AP NEWS
Click to copy
Click to copy

Heisman Watch: Mason Rudolph slides down in race after low-scoring game at Texas

October 25, 2017

Entering Saturday, oddsmakers had Mason Rudolph as one of four college football players with 9-to-1 odds or better to win the Heisman Trophy.

On Tuesday, Bovada released new odds.

Rudolph was 33-to-1.

The Oklahoma State quarterback still has some time to boost his candidacy, starting Saturday at West Virginia. And a Bedlam date Nov. 4 could go some lengths to determining which Big 12 quarterback is more likely to be a finalist in New York.

With five weeks to go in the regular season, a look at the Heisman candidates, in order of their odds via Bovada:

RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State (Odds: 4/11)

Last week vs. Michigan: 15 carries, 108 yards, 2 TD; 3 rec., 53 yards, 1 TD

Season: 117 carries, 757 yards (6.5 YPC), 8 TD; 32 rec., 448 yards, 3 TD

Barkley had his first 100-yard rushing game since Sept. 23, and his three-touchdown performance in primetime keeps him at the forefront in the minds of many when it comes to the Heisman. The next two weeks give Barkley opportunities to run away with it. With the Nittany Lions among the top teams in the country, matchups at Ohio State and Michigan State get big attention.

RB Bryce Love, Stanford (Odds: 3/1)

Last week: Idle

Season: 135 carries, 1,387 yards (10.3 YPC), 11 TD

No game for Love last week, which means his incredible double-digit yards per carry status still stands. Love has averaged at least 7.6 yards per rush in every game this year. The Cardinal’s next opponent, Oregon State, is porous against the run.

QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (Odds: 12/1)

Last week at Kansas State: 32-of-41, 410 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 69 rush yards, 2 TD

Season: 149-of-202 (73.8%), 2,347 yards, 19 TD, 2 INT; 170 rush yards, 3 TD

Mayfield hit 400 yards passing in a game for the first time this season and the Sooners kept their name in the Big 12 race. If a quarterback is to unseat the running backs who are the two favorites, Mayfield is in the best position. He leads college football in quarterback rating, completion percentage and yards per attempt. The Sooners host Texas Tech -- and its mediocre pass defense -- Saturday.

QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State (Odds: 14/1)

Last week: Idle

Season: 138-of-207 (66.7%), 1,838 yards, 21 TD, 1 INT; 359 rush yards, 5 TD

You might think Barrett gets a boost because of name recognition, but he has also been on fire since Ohio State’s week two loss to Oklahoma. Before the bye, he completed 27-of-33 passes and five touchdowns at Nebraska. The knock on Barrett so far would be lack of competition, as OU is the only top-25 team Ohio State has faced (and maybe the only top-50 team). That changes Saturday with Penn State on the opposing sideline.

QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama (Odds: 20/1)

Last week vs. Tennessee: 13-of-21, 198 yards, 1 TD; 14 rush yards

Season: 95-of-151 (62.9%), 1,223 yards, 9 TD, 1 INT; 572 rush yards, 6 TD

Hurts’ odds improved from 50/1 to 20/1 last week, but that might have more to do with candidates like Lamar Jackson and Rudolph sliding. The good news for Hurts is he’s on the best team in the country and is Alabama’s most notable offensive performer. But he doesn’t get many opportunities, with only 18.9 pass attempts per game.

QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville (Odds: 33/1)

Last week at Florida State: 13-of-21, 156 yards, 1 TD; 178 rush yards, 1 TD

Season: 170-of-282 (60.3%), 2,478 yards, 17 TD, 5 INT; 868 rush yards, 11 TD

The reigning trophy winner helped his team to a much-needed win against the Seminoles last week, but with Louisville looking irrelevant nationally at 5-3, attention on Jackson is waning. While Jackson is averaging about 12 fewer rushing yards per game, his overall numbers this season still have a chance to end very similar to his 2016 season.

QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State (Odds: 33/1)

Last week at Texas: 25-of-38, 282 yards

Season: 161-of-242 (66.5%), 2,650 yards, 19 TD, 4 INT; 57 rush yards, 6 TD

Rudolph entered Texas with at least three total touchdowns in every game this season. He left with only his second touchdown-less game in the last two seasons (the other was last year at Baylor). That sets him back in the race, but his overall numbers are still excellent: First in passing yards per game, third in yards per attempt, first in pass plays of 30-plus (and 40-plus) yards. OSU travels to West Virginia this week, the sight of the worst passing performance of Rudolph’s career. His only three-interception game came in an overtime win in Morgantown two years ago.

Dark horses

Could someone still come from off the board to win the Heisman? If so, a couple names …

RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Last week vs. Maryland: 22 carries, 126 yards, 1 TD; 1 rec., 24 yards

Season: 149 carries 1,112 yards (7.5 YPC), 11 TD

If it weren’t for Love, more might be talking about Taylor, the freshman running back for an undefeated Badgers team. Taylor has at least 80 yards and a touchdown in every game and is fourth in the country in rushing yards. How he could win: If the Badgers stay undefeated and make a play at the College Football Playoff, Taylor will only gain more notice for his production.

QB Will Grier, West Virginia

Last week at Baylor: 26-of-37, 375 yards, 5 TD

Season: 177-of-267 (66.3%), 2,467 yards, 26 TD, 5 INT; 2 rush TD

Grier leads the nation in touchdown passes and is fourth in yards per game. His Mountaineers are ranked and still have a chance at reaching the Big 12 championship game. They’re currently in a four-way tie for second. Perhaps the best quarterback matchup of the weekend comes in Morgantown Saturday with Oklahoma State-West Virginia.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.