The 2017 Heisman Trophy just might be Baker Mayfield’s to lose.
In this week’s Franchise Heisman Watch, Mayfield received all 10 first-place votes after his stellar performance Saturday at Oklahoma State.
Mayfield shattered the school record with 598 passing yards, threw five touchdown passes and ran for a TD as the Sooners won a 62-52 shootout.
OU, No. 5 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings, improved to 8-1 overall and 5-1 in Big 12 Conference play ahead of next week’s showdown with No. 10-ranked TCU in Norman.
Mayfield was fourth in the voting two years ago (behind Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey and DeShaun Watson) and last year became a Heisman finalist and was invited to New York for the ceremony, finishing third (behind Lamar Jackson and Watson).
“I’m not worried about winning that,” Mayfield said after the OSU game. “I’m worried about winning ballgames. We had great stats tonight because we did our job. Guys up front protected well, receivers and running backs that caught the ball, they made plays. They made plays for me.”
Behind Mayfield’s 30 points in this week’s poll, Stanford running back Bryce Love is second with 12 points, while Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is third with 10.
Barkley was a runaway leader in the initial Franchise Heisman Watch two weeks ago, but the Nittany Lions have lost their last two games as Barkley has been neutralized. Barkley ran for just 44 yards and a touchdown (and returned the opening kickoff for a TD) in a loss to Ohio State, while this week, after being held to zero yards rushing in the first half, he finished with 63 yards on 14 carries in a loss to Michigan State. Barkley ranks second nationally in all-purpose yards and is 31st at 96 rushing yards per game.
Love also has slipped the last two weeks. He was held out of last week’s close win over Oregon State with an ankle injury, and in Saturday’s loss to Washington State, Love was held to a season-low 69 yards. Love still leads the nation by a wide margin in rushing yards at 182 yards per game (second is 160.2) and ranks second at 9.64 yards per carry.
Mayfield leads all of college football in passer efficiency rating at 201.6 (second is 189.1) and yards per completion (16.54), ranks second in passing yards per game (358.4) and total offense (378.6) and is third in points responsible for per game (22.2) and passing TDs (28).
Just as impressive as the numbers, Mayfield answered every Oklahoma State score with a score of his own. In a game with that kind of pressure, Mayfield was at his best before throwing an interception in the end zone on the Sooners’ penultimate drive.
“This guy’s been playing at an elite level for a long time,” said OU coach Lincoln Riley. “Whether people appreciate it or don’t appreciate it, that’s up to them. What this guy does week in and week out, nobody else does for their team.”
Other players who received votes this week include Wisconsin freshman running back Jonathan Taylor (1,368 rushing yards, 7.20 per carry), Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate (1,087 rushing yards and a nation-leading 11.44 yards per carry) and Notre Dame running back Josh Adams (1,191 rushing yards, 8.69 per carry).
Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph received one third-place vote. Rudolph leads the nation in passing yards per game (368.2) and points responsible for per game (22.7), ranks third in total offense (373.4 yards per game), is tied for fifth in passing TDs (27) and is sixth in passer efficiency rating (170.4).
The Franchise Heisman Watch is compiled from votes of on-air hosts and producers. The Franchise has seven official Heisman voters, including three full-time hosts: Dylan Buckingham, John Hoover and Lauren Rew.
Week 3 Franchise Heisman Watch
- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma … 30
- Bryce Love, RB, Stanford … 12
- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State … 10
- Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin … 3
- Khalil Tate, QB, Arizona … 2
- Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame … 2
- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State … 1