Week 5 is in the books, and several leading Heisman candidates only built upon their case to be included in award discussions as the calendar flips to October.
Clemson’s quarterback issues pushed running back Travis Etienne into the spotlight, as he helped Clemson rally past Syracuse. Several marquee quarterbacks got to work quickly, putting up big numbers early in the first half of their games.
Here's how some of the top candidates fared in Week 5:
Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray was on fire on Saturday as No. 6 Oklahoma rolled to a 66–33 win over Baylor.
Murray did not start for the Sooners due to a disciplinary issue. After arriving late to a team meeting on Friday, Murray began the game on the bench while backup QB Austin Kendall took the field. Murray entered in the second series to lead the Sooners' first TD drive and never looked back.
With the Sooners ahead 28–9 at halftime, Murray had already thrown four touchdown passes. Murray went 17-of-21 with 432 passing yards and six touchdowns and added one touchdown on the ground, finishing with 10 carries for 45 yards.
On Saturday, Murray became the first Big 12 quarterback with at least six passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in a game since Texas Tech's Graham Harrell in 2012, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Clemson RB Travis Etienne
Sophomore running back Travis Etienne carried No. 3 Clemson to a last-minute 27–23 win over Syracuse.
With 41 seconds left on the clock, Etienne's two-yard run gave the Tigers the lead after a 94-yard, fourth-quarter scoring drive.
Clemson suffered a setback in the second quarter when quarterback Travis Lawrence left the game after taking a shot to the head. With less than 13 minutes left and Syracuse ahead 23–13, Clemson rallied with a pair of touchdowns. Etienne scored on a 26-yard run to cut the lead to 23–20. Then the Tigers, led by backup QB Chase Brice, put together the late drive that may prove to be the defining moment of their season.
On Saturday, Etienne rushed for a career-high 203 yards on 27 carries with three touchdowns. Clemson uses a stable of running backs, which works against Etienne’s Heisman case, but Etienne proved on Saturday that he can carry a huge load whenever the Tigers are next tested.
West Virginia QB Will Grier
Will Grier continued to boost his Heisman campaign with a strong performance Saturday in West Virginia's 42–34 win over No. 25 Texas Tech.
Grier threw for 370 yards, with 198 of those coming in the first quarter. The Mountaineers grabbed an early 21–0 lead with Grier's 13-yard pass to Gary Jennings and a 45-yarder to Marcus Simms.
He overthrew receivers twice near the goal line to miss easy scoring opportunities for West Virginia, but Grier posted a solid day's work, going 27-of-41 with three touchdowns.
Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa
In a game that was over 10 minutes in, Tagovailoa delivered a perfect performance in No. 1 Alabama's 56–14 victory over Louisiana at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Tagovailoa completed all eight of his passes attempts for 128 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore quarterback also recorded two carries for 12 yards, then backup Jalen Hurts took over before halftime.
The Crimson Tide cruised to an early 28–0 lead in the first quarter after Tagovailoa connected with wide receiver Jerry Jeudy on a 24-yard pass to move the chains. Tagovailoa later ran for 10 yards on second-and-two to secure the first down before running back Josh Jacobs's one-yard touchdown run.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, no quarterback has had a higher quarterback rating through five games in the last 15 seasons than Tagovailoa's 97.9 QBR.
Penn State QB Trace McSorley
Trace McSorley dominated in the air and on the ground, but it wasn't enough as No. 9 Penn State fell to No. 4 Ohio State 27–26 at Happy Valley on Saturday night.
With Penn State ahead 3–0 early in the first quarter, McSorley showed off his wheels with a 51-yard run for a first down. However, the drive resulted in a 46-yard missed field goal. On third-and-13 in the fourth quarter, it appeared that McSorley scored on a 13-yard run but he fell just shy of the end zone. McSorley then connected with tight end Pat Freiermuth on a two-yard touchdown pass in the end zone.
McSorley finished the night with 175 rushing yards on 25 carries. He also went 16-for-32 with 286 yards and two touchdowns in the air.
UCF QB McKenzie Milton
For the second straight week, Milton accounted for six touchdowns in an out-of-conference romp for the Knights. After throwing for three and running for three against Florida Atlantic last Friday, he threw for four and ran for two in an easy 45–14 win over Pitt in Orlando.
Milton’s three interceptions this year all came in a 38–0 win over South Carolina State. If he remains near-perfect against FBS competition and UCF remains perfect, he should be able to play his way to New York.