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K-State's beastly RB Thomas joins the fray, while Shoelace holds No. 1

The Watchman has heard your cries, Andy fromOlathe, Kan. You too, Charles ofTopeka, JayfromSalina, and if my inbox is any indication, the vast majority of the Sunflower State population with an Internet connection.

Since the initial Heisman Watch, I have been inundated with e-mails wanting to know, as Shea from K.C. puts it: "How can you neglect Daniel Thomas from Kansas State? Where's the love, man?"

I'll admit it: I've been slow to warm to the Wildcats' running back, mainly because Thomas is K-State's offense and I wondered if defenses would simply load up against him and cool his production. But consider me a covert for now. Through three games, the nation's second-leading rusher has become too prolific to ignore with 552 yards. The former juco quarterback has been responsible for 45 percent of K-State's offense and he's had the ball on nearly half their offensive plays.

So, relax Manhattan, Thomas makes his debut in the latest Watch, while we welcome back a face that's all-too-familiar to the Heisman fraternity.

Also, some quick obits for a pair of preseason favorites ... Washington's Jake Locker only completed 20 percent of his passes (4-of-20) in a loss to Nebraska, the third-worst completion percentage of any FBS quarterback with at least 20 attempts in the last six years. Meanwhile, Houston's Case Keenum was knocked out for the season with a torn ACL. A Houston source tells me the school may apply for a medical hardship to bring the redshirt senior back next year.

As always, here's a look back to see how the Watchman ranked the contenders after Week 2.

Last Week: 10-of-14 passing for 241 yards, two TDs, one INT; 17 rushes for 104 yards and one TD in 42-37 win over UMass.Season: 53-of-76 passing for 671 yards, four TDs and one INT; 74 rushes for 559 yards and four TDs.

Shoelace's defense did him no favors as he played into the fourth quarter with the Wolverines giving up 37 points and 439 yards to an FCS opponent. At least it gave us another monster performance, as Robinson topped 330 total yards in the first three quarters. He also took less of a pounding, cutting his carries down to 17 after running 57 times in the first two games -- key since Big Ten play has yet to start.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Bowling Green

Last Week: 21-of-33 passing for 380 yards and three TDs; two rushes for minus-4 yards in 31-24 win over Georgia.Season: 70-of-100 passing for 1,081 yards, nine TDs and two INTs; 11 rushes for minus-3 yards.

Mallett ramped up his candidacy and silenced his critics by delivering his first career SEC road win between the hedges. Big Tex delivered three big throws on the final drive, culminating in the game-winning touchdown pass to Greg Childs with 15 seconds left (prime highlight-reel material should he earn an invitation to NYC). Mallett could make a play for the top spot on this list with No. 1 Alabama coming to Fayetteville.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Alabama

Last Week: 22-of-29 for 235 yards, two TDs and two INTs; eight rushes for 35 yards in 43-7 win over Ohio.Season: 51-of-81 for 715 yards, six TDs and two INTs; 36 rushes for 165 yards and two TDs.

So much for the error-free play. Pryor threw his first two interceptions of the year, including one when he forced a ball into double-coverage. But he offset those mistakes by completing a season-high 75.9 percent of his passes, including a Buckeyes' record 16 consecutive completions in the first half to break Jim Karsatos' previous record of 12 set in 1985. It came against a MAC team, but it was the kind of breather Pryor needed after facing Miami.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Eastern Michigan

Last Week: 20-of-30 passing for 370 yards, two TDs and one INT; two rushes for minus-1 yard in 51-6 win over Wyoming.Season: 43-of-68 passing for 585 yards, five TDs and one INT; four rushes for minus-20 yards.

Moore showed no signs of rust after a 12-day layoff as he led the Broncos to their 16th straight win. While he did throw his first interception of the year (and just the fourth in 485 attempts), Moore still torched the Cowboys for his highest yardage total in 26 starts. He has a golden opportunity to bolster his resume in prime time as the Broncos host No. 24 Oregon State, which has given up 453 yards per game.

Next Up: Saturday vs. Oregon State

Last Week: 14 rushes for 227 yards and two TDs; one reception for nine yards in 69-0 win over Portland State.Season: 30 rushes for 361 yards and three TDs; four receptions for 36 yards.

The man is obviously a perfectionist. After recording his first 200-yard game -- in one half -- James had this to say: "I feel like [this] was the worst game I've played in my life." Well, he certainly looks like he's running on all cylinders after being suspended for the opener, rattling off runs of 76 and 66 yards in his first two games. The opposition hasn't been a major challenge, but that will change this week.

Next Up: Saturday at Arizona State

Last Week: 7-of-11 passing for 150 yards and one TD; 19 rushes for 137 yards and three TDs in 56-21 win over Washington.Season: 28-of-43 passing for 392 yards and one TD; 40 rushes for 421 yards for eight TDs.

Three starts into his career, it seems there's little that can faze Martinez. He showed startling composure in his first road game, outplaying Locker by a mile and becoming the first Nebraska passer with three straight 100-yard games since Eric Crouch in 2001. He has displayed a grasp on the zone-read that's beyond his years, but can he win a game with his arm if the run game breaks down? So far he hasn't had to.

Next Up: Saturday vs. South Dakota State

Last Week: 17-of-23 passing for 207 yards and four TDs; three rushes for 69 yards and one TD in 68-24 win over Wake Forest.Season: 45-of-70 passing for 10 TDs; 13 rushes for 140 yards and one TD.

Luck was in the game for eight possessions against the Demon Deacons and the Cardinal scored a touchdown on all eight. It was an effortless performance -- Luck had 276 total yards in leading Stanford to its first 3-0 start since 2001 and he still hasn't thrown a pick. About the only bad thing you can say is that it came against a Wake Forest defense that's allowed a combined 116 points in its first three games.

Next Up: Saturday at Notre Dame

Last Week: 34 rushes for 181 yards and two TDs in 27-20 win over Iowa State.Season: 83 rushes for 552 yards and six TDs; two receptions for 15 yards.

Thomas carried the ball 34 times against the Cyclones, while K-State attempted all of 12 passes. Bill Snyder basically said, "This is what we're going to do. Try and stop it." Thomas has come through, but you do have to wonder how much of this he can take. The 6-foot-2, 228-pounder is on pace for a career-high 332 carries after running 247 times last year; and he played the second half of '09 with a shoulder injury.

Next Up: Saturday vs. UCF

Last Week: 26 rushes for 110 yards and two TDs; five receptions for 38 yards and one TD in 27-24 win over Air Force.Season: 77 rushes for 369 yards and six TDs; nine receptions for 90 yards and one TD.

Another week, another change in the Sooners' representative in the Watch. With quarterback Landry Jones inconsistent, Murray was again the workhorse with a combined 148 yards and three TDs. It was the second time in three games that Murray took the Sooners off upset watch. Jones could steal the spotlight with another monster game, but Murray is emerging as Oklahoma's prime candidate due to his reliability.

Next Up: Saturday at Cincinnati

Last Week: 9 rushes for 151 yards and two TDs in 62-13 win over Duke.

Ingram wasted little time making an impact after his return form knee surgery, rattling off a 48-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. The 2009 Heisman winner became the first BCS player to run for 150-plus yards on less than 10 carries in the last five years. Good to see him back, but as I wrote last week, it may be too late to get him a second Heisman this season.

Next Up: Saturday at Arkansas

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