SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ college football reporter Paul Myerberg breaks down the hottest headlines from Week 9.
USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during the first quarter against Texas Tech.(Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)
Had Penn State managed to close out Ohio State Saturday afternoon, the Heisman Trophy race might have been all but over. Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley might still win it, but he has a lot more company now for the final month of the season, including the guy largely responsible for the Buckeyes’ rally.
Barkley continues to lead the USA TODAY Network survey, comprised of 19 official Heisman electors who work for Gannett Properties. But Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield closed the gap considerably this week.
Barkley, who scored on a 97-yard kickoff return and a 36-yard run in the first half Saturday, still leads the nation in all-purpose yardage. But he was held to just 41 rushing yards for the game and was stopped behind the line of scrimmage on several occasions by the Buckeyes in the second half.
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Mayfield brought his season total to 23 touchdown pbades with four scoring tosses as the Sooners handled Texas Tech. He sports a stellar 72.5% completion rate and has been picked off only three times heading into this week’s Bedlam showdown with Oklahoma State.
Stanford running back Bryce Love is third in the survey this week. He remains the leading rusher in the country, though he missed last Thursday night’s game with an ankle injury as the Cardinal barely avoided an upset against Oregon State.
Meanwhile, Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett, who was nearly flawless in leading the Buckeyes comeback against the Nittany Lions, has entered the picture. He’d received no mentions since struggling in Ohio State’s Week 2 loss to Oklahoma but is fourth in this week’s survey with a couple of first-place votes.
Notre Dame running back Josh Adams, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts and Arizona quarterback Kahlil Tate are the only other players getting votes this week.