Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield was already considered one of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy entering Week 10, but his performance against in-state rival Oklahoma State in Stillwater this Saturday has elevated him to the clear frontrunner.
Mayfield completed 24-of-36 passes for a whopping 598 yards in a 62-52 shootout win and threw five touchdowns to two interceptions. The Sooners senior quarterback also accounted for another score on the ground and surpassed 300 yards passing for the seventh time this season.
No. 5 Oklahoma improved to 8-1 on the season with the Bedlam victory, and Mayfield currently holds the second most passing yards (3,226) in the FBS, trailing only Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph.
The Sooners 6-foot-1, 220-pound quarterback has thrown 28 touchdowns to five interceptions on the year and is averaging an FBS-best 11.9 yards per pass attempt this season. Mayfield is not only putting up incredible numbers but continually pulls out clutch plays with both his arm and feet when needed.
Oklahoma has won the Big 12 in both of Mayfield’s first two seasons under center in Norman and will likely need to claim a third in 2017 if they hope to make the College Football Playoff. Mayfield will also need to lead the Sooners to wins over TCU, Kansas, and West Virginia if he hopes to hoist college football’s most coveted individual award.
While Mayfield separated himself from Heisman contenders Saquon Barkley, Bryce Love, J.T. Barrett, and Josh Adams with his play in Week 10, he isn’t a lock to take home the award.
Former LSU running back Leonard Fournette was considered the Heisman frontrunner in 2015 before a meeting with Alabama in early November. That game significantly impacted the outcome of the Heisman race that year, as Fournette was stonewalled by the Tide’s defense, while Alabama running back Derrick Henry pole-vaulted himself to the top of the list.
Henry would go on to win the award that season, amassing 543 yards and five touchdowns in the program’s final three regular season games.
Mayfield may have himself in better positioning for the Heisman than Fournette did in 2015, but it just goes to show how quickly things can change in college football.