Will Grier made the case to crack the Heisman’s top three with some late-game heroics in West Virginia's dramatic win over Texas.
Week 10 saw a Heisman race that has been dominated by Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Oklahoma's Kyler Murray welcome a third quarterback into the top tier, albeit a few paces behind the top two contenders. Will Grier and West Virginia stunned Texas in a last-second victory in Austin, and Grier's heroics with a touchdown pass followed by a two-point conversion keeper for the win put him back in the national spotlight a few weeks removed from a nightmare showing against Iowa State. Meanwhile, Travis Etienne showed off his wheels in a Clemson victory to drum up what little Heisman attention is available for non-quarterbacks.
Here are the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy through Week 10:
1. Tua Tagovailoa, Sophomore, QB, Alabama
This week: Passing: 25 for 42, 295 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT; Rushing: 3 carries, 49 yards, 1 TD in win vs. LSU
Season stats: 2,361 yards, 27 TDs, 1 INT
Tagovailoa looked strong as ever in a dominant win over LSU but had a couple of hiccups throughout the night. The sophomore threw his first interception of the season during the second quarter before bouncing back to connect with Irv Smith Jr. on a 25-yard touchdown throw in the next series. Tagovailoa dodged two possible game-ending injuries when he took a helmet to the groin in the first quarter and limped to the sidelines after a 44-yard touchdown run in the second half. Tagovailoa entered the injury tent briefly and later got on the stationary bike before returning to the action. He also played in the fourth quarter for the first time this year. Tagovailoa continues to lead the Heisman race, but Alabama may need to think about managing his knee sprain when it can.
2. Kyler Murray, Junior, QB, Oklahoma
This week: Passing: 20 for 35, 360 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs; Rushing: 11 carries, 100 yards, 1 TD in win vs. Texas Tech
Season stats: 2,689 yards, 31 TDs, 5 INTs
Murray and the Sooners got off to a shaky start against the Red Raiders, with the quarterback throwing interceptions in the game's first two drives. After trailing at halftime, Oklahoma pulled ahead 35–31 early in the third quarter with Murray's 46-yard touchdown pass to Lee Morris. The Sooners added a pair of touchdowns in the fourth en route a 51–46 victory. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Murray became Oklahoma's first quarterback with consecutive 350-yard passing games since Landry Jones in 2012.
3. Will Grier, Senior, QB, West Virginia
This week: 28 for 42, 346 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs in win vs. Texas
Season stats: 2,618 yards, 28 TDs, 7 INTs
Grier boosted his Heisman candidacy in West Virginia's dramatic win over Texas. With 16 seconds left on the clock, Grier's 33-yard throw to Gary Jennings Jr. gave the Mountaineers the chance to tie the game—but then Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen elected to go for two. Grier then connected with David Sills V for a go-ahead two-point try, but the referees called the play back because the Longhorns had called a timeout before the snap. On the next play, Grier faked a dropback and broke toward the short side of the field. He won the race to the corner pf the end zone to complete the conversion and give the Mountaineers a 42–41 victory. Grier's 346 yards and three touchdowns bolstered the Mountaineers in the crucial conference bout.
To learn more about Grier and his unconventional career path to West Virginia, you can read Andy Staples's feature on the QB here.
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4. Travis Etienne, Sophomore, RB, Clemson
This week: 8 carries, 153 rushing yards, 1 TD in win vs. Louisville
Season stats: 116 carries, 998 rushing yards, 15 TDs
Etienne helped No. 2 Clemson improve to a 9–0 record as the Tigers continue their push to return to the playoff. The sophomore ran for a 10-yard touchdown on the Tigers' opening drive, his ACC-leading 15th score of the season. Clemson cruised to a 77–16 victory over Louisville which Etienne helped put completely out of reach early in the third quarter when he ran for 41 yards to Louisville's two-yard line. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence scored on a two-yard dive up the middle to put Clemson up 42–3.
5. Dwayne Haskins, Sophomore, QB, Ohio State
This week: 18 for 32, 252 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT in win vs. Nebraska
Season stats: 3,053 yards, 30 TDs, 6 INTs
Dwayne Haskins and Ohio State still looked shaky after suffering a 49–20 loss to Purdue two weeks ago, but Haskins recorded 252 yards with two touchdowns, including a 42-yard connection to Johnnie Dixon early in the first quarter. The sophomore's 18 completions Saturday gave him 242 for the year and broke the Buckeyes' single-season record. J.T. Barrett previously held the mark with 240 last season.