Lattimore's Heisman push: Untouchable

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Marcus Lattimore's Week 2 performance against Georgia pushed him to the top of the Heisman race.

In order in to win a Heisman Trophy, college players must find ways to separate themselves from the competition. Each week, they are presented with one opportunity to showcase their skills and impress voters. One bad game can end a player’s Heisman aspirations, and one good performance can vault a player into the national spotlight. In Week 2, we saw several outstanding performances by potential Heisman candidates. Here are the top six.

(1) Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina Gamecocks

Lattimore ran for 176 yards on 27 carries in South Carolina’s 45-42 win against the Georgia Bulldogs. It was Lattimore’s sixth career 100-yard rushing game and his second this season. The Bulldogs literally could not touch Lattimore, as 111 of his 176 yards came before contact. Lattimore finished the game with five rushes of 10 yards or longer. He now has 38 such rushes in SEC play since the start of 2010, the most by any player.

(2) Darron Thomas, Oregon Ducks

Thomas tied a school-record with six touchdown passes in Saturday’s win against the Nevada Wolf Pack. His 303.1 passer rating was the eighth 300+ passer rating game since 2004 (min. 15 attempts) and the first since Sept. 29, 2009 when Tulsa’s G.J. Kinne posted one against Sam Houston State. Five of Thomas’ touchdowns passes were plays of 20 yards or longer. That tied for the most such touchdown passes by any player since 2004 (with eight others) and the most since former Georgia QB Joe Cox did it against Arkansas on Sept. 19, 2009.

(3) Denard Robinson, Michigan Wolverines

Robinson threw for 338 yards and four touchdowns in Michigan’s thrilling 35-31 victory against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Robinson stepped up on Saturday when the Wolverines needed him most. With his team trailing by 17 after three quarters, Robinson accounted for four touchdowns (three pass, one rush) and threw for 202 yards in the final quarter as Michigan pulled off the comeback.

(4) Andrew Luck, Stanford Cardinal

Luck matched his career high by throwing four touchdown passes in Stanford’s 44-14 victory against the Duke Blue Devils. Luck used run fakes to open up his passing game, completing nine of 13 throws for three touchdowns and no interceptions on play-action passes. Since the start of the 2010 season, Luck has completed 71.8 percent of his passes for 12 touchdowns and no interceptions after a run fake.

(5) Russell Wilson, Wisconsin Badgers

Wilson completed 81.0 percent of his passes in the Badgers’ 35-0 victory against the Oregon State Beavers. He was especially effective on third down, completing 10 of 11 passes for seven first downs and three touchdowns. Additionally, he had a 14-yard scramble on third down in the second quarter. It was his 14th rushing first down on third-and five-plus since the start of last season, most in FBS.

(6) Vick Ballard, Mississippi State Bulldogs

Ballard ran for 135 yards on 21 carries in Mississippi State’s 41-34 loss to the Auburn Tigers. Ballard did his best to lead a comeback. With his team trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter, Ballard ran for 94 yards and a touchdown to lead the Bulldogs to within inches of keeping Auburn from extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 17 games. Ballard’s touchdown was his 11th in his last five games.