Quarterbacks Denard Robinson of Michigan and Terrelle Pryor of Ohio State remain in the lead pack for the Heisman Trophy. I'm keeping Wisconsin running back John Clay on my list for now, as he continues to churn out 100-yard rushing performances and score touchdowns. But Clay needs a big performance Saturday at No. 24 Michigan State to remain within striking distance.
There also are a few more names on the Heisman horizon.
Michigan QB Denard Robinson
Week 4 stat line: Five carries for 129 rush yards, 2 TDs; 4-for-4 passing, 60 yards in win against Bowling Green.
Chances: Still looking good. Although Robinson played less than a quarter because of a knee injury, look what he did in that quarter, racking up 189 yards of total offense. His electrifying cutback on a 47-yard touchdown run was replayed throughout the day, keeping Robinson very much in the discussion. Robinson still must prove he can play like this against better Big Ten competition, and the bigger question is whether he can stay healthy. The knee injury doesn't appear too severe, and Robinson has a chance to put up huge numbers this week against an Indiana defense that struggles to stop the run.
Up next: Saturday at Indiana
Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor
Week 4 stat line: 20-for-26 passing, 244 yards, 4 TDs; seven carries for 104 rush yards, 1 TD; one reception for a 20-yard touchdown in win against Eastern Michigan.
Chances: On the rise. Sure, he faced Eastern Michigan, but how many Heisman contenders accounted for six touchdowns and reached the end zone in three different ways? After a 12-for-27 passing performance against Miami, Pryor has been impressive in back-to-back weeks. He avoided the turnover against Eastern Michigan and displayed good accuracy in every game but Miami. The junior has risen to 13th nationally in pass efficiency with a rating of 167.2. Pryor hits the road this week to face an improved Illinois defense.
Up next: Saturday at Illinois
Wisconsin RB John Clay
Week 5 stat line: 15 carries, 118 yards, 1 TD in win against Austin Peay.
Chances: Needing a boost ASAP. Clay has eclipsed 100 rushing yards in each of his past 10 games, a streak that leads the nation. He also has scored at least one touchdown in 10 consecutive contests. So what's the problem? No one nationally is keeping track of him. Clay has been one of the nation's steadiest backs, but without a flashy performance against a good team, he'll have a hard time catching more dynamic players like Robinson. Power backs who don't have a run longer than 40 yards just aren't sexy in today's Heisman realm. Clay really needs a monster performance this week at Michigan State to put himself back in the race.