By Bradford Brooks
Just a couple of weeks ago the Heisman Trophy was Penn State running back, Saquon Barkley’s to lose. It seemed as if it was going to take a monster performance for anyone to come take it from him.
Then Barkley and Penn State faced off against their conference rival, Ohio State, on the road. Barkley opened the game by going 97 yards on the kickoff to score the game’s first touchdown.
But for the remainder of that game Barkley was held in check, only registering 44 yards on 21 carries and a 36-yard touchdown run which came in the first half. The Penn State offensive line had their hands full with the talented defensive line of Ohio State.
So, after that game it looked as though the consensus favorite for Heisman front-runner had shifted to Ohio State Quarterback J.T. Barrett, who was near flawless against Penn State. Barrett was able to connect on 33 of his 39 passes, totaling 328 yards and four touchdown passes, three of those coming in the fourth quarter.
However, after capping off a stellar performance with a victory, Barrett and the Buckeyes faced the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road, and got stomped 55-24. The Iowa defense forced Barrett into four turnovers and before you knew it his Heisman chances had significantly diminished.
Then that same week a familiar face resurged to claim the Heisman momentum.
Baker Mayfield a 2016 Heisman finalist, who finished third in voting last year, has continued to play exceptional ball this year with the Sooners.
Baker Mayfield was able to boost himself and make his case to be the next Heisman trophy winner this past weekend by going on the road to beat in state rival Oklahoma, State 62 to 52.
In that game Mayfield broke the Oklahoma record for passing yards in one game with 598. The fiery quarterback leads the FBS in completion percentage (.717), passing efficiency rating (201.6), yards per pass attempt (11.9) and yards per completion (16.5).
Mayfield’s production has vaulted him to the top of the Heisman race. As hopefuls such as Barkely and Barrett seemingly fall from Heisman grace, Mayfield has been playing his way into the hearts of Heisman voters.
Baker Mayfield is now in the lead as the Heisman frontrunner and the award is his to lose. So far this season Baker has completed 72 percent of his passes and has thrown for 3226 yards, 28 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions. This is in addition to rushing for another 5 touchdowns on the ground.
He seemingly controls his own destiny for the award and has enough big games left to solidify the trophy for himself.
More importantly, he has Oklahoma controlling its own destiny in its bid to make the College Football Playoff.
The Sooners play TCU this saturday, and could face them again in the Big 12 title game. If Mayfield wins both of those games, plus a regular season-ending game against West Virginia, it will not be difficult to see Oklahoma in the playoff and to see Mayfield hold up the Heisman trophy in New York.