Heisman Watch: Stanford's Christian McCaffrey surges way into race
Through two weeks of the season, Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey looked nothing like a Heisman contender. He had amassed just 124 yards rushing and zero touchdowns.
However, things can change quickly in college football and McCaffrey serves as the latest proof.
McCaffrey has been dominant in Stanford’s last four games, rushing for 720 yards and five touchdowns while also playing roles in the receiving and return games.
What’s scary is that McCaffrey is getting better every week. His most recent performance is undoubtedly one of the best single-game performances from anyone this season.
|Games||Yards rushing||Yards per carry||Yards receiving||Return yards||Touchdowns|
|9/19 vs. USC||115||4.4||37||97||0|
|9/25 vs. Oregon State||206||6.9||38||59||0|
|10/3 vs. Arizona||156||9.2||11||93||1|
|10/15 vs. UCLA||243||9.7||4||102||4|
McCaffrey simply obliterated UCLA’s defense on Saturday, posting 243 yards on the ground, 369 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. McCaffrey’s yards rushing and all-purpose yards are both school records.
McCaffrey is one of the faster backs in all of college football and that was on full display Saturday night, with his 70-yard rushing touchdown out of the Wildcat and his 94-yard kick return serving as prime examples.
What helps make McCaffrey special, though, is that he’s more than just a scat back. Despite his smaller frame, he’s got the strength to get tough yardage, as he showed off at the end of his nine-yard touchdown run in the second quarter Saturday.
Thanks to this incredible four-game stretch, McCaffrey now has some of the best numbers in college football. His 844 yards rushing rank second in the Pac-12 and 10th overall in the nation. Again, considering he started the season with 124 yards through two games, those rankings are remarkable. Even more impressive: McCaffrey leads the country with 253 all-purpose yards per game and, frankly, no one’s even close to him. Heisman favorite and LSU running back Leonard Fournette ranks second with 209.67 yards per game.
With McCaffrey leading the way, the Cardinal are now 5-1 and ranked No. 10 in the nation. While a College Football Playoff run looked, to the say least, unlikely after its opening-season loss to Northwestern, Stanford is currently right in the mix to make football’s final four. Considering the role team success can play in Heisman voting, that’s huge for McCaffrey. Now, the Stanford running back has to be considered a top-10 Heisman candidate, and there’s absolutely potential for him to rise in the race. He’s hitting his stride, his team’s hitting their stride and they have a fairly easy schedule the rest of the season. That’s the perfect recipe for McCaffrey racing all the way to New York for the Heisman ceremony in December.
My top three:
Leonard Fournette, LSU, RB
Surprise, surprise. Fournette has been by far the best player in college football this season and has been the clear-cut Heisman favorite for the past month. After posting 180 yards rushing and two touchdowns against a stout Florida defense on Saturday, Fournette is up to an absurd 1,202 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns in six games this season. The Heisman is undoubtedly his to lose at this point.
Trevone Boykin, TCU, QB
Boykin had arguably his best game of the season Saturday against Iowa State, throwing for 436 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 74 yards and another score. He’s up to 2,054 yards passing, 25 passing touchdowns and four rushing scores. He’s been the best QB in college football this season, though it’s worth noting that fellow Big 12 signal caller Seth Russell isn’t too far behind.
Dalvin Cook, Florida State, RB
No. 10 Florida State (6-0) keeps winning and Dalvin Cook keeps being the reason why. The sophomore running back posted 163 yards rushing and two touchdowns on Saturday against Louisville, giving him 955 yards rushing on a whopping 8.7 yards per carry and 10 touchdowns. Cook’s play becomes even more impressive when considering that he’s been battling a hamstring injury since Week 5.
Related: CFB's Top Performers in Week 7