2019 Heisman Watch: Jalen Hurts takes the early lead

With the first week of College Football almost complete, there’s already a tight race toward the Heisman trophy. Several players made a statement with their first performance of the year, but one player in particular stood out among the rest. 

Jalen Hurts
Jalen Hurts at media day, 2018” by Thomson200 is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal

The Oklahoma Sooners have had two straight Heisman winners at the quarterback position. Since transferring to Oklahoma, quarterback Jalen Hurts has been on a mission to become the third straight Heisman winner for the Sooners.

In their first game of the 2019 season, the Oklahoma Sooners defeated the Houston Cougars 49-31. Not only did the Sooners walk away with a victory, but they also walked away with the leading candidate to win the Heisman trophy.

In an incredible performance, Hurts finished the game against Houston with 508 total yards and six total touchdowns. Through the air, Hurts completed 20 of 23 passes (87%) for 332 yards and three touchdowns. His stats through the air may be the biggest reason he’s taken the early lead in the Heisman race, as many have labeled Hurts as more of a runner than passer. While running is a big part of his game, Hurts proved he’s much more than a guy who can make plays with his legs.

 

Speaking of his legs, Hurts ran the ball 16 times against the Cougars, resulting in 176 yards and another three touchdowns. One of the biggest reasons Kyler Murray won the Heisman trophy last season was because of his ability to make electrifying plays with his arm and legs. Hurts showed everyone he’s just as capable as Murray. His performance was incredible, making him a must watch player for the rest of the season.

But wait, there’s more! With his 508 total yards, Hurts set the school record for most yards by a player in their debut. An electrifying performance, along with setting a school record, puts Hurts at the top of the Heisman race. It always helps your Heisman campaign when you break records along the way.

 

The other guys

While Hurts has taken the early lead, we can’t forget about the other candidates who started off their Heisman campaigns on the right foot.

Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor: 16 carries for 135 yards, an 8.4 YPC average and two touchdowns. Two receptions for 48 yards and two touchdowns. 183 total yards and four total touchdowns.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa: 26 of 31 (83.9%) for 336 yards and four touchdowns. Five carries for 15 yards. 351 total yards.

Ohio State QB Justin Fields: 18 of 25 (72.0%) for 234 yards and four touchdowns. 12 carries for 61 yards and one touchdown. 295 total yards and five total touchdowns.

Clemson RB Travis Etienne: 12 carries for 205 yards, a 17.1 YPC average and three touchdowns. One reception for three yards. 208 total yards.

Taylor, Tagovailoa, Fields and Etienne all made a case for themselves in the Heisman race, but none of them had more total yards or touchdowns than Hurts. Hurts had one more touchdown than the next guy (Justin Fields) and 157 more total yards (Tua Tagovailoa).

Each of these Heisman candidates have just one game under their belts. There’s still a lot of College Football left to be played, but Jalen Hurts has the early advantage in the Heisman race. Can he make it three straight Heisman winners for the Sooners?

 

 

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