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Big Ten Heisman Watch: Week 7

10/11/2011

There isn't much movement in the Big Ten Heisman Watch this week.

Wisconsin was off in Week 6, so Russell Wilson didn't get a chance to add to his Heisman résumé. Michigan's Denard Robinson remains a candidate, and his second-half heroics against Northwestern helped his stock. Robinson finished with 337 yards passing and 117 yards rushing, scoring twice each on the ground and through the air, in another outstanding statistical performance.

But will voters be able to overlook Robinson's nine interceptions so far? To put that in perspective, Wilson, Stanford's Andrew Luck, Boise State's Kellen Moore and Baylor's Robert Griffin III have seven interceptions combined this season. Shoelace does amazing things and practically carries his team to victory, so his mistakes can be forgiven. He's going to put up amazing numbers, and as long as Michigan keeps winning, he'll be in the conversation. But he simply must cut down on the turnovers with so many other efficient quarterbacks playing at a high level across the country.

Some readers have asked me whether Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins could get into the Heisman race. He is having a remarkable season, and Illini officials pointed out this week that Jenkins is responsible for a higher percentage of his team's receiving yards than any other player in the FBS. However, it is all but impossible for a receiver to win the Heisman, and Jenkins' stats likely won't approach the monster years that guys like Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Crabtree put up in their best years. Neither of those guys took home the statue. Michigan's Desmond Howard pulled it off, but he was a top-flight return man as well, which Jenkins is not right now.

Jenkins' teammate, quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, probably has a better chance of getting in the mix if Illinois can stay unbeaten. Scheelhaase's mixture of running and passing makes him like a slightly-lesser statistical version of Robinson, without all the turnovers.