Forgive me for being Debbie Downer here, but lets can the current Mason Rudolph for Heisman talk for now.
It’s not because he doesn’t deserve national accolades after last season and the first two games of this young season. It’s not because others may be out-performing him on the field so far.
It’s simply because Heisman trophies are never won in the first two weeks of the season.
Los Angeles' famed quarterback duo of Drew Rosen (UCLA) and Sam Darnold (USC) had rough first outings that would've eliminated some contenders only to bounce back with solid victories and statlines in Week 2.
Did you see what Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson did this weekend? Each took care of business on the road this weekend and demonstrated he has what it takes to win the award. Both were in the running last year, and Jackson actually walked away with the famed trophy awarded to the nation’s best player.
But, neither frontrunner laid claim to the trophy yet. Nobody has that opportunity yet. Plenty of football is left to be played. Rudolph (and even Sinor) will have every chance to showcase his talents and receive the call to New York’s Heisman presentation. It’s just not going to happen in two weeks. We need to be rational about his Heisman chances.
For comparison, let’s look at where OSU’s newly crowned all-time passing leader has fared in the early parts of this season and last year:
Through two games last season, Rudolph went 45-68 for 477 yards and four touchdowns, with only one interception. The Cowboys were headed into the Pittsburgh matchup with a 1-1 record (2-0 if you ask Mike Gundy). No matter how the rest of the season went (even had OSU won Bedlam and the Big XII title), the end to the CMU game would loom large in voters' minds.
Forgetting the officiating miscue, everyone remembers the "final" play of that game. But the same number of people would also know the play that led to it. You know, the one where the junior quarterback drops back and heaves the ball high and downfield in order to run out the last few seconds.
Whether the call on the field or the ensuing chaos was justifiable or not, it's hard for voters to get the video of a veteran QB making a "mistake" for all the world to see over and over and over again.
Rudolph finished the campaign with great numbers: lots of yards, a number of touchdowns, and very few interceptions. But there would've been almost nothing he could've to compensate for that play.
This year, with Pittsburgh again next up on the schedule, Rudolph has been much more impressive. He’s tossed for 638 yards and six touchdowns with a better completion percentage (72.6) and no INTs, though the fumble against Tulsa led directly to points for the Golden Hurricane. According to ESPN’s Total QBR data, Rudolph sits third in the country behind Vanderbilt’s Kyle Shurmur and the aforementioned Mayfield.
Plus, the Cowboys are undefeated on the young season. That doesn't hurt.
To this point, Rudolph’s been everything head coach Mike Gundy has expected of his veteran leader, and his name will continue to garner recognition across the country the more the Cowboys play well and win, especially on national broadcasts.
Once again, the nation will get to see Rudolph and company on the field when they travel to Pitt this weekend for an 11:00 kickoff against the Panthers. It should provide another chance for this team to legitimize its Top 10 ranking and allow individual stars—especially Rudolph—to continue to make a name for themselves.
There are still ten, and if all goes well 11, games left on the schedule. So let’s just cool it with the Heisman talk for now.