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With the key dates of the 2020 Heisman Trophy announced on Saturday (voting deadline of Dec. 21, finalists announced Dec. 24, winner announced Jan. 5, click here for full details), the race intensified during Week 11.
Some Heisman hopefuls had bye weeks. Some played for teams forced to postpone games due to Covid protocols. Among the high profile players sidelined Saturday were Ohio State QB Justin Fields, Alabama’s three-headed candidate in QB Mac Jones, RB Najee Harris and WR DeVonta Smith, BYU QB Zach Wilson, Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond, Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall, and Clemson’s QB Trevor Lawrence and RB Travis Etienne.
Among those who grabbed the available spotlight was Florida QB Kyle Trask, who completed 23 of 29 passes for 356 yards and six touchdowns in the Gators’ win over Arkansas, including 285 yards and 5 TDs in the first half.
CBS’s Dennis Dodd called Trask – whose 28 TD passes through six games is a SEC record – the Heisman frontrunner. As Dodd mentions, Trask’s two games with six TD passes already ties Heisman winner Danny Wuerffel’s Florida record for career games with that many aerial TDs.
“On the day when the Heisman announced the date of its ceremony (Jan. 5), Trask established himself as the man to beat. He has played six games this season — all against SEC opponents — and thrown 4+ touchdown passes in each of them.” – Dennis Dodd
The quarterback that kept Trask on the bench in high school, No. 9 Miami’s D’Eriq King, earned a slice of limelight Saturday in orchestrating the Hurricane’s 25-24 comeback win over Virginia Tech, earning this plaudit. A week earlier came this nugget.
Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder kept the Bearcats unbeaten and in the top 10, throwing for 327 yards and three scores on 24-of-31 passing in a 55-17 win over ECU, earning votes in The Athletics’ Top 10.
Speaking of QBs leading unbeaten ranked teams, Liberty QB Malik Willis continues to turn heads. He led the Chanticleers to an 8-0 start with a 306-yard-passing, 97-yard-rushing, five-TD-scoring effort against Western Carolina. He’s been the most elusive QB nationally according to this PFF stat.
And then there’s this on North Carolina’s QB from The Sporting News: “Sam Howell enters the (Heisman) chat”. The Tar Heel signal caller set school records for passing yards (550) and TD passes (six) on 32-of-45 passing leading (to go with one rushing score) UNC to a 59-53 win over Wake Forest. The stats tied him with a certain former ACC Heisman winner.
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book kept the Irish perfect, throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns while running for a game-high 85 yards and another score in their win over Boston College and TheSpun.com called him a Heisman contender.
Book hasn’t cornered the market on QB play in Indiana. Hoosier QB Michael Penix Jr. helped keep his squad perfect at 4-0 with a 320-yard, two-TD performance.
Penix Jr. will square off against the Buckeyes’ Fields this Saturday in a showdown of Big Ten Heisman candidates.