With only one week of regular season football remaining, Kyler Murray continues to close the gap between him and Tua Tagovailoa. With a strong performance against West Virginia, things could get interesting. Here's how the Heisman race is shaping up heading into Week 12.
#13 Tua Tagovailoa, quarterback, No. 1 Alabama
Tagovailoa should’ve had one of his easiest games of the season this weekend. Alabama was playing The Citadel, an FCS team, at home. Instead, he and the Crimson Tide found themselves in a 10-10 game at the half. Whatever funk the Tide were in during the first half of play, Tagovailoa brought them out of it in the second half. He finished with over 350 total yards that led to four touchdowns as Alabama eventually rolled to a 50-17 final.
Usually, the halves are reversed — the first half would be the one with the explosive plays and high-octane offense, and the second is filled with calmness and care-free laughs on the bench. Nevertheless, the end goal of victory was achieved in great fashion. As the season comes to a close, Tagovailoa’s spot at the top isn’t in imminent danger of being snatched, but there is still room for arguments to be made for other players.
#1 Kyler Murray, quarterback, No. 6 Oklahoma
As great as Tagovailoa has been this year, every week Murray seems to do something that we’ve never seen before. As the unquestioned leader of the Sooners’ juggernaut of an offense, he is the focal point for the unit at a much higher rate than other top offenses in the country. He also has to overcome a near nonexistent defense.
On Saturday, Murray got into a shootout with the 3–8 Kansas Jayhawks, eventually outscoring them 55-40.
In the win, Murray had two touchdowns through the air and three more on the ground.
Murray has consistently been second in the Heisman race this entire season. However, he should be seen as a legitimate 11th-hour threat for the Heisman. Most candidates have their “Heisman moment” in a marquee matchup. But somehow, Kyler Murray can turn any play into a Heisman moment. If Murray is able to get a few first place votes, it shouldn’t shock anyone.
#7 Will Grier, quarterback, No. 12 West Virginia
Grier had a tough night on Saturday. His Mountaineers fell to Oklahoma State, 45-41, meaning next week’s matchup against Oklahoma
is a must-win if West Virginia wants to get to the Big 12 Championship. Grier and the Mountaineers had a 31-14 lead in the third quarter and blew it. Grier had a good game, but he also made costly mistakes. He threw for 364 yards and two touchdowns but also had a fumble that sparked the
comeback for the Cowboys.
Grier now has to play flawless football next week when he goes against Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners. His team’s successes, as well as his own interests, are on the line going into the
final week of the season.
#16 Gardner Minshew, quarterback, No. 7 Washington State
Heisman candidates at the beginning of the year rarely match the ones at the end. Gardner Minshew is a perfect example of that.
This past week, Minshew showed off his abilities in a 69-28 rout of Arizona. He had an astonishing 473 passing yards and seven touchdowns. He is one of the best pure passers in the country, and now he’s finally showing the country what Washington State fans have been witnessing all season.
The graduate transfer has played exceptionally for the Cougars this year, leading them to the top of the Pac-12 and to their first 10-win season since 2003. Minshew has crept up the Heisman ladder late but can still make a definite impact come December.