Cory Mccartney
Tuesday September 7th, 2010

After a summer full of anticipation, opening weekend is bound to illicit knee-jerk reactions.

Sure, USC's Matt Barkley threw for five touchdowns, but what does that really mean coming against Hawaii, whose defense ranked 93rd a year ago? Oregon's Kenjon Barner filled in for the suspended LaMichael James and racked up 207 yards of total offense and five touchdowns against New Mexico, but how many carries will he see once James returns? Both came up big, but neither made my preseason list. I need to see more.

Then there's trying to make sense of the preseason contenders who either fell flat on their faces or delivered less-than impressive stat lines in Week 1, a list that includes Navy's Ricky Dobbs, Pitt's Dion Lewis, Washington's Jake Locker and Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers.

The first in-season Heisman Watch is about trying to balance opening-week perceptions with reality, but the fact remains: You have to play, and play well, to make this list. In light of that, we welcome some new faces who weren't on the preseason radar, and temporarily say goodbye to reigning winner Mark Ingram, who got the boot after sitting out the opener.

Last Week: 23-of-38 passing, 214 yards, three touchdowns; two rushes, minus-18 yards in a 33-30 win over Virginia Tech

His numbers weren't jaw-dropping, but Moore did what he's always done: win. Playing in front of a decidedly pro-Virginia Tech crowd, he marched the Broncos downfield when their BCS title dreams were on the line, throwing the decisive touchdown with 1:09 remaining to improve to 27-1 as a starter. It will be tough for any non-BCS player to win, but after putting his team on his back in the opening week's premiere game, Moore takes the lead.

Next Up: Sept. 18 at Wyoming

Last Week: 21-of-24, 301 yards, three TDs, 1 INT; three rushes, zero yards in a 44-3 win over Tennessee Tech

Sure, Mallett's big opening game came against an FCS defense, but what more could Big Tex have done? Of the three passes he missed, only one was a legitimate incompletion (one was tipped to a defender, the other was a drop that should have been a touchdown). Mallett also showed no lingering effects from offseason foot surgery, and after facing criticism for being a statue in the pocket, he appears more comfortable running when pressured.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Louisiana Monroe

Last Week: 17-of-23, 247 yards, three TDs; eight rushes, 17 yards in a 45-7 win over Marshall

After we spent the offseason debating whether he could pick up where he left off in the Rose Bowl, Pryor showed poise in the pocket against Marshall, going through his progressions instead of bailing on a play and running like the past. He did try and force two deep balls, both of which could have been picked. Marshall rarely tested him, but Ohio State should be pleased with Pryor's maturity level heading into a duel with Miami's Jacory Harris.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Miami

Last Week: 17-of-22, 274 yards, five TDs, two INTs; two rushes, 16 yards in a 68-28 win over Texas State

Throwing five touchdown passes is nothing new for Keenum, who's managed that or more eight times in his career. But only once -- against Tulsa in 2008 -- did he do it one half. After having his way with an FCS defense that gave up over 230 passing yards a game last season, Keenum could put up similar numbers this week against a UTEP team he burned for 536 yards and five scores last year.

Next Up: Friday vs. UTEP

Last Week: 21 rushes, 257 yards, four TDs; three receptions, minus-three yards in a 65-17 win over Washington State

After missing most of last season with an ankle injury, Hunter was the forgotten man on the preseason All-Big 12 teams. Few will forget him now after he torched Wazzu in just over two quarters of work. This was the same Cougars defense that ranked 120th last season, so it's hard to judge Hunter's staying power, but it's hard not to be impressed, especially since the perception was that new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen's Air-Raid offense would lean on the pass.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Troy

Last Week: 9-of-14, 186 yards, three TDs; 15 rushes, 171 yards, two TDs in a 52-26 win over Arkansas State

It was bizarre to see the former Florida quarterback at the helm of Gus Malzahn's offense, but Newton didn't give viewers much time to harp on that while setting a school record for rushing yards by a passer (a mark aided by a 71-yard touchdown run). The performance made Newton the first Tiger to earn SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors since Kenny Irons ... four years ago. If this keeps up, the folks at Momma Goldberg's may name a sandwich after Newton by October.

Next Up: Thursday at Mississippi State

Last Week: 35 rushes, 218 yards, two TDs in 31-24 win over Utah State

I thought Bob Stoops was crazy when he threw out a 1,900-yard goal for Murray. The senior has produced just one 1,000-yard season, and he only had 171 carries last year. But with quarterback Landry Jones struggling, Murray looked every bit the part, notching career-high yardage while carrying on 35 of Oklahoma's 45 attempts. Considering how the Sooners' pass defense struggled (allowing 341 yards), Murray's ability to deliver will be key when Christian Ponder and Florida State come to Norman.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Florida State

Last Week: 19-of-22, 186 yards, one TD; 29 rushes, 197 yards, one TD in a 30-10 win over Connecticut

Robinson turned in the weekend's breakout performance, torching a team many believe will contend for the Big East title. It was a reminder of how dangerous Rich Rodriguez's offense can be with a suitable triggerman, as Robinson ran 29 times, twice more than Pat White ever did under RichRod. It'll be hard for the folks in Ann Arbor to stay level-headed, but they may want to hold off on anointing Robinson the Savior of Maize and Blue; remember Tate Forcier?

Next Up: Saturday at Notre Dame

Last Week: 17-of-23, 316 yards, four TDs; three rushes, eight yards in a 52-17 win over Sacramento State

No Toby Gerhart, no problem -- at least against an FCS squad. Luck left no doubt he's the focal point of the Cardinal offense, throwing for 301 yards in the first half, including a career-long 81-yard touchdown to Doug Baldwin. After a little more than a half, he was on the bench with a career-high four touchdowns under his belt. The Bees didn't put up much resistance, but a trip to the Rose Bowl this weekend should be more revealing.

Next Up: Saturday at UCLA

Last Week: Four punt returns, 157 yards, one TD; three kick returns, 100 yards; five tackles, ½ tackle for loss in a 30-24 win over North Carolina

He hasn't returned kicks since high school, but Peterson showed little rust. He recorded 244 of his 257 combined return yards in the first half, including an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown. He was facing a UNC special teams group depleted by suspensions, but he clearly helped his Heisman candidacy, eliciting more than a few comparisons to Charles Woodson from those in the press box.

Next Up: Saturday at Vanderbilt

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