Heisman Rankings: Week 5

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) – There’s not much shifting in the Heisman
Trophy rankings this week, with most of the favorites continuing to put up
standout performances to separate themselves from the pack.

1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon — Even with the Ducks on a bye this past
weekend, nothing changes at the top. Mariota has been even better than
advertised as a junior, completing 74 percent of passes for 1,135 yards, 13
touchdowns and zero interceptions to go with an extra 214 yards and three
rushing scores. Mariota still has a long way to go before sewing up the award –
matchups against UCLA and Stanford will be highly scrutinized, as will the
potential Pac-12 Championship Game – but for now, he’s the clear-cut favorite.

2. Kenny Hill, QB, Texas A&M — Hill was in jeopardy of a serious tumble in
this week’s rankings after the Aggies found themselves down two touchdowns to
Arkansas in the fourth quarter, but the signal caller rose to the occasion
late in the game, tossing two 50-plus-yard scoring strikes in the fourth
quarter to tie the game before throwing the game-winning 25-yard touchdown to
Malcome Kennedy on the first play of overtime. Despite completing just 21-
of-41 pass attempts, Hill managed to rack up 386 yards and four scores to just
one pick, and while the Razorbacks aren’t considered one of the SEC
heavyweights, his ability to step up in crunch time was a huge positive stride
in terms of his growth. With the Aggies 5-0 for the first time since 2001 and
Hill piling up the gaudy numbers (65.6 percent completions, 1,745 yards, 17
TDs, two interceptions), there’s no question Kenny Trill is the real deal.

3. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska — The trio of Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon and
Abdullah have established themselves as far and away the best running backs in
the country, but the difference between the three has been razor thin.
Abdullah has been the most consistent of the bunch, collecting at least 110
total yards in all five games, and he added another spectacular outing to his
resume in the Cornhuskers’ 45-14 win over Illinois in their Big Ten opener. The
senior running back needed just 22 carries to pick up 208 yards – already his
third 200-yard outing of the year – and his three touchdowns upped his season
total to 10. He’s the FBS leader in rushing yards with 833.

4. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama — The Crimson Tide had a well-deserved bye week
after a 4-0 start to the campaign, which was about the only thing that could
slow down the red-hot Cooper. The 6-foot-1 receiver has set a blazing pace
with 43 receptions, 655 yards and five touchdowns – coming away with at least
eight catches and 135 yards in every game. He and his squad will have their
most-difficult task to date on Saturday in a road matchup with nationally
ranked Ole Miss.

5 Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia — The Bulldogs needed every bit of Gurley’s
career-best rushing day to edge out a 35-32 home win over Tennessee. The
tailback was a true workhorse, wearing down the Volunteers defense with 28
carries for 208 yards and two touchdowns, including a 51-yard scoring run in
the fourth quarter. Gurley effortlessly shed blockers all game and even
added to his Heisman highlight reel by hurdling a Tennessee defender on a
long gain. No one stopped Gurley during the first month of the season, as he’s
tallied 610 rushing yards (8.8 yards per carry) and six touchdowns in
addition to his 100-yard kickoff return score versus Clemson. While the
Heisman Trophy isn’t exactly an MVP award, it can be argued that no player in
the country is more valuable to his team’s success than Gurley is to Georgia.

6. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State — The Bulldogs signal caller still
has a lot to prove if he wants to continue his residency this high on the
list, but his performance for an undefeated Mississippi State squad (964
passing yards, 378 rushing yards, 14 TDs, two interceptions) has been nearly
flawless through four games, especially after capturing an upset victory at
nationally ranked LSU on Sept. 20. Much like Cooper, it’s a shame Prescott’s
momentum had to come to a halt with MSU’s bye week, but he’ll have every
opportunity to regenerate buzz on Saturday in a marquee matchup with Texas A&M.

7. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin — In the first half of the Badgers’ contest
with South Florida, it appeared as though Gordon would be in for a modest
afternoon. He had just 50 yards and a lost fumble on 17 carries in the opening
30 minutes, but after halftime he was a new man, as he finished the game with
181 yards and two touchdowns. There’s no doubt Gordon is in elite company as
one of the best rushers in the nation – he ranks slightly ahead of Gurley in
both yards (612) and touchdowns (eight) and lags just behind in yards per carry
(7.8) – and he’ll be expected to keep up this pace once the team heads into its
soft Big Ten schedule, starting Saturday at Northwestern.

8. Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame — Despite their 31-15 win over Syracuse,
the Fighting Irish played careless football with an uncharacteristic five
turnovers, with Golson responsible for four of those (two interceptions and two
lost fumbles). While the miscues ultimately cost Golson to fall in the rankings
this week, he still did plenty in the victory to show why he’s still one
of the favorites. He threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns while completing
32-of-39 pass attempts, and in the process he broke a school record for
consecutive completions with 25. Golson has greater than 1,200 total yards and
15 touchdowns already, but Notre Dame will be in trouble if his turnover
problems roll over into Saturday’s bout with nationally ranked Stanford.

9 Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA — One of the favorites in the preseason, Hundley
fell off the radar early in the campaign for a litany of reasons. First he
disappointed in UCLA’s opener at Virginia (20-for-33, 242 yards), then he had
to leave the Sept. 13 matchup at Texas after injuring his non-throwing
shoulder, but after a bye in Week 4, the Bruins signal caller bounced back in
a huge way in a Thursday night Pac-12 showdown at nationally ranked Arizona
State. In one of the most well-rounded performances of his illustrious career,
Hundley completed 18-of-23 passes for 355 yards, rushed for 72 yards on just
nine attempts and accounted for five touchdowns in a 62-27 rout. Hundley’s
Heisman campaign is back on track, as he’s completing greater than 72 percent
of his passes and has piled up nearly 1,200 total yards with nine touchdowns
to just one pick, and the undefeated Bruins have established themselves as the
favorite to win the Pac-12 South Division.

10. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor — Although Petty gets docked a few points for
throwing his first interception of the season (and just the fourth of his
career), he more than made up for that mistake in Baylor’s 49-28 triumph over
Iowa State in its Big 12 opener. The signal caller completed greater than 68
percent of his passes (30-of-44) for 336 yards and a touchdown and dazzled
with his legs as well with 47 yards and two scores. As the leader of the
nation’s most potent offense on a team with a great shot at a Big 12 title,
Petty has a sturdy built-in formula for remaining on this list for the long

Dropped Out: Taysom Hill, QB, BYU

Honorable Mention: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State; Nick Marshall, QB,
Auburn; Shane Carden, QB, East Carolina; Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado.