Heisman Watch: Week 12

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Baker Mayfield

Oklahoma quarterback, #6

If there was any doubt in critics’ minds, there shouldn’t be any now. Baker Mayfield carved up the best defense in the Big 12, throwing for 333 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-20 defeat of then-No. 6 TCU, leaving no doubt as to who the king of the conference is.

In a conference dominated by the air-raid offense, TCU proved to be Oklahoma’s toughest test to date. With the win, the redshirt senior improved to 9–0 as a Sooner in November, further cementing his reputation as one of college football’s finest players.

After a torrid stretch of games, Mayfield and the Sooners face a favorable matchup against the one-win Kansas Jayhawks. Coming into the matchup as 37-point favorites, there shouldn’t be too much competition in Lawrence, Kansas.

Bryce Love

Stanford running back, #20

It may have taken a week, but Bryce Love has found his stride again. The junior back ran wild against then-No. 12 Washington, picking up 166 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-22 win. Love also showed off his workhorse capabilities, tallying 30 carries on the night.

Love turned in his best output since his 301 yard outing against Arizona State in late September. In four games against AP-ranked opponents, Love has averaged 136.7 yards per game, and with just two games remaining, the Cardinal could use a heavy dose of his rushing to claim the Pac-12 North title.

Awaiting the Cardinal this weekend is the California juggernaut. The Golden Bears, although a mediocre 5–5, can hang with and steal games from opponents, and Love and the Cardinal will be well aware of that come Saturday.

Khalil Tate

Arizona quarterback, #14

Tate’s meteoric rise into the thick of the Heisman conversation continued for yet another week. The dynamic quarterback threw for 68 yards and rushed for 206 yards and two scores in a 49-28 win over Oregon State.

Last weekend’s game also marked Tate’s sixth-straight game with over 100 rushing yards, pushing him to 1,293 rushing yards on the season. Tate has breathed new life into an a Wildcat team that has otherwise struggled this season, keeping it in the hunt for a Pac-12 division title.

Tate and the Wildcats will travel to Eugene, Oregon to take on Oregon this weekend. Autzen Stadium is always a tough place to play for visiting teams, and Tate should be ready to take on — and run through — yet another test this season.

Johnathan Taylor

Wisconsin running back, #23

Just as Love did earlier this season, Taylor has been quietly good for Wisconsin thus far. The freshman back carried the ball for 157 yards on 29 carries, pacing the Badgers to a 38-14 win over an upset-happy Iowa team.

Out of nine games played this season, Taylor has failed to rush for over 100 yards in only two of them. His knack for being persistent on the ground — averaging almost 20 touches per game — has helped him have the third highest rushing total in the country and placed his team into the middle of the College Football Playoff picture.

The Badgers will host No. 24 Michigan at Camp Randall, in what should prove to be an interesting matchup on both sides. Michigan comes into this game as winners of three straight, while Wisconsin looks to maintain its unblemished record.