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Heisman Watch Week 10: Kenjon Barner makes a move

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

When Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein had a subpar game (by his standards) against Oklahoma State and exited the competition in the third quarter with an injury, the Heisman race got very interesting.

Klein has led the pack for the past few weeks, but strong play by Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and now Oregon running back Kenjon Barner has put pressure on Klein to be at the top of his game from here on out.

And even that might not be enough.

McCarron led the game-winning drive against LSU in the final seconds to cement himself in Alabama lore while Barner had one of the greatest games in NCAA history with five rushing touchdowns against USC. Barner has had some trouble with consistency because of the multitude of weapons on the Oregon roster, but he's clearly put himself in Heisman contention. With just a few games remaining in the regular season, Alabama and Oregon both have tough games ahead and opportunities for McCarron and Barner to showcase their talents to Heisman voters. Klein has a softer schedule and no conference championship game. And that's if he plays. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder has been quiet about whether Klein will take the field this week against TCU. Even if he does, there are two very special players breathing down his neck and he'll need to be the old Collin Klein to keep his grasp on the bronze statue.

Here's what Dr. Saturday's Heisman Watch looks like this week:

Collin Klein, QB K-State

Last week's game against Oklahoma State was the first time Klein showed he was human. It was the first time Klein scored just one touchdown in a game this season. Unfortunately, he left the game after the third quarter because of an undisclosed injury and is questionable for Saturday's game against TCU. He'll probably play, but coach Bill Snyder has kept that under wraps and has kept Klein away from the media. If he doesn't play against TCU, the Heisman door is wide open.

Stats:

Comp %:
71.7
Yards:
1,875
TD:
12
INT:
2
Rush Yds.:
698
TD:
17

AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

When we look back on this college football season, McCarron's game-winning drive at the end of last week's LSU game will be one of those iconic moments that perhaps solidified his Heisman status. Unlike Klein, McCarron still has a lot of opportunities to make flashy — perhaps game-winning — plays against some of the nation's best teams. The competition for the Heisman is getting fierce, but McCarron is right in the thick of it.

Stats:

Comp %:
66.7
Yards:
1,849
TD:
19
INT:
0

Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

Barner wasn't on the Dr. Saturday Heisman list before, but after his five-touchdown performance against USC last week, it's impossible to keep him off. Barner had 321 rushing yards, an Oregon single-game record, and was by far the most dangerous player on the field. Now the question is, can he keep it up? The Ducks have a lot of offensive weapons, so putting up Heisman-like numbers every week can be a challenge.

Stats:

Rush yards:
1,295
TD:
19
Rec. Yards:
184
TD:
1

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

For the first time since Sept. 22 against Michigan, Te'o failed to register double-digit tackles, and in a game that was as close as the Irish's 29-26 double-overtime win against Pitt, Te'o needed to be better. Te'o was already in a tough position because he was a defensive player competing for what is traditionally an offensive award and while he doesn't control the entire defense, a poor game does him no favors.

Stats:

Tackles:
85
Solo:
36
Sacks:
2
Int:
5

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio St.

Miller had 299 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in a 52-22 win against Illinois, but it barely registered because of the competition that other players on this list faced. Miller should have had a good game against a 2-7 Illinois team and he should fare well against a struggling Wisconsin team this weekend. Miller's Buckeyes might go undefeated this season, but the Big Ten struggles this season aren't helping his case for the bronze statue.

Stats:

Comp %:
56.9
Yards:
1,753
TD:
14
INT:
6
Rush Yds.:
1,166
TD:
13

- - -
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