This weekend is Marcus Mariota’s time to shine.
Stanford has been a thorn in Oregon’s side and Mariota has been just OK in the past two contests between the teams, which has contributed to the Ducks' losses. This Stanford team isn’t as good as the past two, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be ready and waiting to make Mariota look average again. It seems like this game is always the one that knocks Mariota out of Heisman contention. If he can shine against the Cardinal the way he has against almost every other opponent this season, he’ll give Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott a run for his money.
Here’s Dr. Saturday’s Heisman Watch for Week 10:
Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State: Not surprisingly, Mississippi State had a little trouble with Kentucky, but the Bulldogs managed to escape. Prescott accounted for 304 total yards and three touchdowns, but he also threw his third interception in the past two games and fumbled twice (though he recovered both). Saturday’s game against Arkansas should be interesting. The Razorbacks haven’t played a lot of defense this season, so Prescott should have the ability to put points on the board, but he’ll also be under pressure to keep up with the sometimes-potent Arkansas offense.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin: Week in and week out, Melvin Gordon doesn’t disappoint. He continues to be the majority of the Badgers' offense with 1,168 yards and 17 touchdowns, including three against Maryland last weekend. There’s no reason to think Gordon is going to slow down this weekend against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are allowing 178.3 yards per game on the ground, which is 12 yards more than Gordon’s season average.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Oregon got into a shootout with Cal last Friday, but Mariota had little trouble moving the ball against the Bears' porous defense. While he had five touchdowns, he also threw his first interception of the season and it was in the end zone, no less. Things will definitely get more difficult this weekend against Stanford. The Cardinal has been the Ducks' Achilles' heel the past couple of years, and this will be the best defense the Ducks have faced all season. Stanford is second in the country, allowing just 250.6 yards and 12.5 points per game.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska: It might be time to Fear Ameer. After rushing for 225 yards and three touchdowns against Rutgers last week, it’s clear Abdullah needs consideration for the bronze statue. He leads the country in rushing with 1,249 yards, and like Melvin Gordon, he should be able to continue to pad his stats against a Big Ten that hasn’t figured out how to stop the run. Purdue, this week’s opponent, is allowing 173.8 rushing yards per game and 16 of the team’s 30 offensive touchdowns allowed have been on the ground.
Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU: While Boykin’s seven-touchdown performance against Texas Tech last week certainly piqued the interest of everyone around the country, he’s been putting up stellar numbers all season and he has the Horned Frogs on the cusp of the College Football Playoff top six. Now we’ll see how grounded Boykin and his teammates are. West Virginia shouldn’t be a challenge on defense, but the Mountaineers can score. Boykin will have to be at the top of his game again if he wants to keep up.
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