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Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Griffin throws himself into Heisman race

By Toby Petitpas, Sharon Katz, Gil Bransford, and Nate Salinas

In order to win a Heisman Trophy, candidates must find a way to separate themselves from the competition. Each week, they are presented with one opportunity to showcase their skills and impress voters. One bad game can end a player’s Heisman aspirations, while one good performance can vault a player into the national spotlight. In Week 4, we saw several outstanding performances by potential Heisman Trophy candidates. Here are the candidates who helped themselves the most.

(1) Robert Griffin III, Baylor Bears
Robert Griffin III continued his stellar play Saturday in a win against the Rice Owls, totaling a career-high six touchdowns (five passing, one rushing). Griffin now has more touchdown passes (13) this season than he does incomplete passes (12). Griffin has been especially dangerous throwing the ball downfield, completing 15 of his 20 throws that have traveled 15 yards in the air or longer for eight touchdowns, including three Saturday against Rice.

(2) LaMichael James, Oregon Ducks
LaMichael James ran for 288 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon’s victory over the Arizona Wildcats, setting a new school records for both yards in a game and career touchdowns. James shed tackles all game long, racking up a career-high 187 yards after contact. James also had five rushes of over 20 yards, giving him 43 for his career, eight more than anybody else during that same time span.

(3) Trent Richardson, Alabama Crimson Tide
Trent Richardson ran for 126 yards on 17 carries and caught three passes for 85 yards in a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday. His 211 yards from scrimmage was a career-high. The Razorbacks could not handle him between the tackles, where Richardson ran for 103 yards on 12 carries, including four rushes of 10 yards or longer. In the third quarter, Richardson showed his versatility by taking a screen pass 61 yards for a touchdown. It was his third touchdown from scrimmage of over 50 yards this season, tied for second most in FBS.

(4) Russell Wilson, Wisconsin Badgers
Russell Wilson only needed three quarters against South Dakota Coyotes to become the first Wisconsin quarterback to throw for 300-plus yards in back-to-back games since Jim Sorgi in 2003. Wilson has now thrown for three touchdowns in three straight games and has the second highest pass efficiency rating in the country. Wilson excelled with two tight ends on the field Saturday, completing 13 of his 16 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Overall, seven of his 11 touchdown passes this season have come out of a 2-plus tight end set.

(5) Denard Robinson, Michigan Wolverines
Denard Robinson ran for 200 yards and tied a career-high with three rushing touchdowns in Michigan’s win over the San Diego State Aztecs. It was his third career 200-yard rushing game and his first at the Big House. Robinson did most of his damage on designed running plays. The Wolverines called Robinson’s number 19 times and he delivered with 190 yards and three touchdowns.

(6) Kellen Moore, Boise State Broncos
Kellen Moore passed for 279 yards and four touchdowns in Boise State’s home opener versus the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. It was his 16th straight game with at least two touchdown passes and his 12th straight 200-plus yard passing game. Moore was especially efficient on third and fourth down on Saturday, completing 7-of-9 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown.

(7) Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina Gamecocks
Marcus Lattimore had 150 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in a win against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday. Lattimore faced eight or more defenders in the box on 12 of his 20 rushing attempts. With the line of scrimmage stacked against him, Lattimore showed that he could contribute in others ways. The sophomore hauled in three receptions for 73 yards, including a 52-yard touchdown.

For exclusive video, stories and blogs about quarterbacks from every level of competition, check out ESPN's "Year of the Quarterback" page.