The 2015 Heisman Trophy tracker, week 8: Another injury shakes up the race

Week 8 of the college football season brought some wild finishes, a couple of shocking outcomes and an injury that could derail championship dreams for one of the best teams in the country. It also provided plenty of star power as some of the game’s biggest and brightest had big performances in carrying their teams to victory.

Here is my ranking of the top contenders for the Heisman Trophy after the eighth weekend.

Just missed the cut

Cody Kessler, quarterback, senior, USC

Kessler had a nice showing as the Trojans beat the Utah Utes 42-24. He completed 21 of 28 passes for 264 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown while adding a rushing score. On the season, he has completed 69.3 percent of his throws for 2,082 yards and 18 touchdowns in seven games.

Up next is a battle with Cal on Saturday.

Daniel Braverman, wide receiver, junior, Western Michigan

Braverman was very productive as the Broncos beat Miami (Ohio) 35-13. He had 13 receptions for 135 yards, including touchdowns of 6 and 5 yards. On the season, he has caught 75 passes for 849 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven games.

Up next is a Thursday night matchup with Eastern Michigan.

Matt Breida, running back, junior, Georgia Southern

Breida had a slow night as the Eagles lost to Appalachian State 31-13 on Thursday. He carried the ball 14 times for 78 yards. On the season, he has 99 carries for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven games.

Up next is another Thursday night game against Texas State.

The list

25. JuJu Smith-Schuster, wide receiver, sophomore, USC

Smith-Schuster had another big performance as the Trojans beat Utah 42-24. He caught eight passes for 143 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown. On the season, he has 47 catches for 901 yards and eight touchdowns in seven games.

Up next is a Pac-12 matchup with Cal on Saturday.

24. Royce Freeman, running back, sophomore, Oregon

Freeman and the Ducks had the week off to prepare for a tough Pac-12 road game. On the season, he has carried the ball 150 times for 997 yards and nine touchdowns with 15 receptions for 179 yards and two scores in seven games.

Up next is a matchup with Arizona State on Thursday.

23. Dak Prescott, quarterback, senior, Mississippi State

Prescott got it done through the air and on the ground as the Bulldogs beat Kentucky 42-16. He completed 25 of 35 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns. He added 13 carries for 117 yards and three more scores in the running game. On the season, he has completed 66.5 percent of his throws for 2,048 yards and 14 touchdowns with 371 yards and seven scores on the ground in eight games.

Up next is bye before a battle with Missouri.

22. Tyler Ervin, running back, senior, San Jose State

Ervin had a monster day as the Spartans knocked off New Mexico 31-21. He carried the ball 36 times for 263 yards and a touchdown. He added two catches for 11 yards. On the season, he has 193 carries for 1,159 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with 30 receptions for 232 yards and two more scores in eight games.

Up next is a bye before a matchup with BYU.

21. Baker Mayfield, quarterback, junior, Oklahoma

Mayfield had a solid afternoon as the Sooners crushed Texas Tech 63-27. He completed 15 of 22 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. On the season, he has completed 67.5 percent of his throws for 2,087 yards and 21 touchdowns with 182 yards and four scores on the ground in seven games.

Up next is a Big 12 matchup with Kansas on Saturday.

20. Brandon Doughty, quarterback, senior, Western Kentucky

Doughty couldn’t carry the load as the Hilltoppers fell to LSU 48-20. He completed 37 of 61 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns. On the season, he has completed 71.6 percent of his throws for 3,034 yards and 27 touchdowns in eight games.

Up next is another road game against Old Dominion on Saturday.

19. Devontae Booker, running back, senior, Utah

Booker had a solid showing even though the Utes got beat by USC 42-24. He carried the ball 14 times for 62 yards and caught six passes for 49 yards. On the season, he has 175 carries for 845 yards and eight touchdowns with 29 receptions for 257 yards in seven games.

Up next is a visit from Oregon State on Saturday.

18. Roger Lewis, wide receiver, sophomore, Bowling Green

Lewis had a big day as the Falcons beat Kent State 48-0. He caught four passes for 102 yards, including touchdowns of 64 and 15 yards. On the season, he has 58 receptions for 1,122 yards and 11 touchdowns in eight games.

Up next is a bye week before another MAC test.

17. Matt Johnson, quarterback, senior, Bowling Green

Johnson had his sixth 400-yard passing day as the Falcons hammered Kent State 48-0. He completed 27 of 40 passes for 430 yards and five touchdowns. On the season, he has completed 70.1 percent of his throws for 3,321 yards and 29 touchdowns with just three interceptions in eight games.

Up next is a bye week before another MAC battle.

16. Luke Falk, quarterback, sophomore, Washington State

Falk had a great game as Washington State beat Arizona 45-42. He completed 47 of 62 passes for a season-high 514 yards and five touchdowns. On the season, he has completed 72.9 percent of his throws for 2,885 yards and 26 touchdowns in seven games.

Up next is a huge Pac-12 test with Stanford on Saturday.

15. Derrick Henry, running back, junior, Alabama

Henry had a big day as the Crimson Tide held on to beat Tennessee 19-14. He carried the ball 28 times for 143 yards, including touchdown runs of 20 and 14 yards. On the season, he has 180 carries for 1,044 yards and 14 touchdowns with eight catches for 69 yards in eight games.

Up next is a bye week before another huge SEC test.

14. Deshaun Watson, quarterback, sophomore, Clemson

Watson had a solid day as the Tigers destroyed the Miami (Florida) Hurricanes 58-0. He completed 15 of 19 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown to go along with 8 carries for 98 yards and another score. On the season, he has completed 69.3 percent of his throws for 1,553 yards and 15 touchdowns with 332 yards and three scores on the ground in seven games.

Up next is a road trip to face North Carolina State on Saturday.

13. Christian McCaffrey, running back, sophomore, Stanford

McCaffrey had a dominating performance in the running and passing game as the Cardinal beat Washington 31-14. He carried the ball 23 times for 109 yards and a touchdown to go along with five catches for 112 yards and another score. On the season, he has 153 carries for 953 yards and six touchdowns with 21 receptions for 284 yards and two scores in seven games.

Up next is a huge road game against Washington State on Saturday.

12. Connor Cook, quarterback, senior,  Michigan State

Cook had his best showing of the season as the Spartans beat Indiana 52-26. He completed 30 of 52 passes for 398 yards and four touchdowns. On the season, he has completed 57.5 percent of his throws for 2,070 yards and 17 touchdowns with two interceptions in eight games.

Up next is a bye week before a battle with Nebraska.

11. Greg Ward Jr., quarterback, junior, Houston

Ward had a solid day as Houston knocked off Central Florida 59-10. He completed 16 of 23 passes for 210 yards and a touchdowns with 10 carries for 46 yards and another score. On the season, he has completed 71.5 percenr of his throws for 1,734 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 677 yards and 15 scores in seven games.

Up next is a battle with Vanderbilt on Saturday.

10. Shock Linwood, running back, junior, Baylor

Linwood had a huge outing as the Bears beat Iowa State 45-27. He carried the ball 27 times for 171 yards and a 17-yard score as well as a touchdown reception. On the season, he has 121 carries for 974 yards and nine touchdowns in seven games.

Up next is a bye week before a road trip to Kansas State.

9. C.J. Prosise, running back, senior, Notre Dame

Prosise and the Fighting Irish had the week off to prepare for one of their toughest games of the year. On the season, he has carried the ball 129 times for 922 yards and 11 touchdowns with 18 catches for 219 yards and another score in seven games.

Up next is a battle with the undefeated Temple Owls on Saturday.

8. Seth Russell, quarterback, junior, Baylor

Russell struggled with his accuracy before leaving the game after he fractured a bone in his neck, according to a story from ESPN’s Jake Trotter. http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/13961734/seth-russell-baylor-bears-suffers-strained-neck-win-iowa-state-cyclones. He completed 16 of 37 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns with eight carries for 64 yards and another score. On the season, he has completed 59.5 percent of his throws for 2,104 yards and 29 touchdowns with 402 yards and six touchdowns in the running game.

It is unclear how long Russell will be sidelined.

7. Dalvin Cook, running back, sophomore, Florida State

Cook had a nice showing but it wasn’t enough as Florida State fell to Georgia Tech 22-16. He carried the ball 17 times for 82 yards and a touchdown with four catches for 50 yards. On the season, he has 127 carries for 1,037 yards and 11 touchdowns to go along with 15 receptions for 181 yards and another score in seven games.

Up next is a matchup with Syracuse on Saturday.

6. Ezekiel Elliott, running back, junior, Ohio State

Elliott was very productive as the Buckeyes crushed Rutgers 49-7. He carried the ball 19 times for 142 yards, including touchdown runs of 2 and 55 yards. On the season, he has 167 carries for 1,130 yards and 13 touchdowns to go along with 23 catches for 160 yards in eight games.

Up next is a bye week before another Big 10 showdown.

5. Paxton Lynch, quarterback, junior, Memphis

Lynch had another huge night as the Tigers beat Tulsa 66-42. He completed 32 of 44 passes for 447 yards and four touchdowns to go along with a rushing score. On the season, he has completed 71.6 percent of his throws for 2,366 yards and 17 touchdowns with just one interception in seven games.

Up next is a matchup with Tulane on Saturday.

4. Josh Doctson, wide receiver, senior, TCU

Doctson had a bye week to prepare for another critical Big 12 battle. On the season, he has 60 receptions for 1,067 yards and 12 touchdowns in seven games.

Up next is a matchup with West Virginia on Thursday night.

3. Trevone Boykin, quarterback, senior, TCU

Boykin had the week off to prepare for a tough Big 12 test. On the season, he has completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 2,539 yards and 25 touchdowns with 440 yards and five touchdowns on the ground in seven games.

Up next is a clash with West Virginia on Thursday night.

2. Corey Coleman, wide receiver, junior, Baylor

Coleman had another multiple-touchdown day as the Bears beat Iowa State 45-27. He caught six passes for 85 yards,including touchdowns of 36 and 12 yards. On the season, he has 47 receptions for 962 yards and 18 touchdowns in seven games.

Up next is a bye week before the Bears square off against Kansas State.

1. Leonard Fournette, running back, sophomore, LSU 

Fournette had another nice outing as the Tigers beat Western Kentucky 48-20. He had 26 carries for 150 yards and a touchdowns. On the season, he has carried the ball 176 times for 1,352 yards and 15 touchdowns to go along with seven catches for 58 yards in seven games.

Up next is a week off to prepare for one of the biggest games of the year.

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