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Heisman Watch, Week 4: Big Ten running backs fall back while more QB’s enter mix

ACC and Big Ten passers have set themselves up for a chance at college football’s most prestigious individual honor.

Villanova v Penn State
Sean Clifford of the Penn State Nittany Lions throws before the game against the Villanova Wildcats at Beaver Stadium on September 25, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Week 4 featured two top-10 teams going down, with No. 4 Oklahoma coming a few plays away from being the third. Michigan State had a scare against Nebraska and North Carolina was crushed by Georgia Tech. The college football landscape got a big jolt this week and the Heisman race is no different. Here’s a look at contenders after Week 4. All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Sam Hartman, QB, Wake Forest

Stock: Up

Hartman and the Demon Deacons were going up against Heisman contender Brennan Armstrong of Virginia, but it was the Wake Forest quarterback who emerged from this showdown with better odds. He threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-17 victory over the Cavaliers, moving Wake Forest to 4-0 on the season. The ACC is there for the taking this year and Clemson just got bounced by NC State. This could be Hartman and Wake Forest’s year.

Sean Clifford, QB, Penn State

Stock: Up

Clifford already has a signature win under his belt when the Nittany Lions took down Auburn in Week 3. He added to his impressive stats with 401 yards and four touchdowns in a comfortable win over Villanova. Penn State gets a relatively light contest next week against Indiana before a massive showdown with No. 5 Iowa. Clifford’s resume stacks up well so far and he’ll have a chance to add to it. The quarterback is +4000 to win the honor.

Tank Bigsby, RB, Auburn

Stock: Down

Auburn had a huge scare against Georgia State, ultimately winning by 10 points due to a late touchdown and a pick-6. Bigsby was pedestrian in the game, putting up 60 yards on 18 carries. This is the type of opponent Auburn should comfortable handle with its power running game but Bigsby couldn’t take over. Given fellow teammate Jarquez Hunter’s superior performance, it’s tough to see Bigsby (+10000) keep pace in this race.

Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland

Stock: Up

Tua’s little brother is making noise in College Park. Don’t look now, but the Terrapins are 4-0 heading into a massive conference matchup with Iowa in Week 5. After throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns, Tagovailoa has the Terps looking good early in the season. There’s some marquee games to navigate, but the numbers are there for the gunslinger at Maryland.

Tyler Goodson, RB, Iowa

Stock: Down

A week after entering this watch, Goodson (+10000) turned in a poor performance against Colorado State. The running back only managed 57 yards on 18 carries and failed to find the endzone. It’s hard for a Hawkeye to get Heisman buzz as it is and Goodson’s Week 4 performance doesn’t help his cause. Iowa has a tricky matchup with Maryland before a huge conference clash with Penn State. Those games will determine Goodson’s and Iowa’s fate this season.

Malik Cunningham, QB, Louisville

Stock: Up

Cunningham had a rough start to the season against Ole Miss but has turned things around to have the Cardinals in the conference mix. He had 320 total yards and four total touchdowns in a 31-23 win over Florida State, moving Louisville to 3-1 on the season. The Cardinals get a surging Wake Forest team next week in what becomes another chance for Cunningham (+15000) to make his Heisman case. The schedule is manageable and the talent is there.

Blake Corum, RB, Michigan

Stock: Down

Corum remains Michigan’s primary running back and there’s always an opportunity for him to break out given the team’s style this season, but the 20-13 win over Rutgers left a lot to be desired. Fellow running back Hassan Haskins scored both touchdowns, leaving Corum to put up an ordinary stat line of 68 yards on 21 carries. The running back is currently +5000 to win the award but will need a big game at Wisconsin next week to truly get back into the thick of this race.