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The Heisman Five: Saquon Barkley Tops 2017's Candidates After Week 1 Action

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley was excellent against Akron, making him our leading Heisman candidate based on Week 1 action. But who's next?

It’s way too early to get much of a read on the Heisman chase, but it was a good first week for some of the biggest stars in the sport. Welcome to college football J.K. Dobbins of Ohio State, who with a big game against OU this weekend, will move onto the radar. USC’s Sam Darnold, the Heisman favorite, had a spotty opener throwing two INTs and no touchdowns, but his team still scored 49 points in a win over WMU. He’ll get a chance to make more of a statement next week when Stanford visits. Here’s our Top 5 through Saturday night:

1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State, RB: The junior was his usually spectacular self, torching Akron for 172 yards on just 14 carries with two going for touchdowns. He also had 54 receiving yards on three catches in a 52–0 romp. He’ll face a Pitt team that held him under 100 rushing yards and beat the Nittany Lions last season.

2. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB: He set a school record for most completions to start a game (16) and finished 19-for-20 for 329 yards and three touchdowns and did it all in just a half of action as OU crushed UTEP 56–7 in Lincoln Riley’s debut as head coach.

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3. Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State, QB: No offense looked any more explosive than the Cowboys did in Week 1 as they put 59 points on a Tulsa team that won 10 games last year. The 6'5", 225-pound senior went 20-of-24 for 303 yards, three TDs through the air and a fourth on the ground.

4. Josh Rosen, UCLA, QB: For much of Sunday night against Texas A&M, the gifted junior quarterback was battered by the Aggies as the Bruins fell into a 44–10 hole. Then, Rosen started ripping it. He found a rhythm connecting with tight end Caleb Wilson, and the Bruins got cranked up. Some of Rosen’s throws were majestic. Two were just pretty lucky—one a tipped pass, another passed right through the hands of an Aggie DB for a UCLA touchdown. His fourth quarter stat line was almost as jaw-dropping as the outcome itself: 19-of-26, 292 yards passing, four TDs, zero interceptions. In all, he threw for almost 500 yards. No one’s ever doubted Rosen’s arm talent, and if they’ve ever questioned how tough he is, they should just watch the film of his takedown of Texas A&M.

5. Lamar Jackson, Louisville, QB: The 2016 Heisman winner put up more lofty numbers in the opener, beating Purdue in an entertaining 35–28 game. Jackson ran for 107 yards and went 30–46 for 378 yards and two TDs.