Even in his least productive performance — by far — of the season, Leonard Fournette impaled South Carolina’s defense for 158 yards and a touchdown, helping LSU jump out to its first 5-0 start since 2012 in a 45-24 rout.
That included an 87-yard yard, Heisman-worthy run that broke the game open with 14:01 remaining in the third quarter, giving the Tigers a 24-10 lead. Fournette averaged 3.7 yards on all other carries, but his ability to single-handedly change the dynamic of a game as such is why he’s the leading candidate here … and it’s not even close.
This was his first output without multiple scores. It was his lowest rushing total, and it was the second-lowest (20) touches he had coming out of the backfield (though he had a season-high three receptions). And yet, he became the fastest player in LSU school history to 1,000 yards — a program that has been playing football since 1893.
“It doesn’t really excite me. I’m just doing my job,” Fournette said of his latest milestone, according to ESPN. “You expect so much out of yourself, just to make plays for the team. It’s never about me. As you’ve seen with that [touchdown] run, they block for me. My job is to make one or two guys miss and get up the field.”
Don’t let anyone tell you that there is a candidate more qualified to win the Heisman Trophy — both on the field and off it — than Leonard Fournette.
Right now, it’s him and then everyone else.
What do you think of the rankings? Let us know in the comment section below, or follow @TodaysUSports to tell us how you really feel.
*A point system was assigned, giving 5 points for a player with a No. 1 vote, 4 points for a No. 2 vote, and so on.
The Big 3
1. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
2015 stats: 119 carries, 1,022 yards (8.6 ypc), 12 TD … 5 rec, 41 yards
Last week vs. South Carolina: 20 carries, 158 yards, TD … 3 rec, 25 yards
Why: I know it’s been repeated like a broken record, but it’s silly to think where Fournette’s stat line would be with that (canceled) McNeese State game under his belt. Fournette leads the nation in yards (1,022) by a large margin (148), yards per game (204.4), and is tied with Boise State’s Jeremy McNichols with 12 touchdowns. Throw in an average game against McNeese State, and we’re talking 1,226 yards and probably 15 scores … and that’d be with more than half the season to go.
2. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU
2015 stats: 139-of-218 (63.9 percent), 2,103 yards, 21 TD, 5 INT … 64 carries, 366 yards (5.7 ypc), 4 TD
Last week vs. Kansas State: 20-of-30 (66.7 percent), 301 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT … 11 carries, 124 yards (11.3 ypc), 2 TD
Why: Boykin may not be on Fournette’s level, but he certainly has his own tier when it comes to Heisman rankings. He’s separated himself from the rest of the pack as the second-leading candidate, and at this rate will undoubtedly be reserving a seat next to Fournette at the ceremony in December. With a 6-0 record at the midway point of the season, Boykin is on pace to reach nearly 5,000 yards of total offense and 50 touchdowns by the postseason.
3. Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State
2015 stats: 121 carries, 835 yards (6.9 ypc), 10 TD … 16 rec, 110 yards
Last week vs. Maryland: 21 carries, 106 yards (5.0 ypc), 2 TD … 6 rec, 47 yards
Why: For all the questions that have surrounded Ohio State’s validity as the No. 1 team through the first half of the season, Elliot has been the constant. He now has 11 straight 100-yard performances dating back to 2014, and should continue to be Urban Meyer’s workhorse whether the offense is clicking or not. Keep your eye on the Buckeyes’ matchup with Penn State this weekend, which ranks 26th nationally against the run.
In the Hunt
4. Seth Russell, QB, Baylor: 83-of-130 (63.8 percent), 1,527 yards, 22 TD, 5 INT … 27 carries, 178 yards (6.6 ypc), 4 TD
5. Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: 25 tackles (9.5 for loss), 7.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
6. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU: 50 rec, 877 yards (17.5 ypr), 10 TD
7. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: 88 carries, 792 yards (9.0 ypc), 8 TD … 7 rec, 71 yards, TD
8. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor: 31 rec, 678 yards (21.9 ypc), 13 TD … 8 carries, 32 yards (4.0 ypc)
Keep Your Eye on
9. C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame
10. Devontae Booker, RB, Utah
11. Cody Kessler, QB, USC
12. Keenan Reynolds, QB, Navy
13. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
14. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
15. Matt Johnson, QB, Bowling Green
(You can view last week’s edition of Hunting the Heisman here.)