up 41-3. He finished 25 of 36 for 287 yards with three TDPs and no interceptions. Last year, Quinn found himself on Weis’ offense, throwing for 3,919 yards (64.9 percent) with 32 TDP and just seven interceptions. While he has yet to have a breakout game in his first two, it should be noted that after two games last year, Quinn had thrown for just 367 yards. He then warmed up, surpassing 300 yards in five of his last 10 games (he surpassed 200 yards in all 10 games), with four games going over 400 yards. He averaged 355.2 YPG in those last 10 games and may need similar numbers to chase Troy Smith in this year’s Heisman race. Notre Dame hosts No. 11 Michigan this Saturday. His season stats are: 48 of 74 64.9 percent 533 yards with 3 TDP 0 INTs / 15 attempts 15 yards 1.0 YPC 1 TD.
3) ADRIAN PETERSON (Oklahoma) Last Week: 5. Peterson had his second good game in a row when the Sooners beat the Washington Huskies last Saturday, 37-20. He rushed for 165 yards on 32 carries and scored two touchdowns, for his 18th career 100-yard game. The good news for Peterson is that Oklahoma quarterback Paul Thompson has looked great in the first two games, averaging 249.5 YPG through the air while shooting for two TDs in each of the games as well. If Thompson can continue at this rate, Peterson should have a “monster” season. Peterson and the Sooners are put to the test this Saturday as they visit Eugene to play No. 18 Oregon in a rematch of last year’s Holiday Bowl, a game won by Oklahoma, 17-14. His season stats are: 56 attempts 304 yards 5.5 YPC 3 TDs / 3 receptions 75 yards 1 TD.
4) STEVE SLATON (West Virginia) Last Week: 4. Slaton barely broke out in a sweat last Saturday when the Mountaineers crushed Division I-AA Eastern Washington, 52-3. He scored the first two TDs of the game on runs of 49 and 17 yards and was on the sidelines before the half. He finished with eight carries (he had 31 last week!) And 105 yards with those two TD runs. He scored the seventh 100-yard game of his career and West Va is 7-0 in those games. Slaton did not play in three of West Va’s first four games last year, but surpassed 100 yards in five of the team’s last eight games to lead the Mountaineers to an 11-1 season. He finished last year with 1,128 yards rushing (5.5 YPC) and 19 TDs (17 rushing). The Mountaineers host Maryland on Thursday night. His season stats are: 41 attempts 308 yards 7.5 YPC 4 TDs / 1 catch 12 yards 0 TDs.
5) TED GINN JR (Ohio State) last week: 2. Ginn was the main focus of the Texas defense on Saturday night, but still had five receptions for 97 yards. Plus, the extra attention that was given allowed Anthony Gonzalez to shine for the Buckeyes as he led the team with eight catches for 142 yards (both career highs!) With a TD reception. Ginn was far from quiet in the game, hitting a 46-yard reception in the first quarter and catching a 29-yard TD just before the half, allowing Ohio State to take a 14-7 lead in the second half. of the game. As mentioned last week, for a WR to challenge the Heisman, he needs to make big plays by returning punts and / or kickoffs. In two games, Ginn hasn’t made any “standout” kick returns. His season stats are: 9 receptions 220 yards 24.4 YPC 3 TDs.
6) MIKE HART (Michigan) Last Week: 6. Hart and Henne led Michigan to a Rose Bowl appearance as a freshman and struggled last year during a 7-5 season. While Henne is off to a very mediocre start to Michigan’s 2-0 start to the 2006 season (21 of 41 for 248 yards with two TDPs and no interceptions), Hart has had back-to-back 100-yard games. That makes 12 in his career and is a significant statistic as the Wolverines are 11-1 when Hart surpasses the century mark. Hart ran 19 times for 116 yards in Michigan’s 41-17 win over Central Michigan last Saturday, tying a career-high with three rushing TDs. He also added two receptions for a modest total of 11 yards. Michigan will visit South Bend to play No. 2 Notre Dame this Saturday. Hart and Michigan will get a chance to make a real statement this week, after facing off against Vandy and CMU. His season stats are: 50 attempts 262 yards 5.2 YPC 3 TDs / 3 receptions 13 yards 4.3 YPC 0 TDs.
7) ERIK AINGE (Tennessee) Last week: 10. After two quiet years in Tennessee (last year he completed just 45.5 percent of his pitches with just five TDPs), Erik Ainge has flown through the Vols’ door. He led Tennessee to a 35-0 lead against then-No. 9 Cal on September 2 and finished the game with four TDPs (the last three covered 42, 80 and 50 yards). Last Saturday he did it again, completing 24 of 29 passes for 333 yards, his career high, with three more TDPs and one INT. The Vols led 31-17 in the game, but the Air Force scored two TDs late (the second with 1:35 remaining after recovering a side kick), but was stopped on the two-point conversion attempt, allowing the Vols escape with one shot. 31-30 win. While Ainge’s TD shots were of the shortest variety this week (4.5 and 4 yards), it really has been one of the biggest opening upsets this season. Ainge and Tennessee undergo a major test this Saturday as the seventh-place Gators invade Knoxville. His season stats are: 35 of 47 74.5 percent 624 yards with 7 TDP 2 INT.
8) KENNY IRONS (Auburn) Last Week: 7. Auburn shut out the state of Mississippi last Saturday 34-0 for the team’s 18th win in its last 19 SEC games. However, RB Kenny Irons saw his seven-game regular season streak of 100-yard rushing performances come to an end when he was limited to 69 yards on 21 carries (no TD). MSU’s focus on the Irons allowed FB Brad Lester to reach the end zone twice, gaining 40 yards on five attempts. Regardless, Irons will get his shot next Saturday when Auburn host No. 6 LSU. You may recall (LSU does) that Irons had a career-high 218 yards rushing in last year’s 20-17 overtime loss to LSU at Baton Rogue. His season stats are: 41 attempts 252 yards 6.1 YPC 1 TD / 4 receptions 36 yards 9.0 YPC 0 TDs.
9) CHRIS LEAK (Florida) Last week: NR. In his first year on Urban Meyer’s offense, Leak’s numbers fell from 3,197 passing yards (12/29) in 2004 to 2,639 yards (6/20) last year. Leak apparently has the knack of things in his sophomore year on offense, throwing 352 yards, the most of his career, in Florida’s 42-0 win over UCF last Saturday. It was Florida’s most uneven victory since a 63-3 win over Florida A&M in 2003 and its first shutout since defeating Miss St 52-0 in 2001. Leak finished the game 19 of 29 with four TDPs and just one INT, while I was running. four times for 16 yards. He marked the seventh 300-yard game of his career and will lead the Gators to their meeting with the No. 13 this Saturday in Knoxville. His season stats are: 40 of 59 67.8 percent 600 yards with 7 TDP and 2 INT / 9 attempts 4 yards 0.4 YPC 0 TD.
10) GARRETT WOLFE (Northern Illinois) Last Week: NR. I like to use my 10th place to highlight a player and this week it’s Garret Wolfe. Players don’t win the Heisman while playing at MAC and Wolfe’s Northern Illinois team opened the 2006 season by starting 0-2, thus erasing even the most remote chances they may have had. However, Wolfe rushed 24 times for 196 yards (two rushing touchdowns) in Northern Illinois’ 35-23 loss to Ohio (wow Bobcats!). The 5-7 senior is an incredible player, having rushed for 1,656 yards on 21 TDs (18 carries) in 2004 and 1,580 yards on 17 TDs (16 carries) in 2005, averaging 6.5 YPC in both seasons. He opened the 2006 season by surpassing 100 yards in both games, giving him 16 career 100-yard efforts. In seven of those games, he surpassed the 200-yard mark, including a career-high 325 yards against Eastern Michigan last year. His season stats are: 50 attempts 367 yards 7.3 YPC 2 TDs / 5 receptions 114 yards 22.8 YPC 1 TD.
No. 8 Graham Harrell (Texas Tech)
No. 9 Michael Bush (Louisville)