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The Heisman Five: J.T. Barrett Enters the Conversation as the Race Tightens

Saquon Barkley still leads the Heisman race, but the gap has narrowed after he was largely bottled up in a loss to Ohio State that instead put the spotlight on Buckeyes QB J.T. Barrett.

Most weeks this season, I struggled to come up with more than three guys to fill out the Heisman Top Five. This week, I would’ve loved to have had six spot because Khalil Tate is deserving. He’s been the best player in college football this month. The sophomore QB from Arizona has rushed for 840 yards just in October with four runs of 70 yards plus. If he can keep this up, Tate will go to New York for the Heisman ceremony. It figures to be a wild last month.

1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State, RB: He worked some magic early, torching Ohio State for a touchdown on the opening kick return and then later in the first half breaking off a 36-yard touchdown run, but that was about it for him. The Buckeyes roared back for a one-point win and bottled him up. He ended up with just 44 yards rushing on 21 carries. He’s the best all-around back in the country, but this race tightened after this weekend.

2. Bryce Love, Stanford, RB: I almost bumped Josh Adams above him. Love was sidelined this week against Oregon State. The Cardinal barely won. Love’s stats on the year are still gaudy, going for 10.3 yards per carry, but the hefty rushing totals of Adams and Arizona’s Tate have taken some of the air out of the Love stat line.

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3. Josh Adams, Notre Dame, RB: The Irish O-line deserves more love, but I’m sure they don’t mind boosting the 6'2", 225-pound junior’s Heisman campaign. He went over 200 yards against a tough NC State defense, making it four games in a row with at least a 73-yard run. Adams now has seven runs of 60 yards or longer. Last year no one had more than five.

4. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB: Once again Mayfield burned his old school as he threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as Oklahoma thumped Texas Tech. Mayfield now has a 23–3 TD–INT ratio and has also scored four more times on the ground. Better still, when his team squared off against J.T. Barrett and Ohio State in Columbus, he was clearly the best player on the field.

5. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State, QB: He was brilliant leading OSU back against Penn State, going 33 of 39 for 328 yards and four TDs. He’s now gone six games without throwing an interception, and his 25–1 TD–INT clip is the best item on his résumé.