Heisman Watch: It's time to appreciate Iowa State RB Breece Hall

Iowa State running back Breece Hall has a fantastic chance to be the first Cyclone to finish in the top 10 of the Heisman voting since Troy Davis was second to Danny Wuerffel in 1996.

Iowa State is alone in first place in the Big 12 with two games to go in the season largely because of the performance of its star rusher. Hall is just one of two running backs — the other is Texas-San Antonio RB Sincere McCormick — to have over 1,000 yards rushing in this weird college football season. And Hall has been excellent in every single one of Iowa State’s games this season.

Hall has rushed for over 100 yards and has scored at least one touchdown in each of Iowa State’s eight games in 2020. He was fantastic again on Saturday in the Cyclones’ blowout of Kansas State when he rushed just 15 times for 135 yards and two scores. The rivalry-game win put Iowa State a game up on everyone else in the conference.

Hall has rushed for over 180 yards in two games and over 130 yards in every game since he ran for 103 yards in ISU’s season-opening loss to Louisiana. And he’s also averaged over five yards a carry in seven of ISU’s eight games. Hall is the nation’s leading rusher with 1,169 yards and has scored 15 rushing touchdowns on 180 carries.

Iowa State running back Breece Hall, right, fends off a tackle attempt by Baylor linebacker Matt Jones during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 38-31. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
Iowa State running back Breece Hall has rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2020. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

We told you last week that a quarterback is going to win the Heisman this year. And there’s no reason for that belief to waver. But if there’s going to be a non-quarterback finalist this year, Hall has the best chance of anyone.

Especially if Iowa State gets its first Big 12 title in school history. If Iowa State beats Texas on Friday and then West Virginia and (likely) Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game as Hall continues his 100-yard game streak, he’s going to be a trendy pick to be a Heisman finalist. And if he is, he’ll be the only other Iowa State player outside of Davis to be considered for the trophy.

Here’s our post-Week 12 view of the Heisman race, with odds via BetMGM.

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) passes against Vanderbilt in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask threw for three TDs against Vanderbilt. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

1. Kyle Trask (LW: 1)

Trask continued to dominate the SEC though he set a season low in the Gators win over Vanderbilt. Trask threw just three touchdown passes in the Gators’ 38-17 triumph. Ho hum. Trask was 26-of-35 passing for 383 yards — his third-highest yardage total of the season — and has now thrown 31 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Odds: -125

2. Justin Fields (LW: 2)

We seriously thought about moving Fields down after his performance against Indiana. But Trevor Lawrence didn’t play and Mac Jones didn’t have an eye-popping game. So Fields stays at No. 2 on the Heisman list this week despite throwing three interceptions against Indiana. The 12 incompletions he had against the Hoosiers was more than he had in the first three games combined (11), but that was a completion percentage that was inevitably going to decline. It was a matter of when, not if. Odds: +300

3. Trevor Lawrence (LW: 3)

What stats would Lawrence have piled up on Saturday? As you know by now, Clemson’s game vs. Florida State was called off hours before game time because a Clemson offensive lineman that traveled to the game tested positive for COVID-19. If Clemson plays as angry as head coach as Dabo Swinney has been in the days since the postponement, Lawrence and the offense should put up huge numbers against Pitt. Odds: +1400

4. Mac Jones (LW: 4)

Alabama made it look really easy in a 63-3 win over Kentucky on Saturday. Jones’ stats weren’t great, but they also didn’t have to be. Jones was 16-of-24 passing for 230 yards and threw two touchdowns to one interception. Crazily enough, Jones’ completion percentage vs. Kentucky (66.7 percent) was his lowest of the season. He’s still completing 77 percent of his passes. Odds: +300

5. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State (LW: NR)

Hall has been excellent without Iowa State being too over-reliant on him. He has just one game with over 30 total touches and has 20 or fewer carries in four of ISU’s eight games. Odds: Off the board

Also considered

Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

It was hard not to move Ridder into the top five after his performance against UCF. He was 21-of-32 passing for 338 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 14 times for 57 yards and two scores. Ridder now has 27 total touchdowns in 2020 and has rushed for 526 yards and thrown for 1,821 yards. Odds: Off the board

Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder looks for a receiver as Central Florida defensive back Corey Thornton (14) gives chase during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder now has 27 total TDs. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Wilson got a relative week off in BYU’s easy win over FCS opponent North Alabama. Wilson was 10-of-16 passing for 212 yards and four scores. BYU has just San Diego State remaining on the schedule. Will the Cougars add another good opponent? Odds: +2500

Ian Book, QB, Notre Dame

The Irish were off in Week 12. Book has a prime opportunity for a huge game against North Carolina on Friday. The Tar Heels defense is giving up 5.7 yards per play and over 260 yards passing per game. Odds: +10000

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