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Mariota & Gordon Top Heisman Trophy Candidates
Photo - QB Marcus Mariota - Oregon
1. Marcus Mariota - QB Oregon, Junior
Season stats: 229-334, 3,470 yards, 36 TDs, 2 ints; 107 carries, 636 yards, 11 TDs
Mariota showed no signs of slowing down in Saturday’s Civil War against Oregon State. The junior completed 19 of 25 passes for 367 yards and four touchdowns while also running for 39 yards and two scores on 10 carries in No. 3 Oregon’s 47-19 rout of the Beavers.
The Ducks play Arizona in the Pac-12 championship tonight that could seal the award. Arizona has beaten the Ducks the past two regular seasons.
2. Melvin Gordon - RB Wisconsin - Junior
Season stats: 283 carries, 2,260 yards, 26 TDs; 17 catches, 151 yards, 3 TDs
Gordon ran for 151 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries and caught a four-yard touchdown pass as No. 14 Wisconsin beat No. 22 Minnesota, 34-24, Saturday in their annual rivalry game.
He plays this Saturday in the Big Ten championship game against No. 7 Ohio State, one of the nation’s top defenses. He needs another strong performance to win the award.
3. Amari Cooper - WR Alabama - Junior
Season stats: 103 catches, 1,573 yards, 14 TDs
Cooper exploded in Alabama’s 55-44 win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl. The junior caught 13 passes for 224 yards and three TDs to help the Crimson Tide rally for the victory.
Alabama faces Missouri in the SEC Championship on Saturday and another chance to be a difference maker in a big game situation.
4. Dak Prescott - QB, Mississippi St - Junior
Season stats: 211-345, 2,996 yards, 24 TDs, 10 ints; 195 carries, 939 yards, 13 TDs
Prescott completed 22 of 37 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown and ran for 48 yards and a score on 24 carries, but No. 4 Mississippi State fell to No. 18 Ole Miss, 31-17, in the Egg Bowl.
The Bulldogs lost both games in November that will hurt Dak’s closing impression, though he had a great season and instrumental in the MSU rise to the top ten rankings.
Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20+ years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites.