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Heisman Watch: Kenny Hill of Texas A&M in conversation

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Mike Huguenin has spent more than 30 years in sports journalism, many of them closely associated with college football. As a longtime Heisman Trophy voter and one who will cast his ballot again at the end of this season, Huguenin takes a weekly look at the Heisman race.

Check out the top images from the third weekend of college football play.

HEISMAN WATCH 2014: Week 1 | Week 2

The upsets that permeated college football on Saturday, for the most part, didn't involve teams with Heisman contenders.

Todd Gurley and Georgia did lose to South Carolina, but it certainly wasn't Gurley's fault. You can make the case that if Gurley had received more carries, the Bulldogs might have won.

Marcus Mariota and the rest of the Oregon offense got off to a slow start Saturday, but he and the Ducks awakened in the second quarter and rolled to a win, and he remains on top of this Heisman watch list.

Here are the top 10 contenders, from 10th to first, this week, as this Heisman voter sees them. Remember that each of the past four and 12 of the past 14 winners have been quarterbacks; the only non-quarterbacks were running backs Mark Ingram of Alabama in 2009 and Reggie Bush of USC in 2005.

10. QB Brett Hundley, UCLA

Season stats: 57-of-81 passing, 70.4 completion percentage, 686 yards, 3 TDs, 1 interception, 74 rushing yards, 1 TD.
Saturday's stats: 4-of-4, 100.0 completion percentage, 48 yards, 9 rushing yards in 20-17 win over Texas.
The skinny: Hundley had to leave Saturday's win in the first quarter with an injury to his left (non-throwing) elbow. He was hurt after a run of 11 yards on a third-and-9 play. Hundley was scheduled to have an MRI on his elbow Sunday, and there are reports that it was a hyperextension of his elbow; if that's the case, he likely would not miss a game. UCLA is off next weekend, then faces Arizona State in one of the biggest Pac-12 games of the season on Sept. 25. He remains on the Heisman list under the assumption he won't miss any time.

9. QB Bryce Petty, Baylor

Season stats: 36-of-57 passing, 63.2 completion percentage, 577 passing yards, 6 TDs, 0 interceptions, 1 rushing TD.
Friday's stats: 23-of-34, 67.6 completion percentage, 416 yards, 4 TDs in 63-21 win over Buffalo.
The skinny: Petty played only a half in the opener, then missed a game because of an injured back. He returned to carve up overmatched Buffalo, showing no ill-effects from the injury. Relatively gaudy numbers aside, Petty's Heisman candidacy isn't going to gain any real traction until he does something against an opponent with a pulse. Baylor is off next week, then goes on the road three times in four weeks. Among the opponents in that stretch are Texas, TCU and West Virginia. Petty has thrown a TD pass in 15 consecutive games in which he has played.

8. QB Everett Golson, Notre Dame

Season stats: 62-of-96 passing, 64.6 completion percentage, 780 yards, 7 TDs, 0 interceptions, 4 rushing TDs.
Saturday's stats: 25-of-40, 62.5 completion percentage, 259 yards, 2 TDs, 0 interceptions, 56 rushing yards, 1 TD in 30-14 win over Purdue.
The skinny: Golson doesn't have the gaudiest stats, but he is playing at a high level and looks extremely comfortable in coach Brian Kelly's offense. He has been mistake-free, too. His rushing total against the Boilermakers was the third-highest total of his career. Golson already has seven TD passes and four TD runs; in 2012, when he guided the Irish to the national championship game, he had 12 and six, respectively. The Irish are off next week and play Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sept. 27.

7. TB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska

Season stats: 396 rushing yards, 3 TDs, 4 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD.
Saturday's stats: 110 rushing yards, 1 TD in 55-19 win over Fresno State.
The skinny: A week after the Huskers needed a miracle catch-and-run from Abdullah in the final 30 seconds to subdue FCS opponent McNeese State, they hammered Fresno State. Abdullah did have 19 carries in the rout of the Bulldogs and produced the 19th 100-yard game of his career. He is the Big Ten's best Heisman hope. Abdullah and the Huskers play host to Miami next Saturday in a game that will feature a nice head-to-head matchup between Abdullah and Hurricanes star TB Duke Johnson.

6. QB Taysom Hill, BYU

Season stats: 67-of-98 passing, 68.4 completion percentage, 689 yards, 4 TDs, 3 interceptions, 356 rushing yards, 6 TDs.
Thurday's stats: 21-of-34, 61.8 completion percentage, 200 yards, 1 TD, 2 interceptions, 160 rushing yards, 1 TD in 33-25 win over Houston.
The skinny: Hill was in our preseason Heisman countdown, where we noted that he had to improve his passing numbers. So far, he has done that. His biggest value as a dual-threat quarterback, though, always will be his running ability; he is fast and powerful, and his 160-yard performance against Houston was his seventh 100-yard game since the beginning of the 2013 season and his fourth with more than 150 yards. He is tied for third nationally with six rushing TDs. He and the Cougars play Virginia next Saturday, and going against UVa's aggressive front seven will be a good test for Hill. For him to become a truly viable Heisman contender, he must continue to put up big numbers and BYU has to continue to win.

5. WR Amari Cooper, Alabama

Season stats: 33 receptions, 454 yards, 13.8 yards per catch, 2 touchdowns.
Saturday's stats: 8 receptions, 135 yards, 16.9 yards per catch, 1 TD in 52-12 win over Southern Miss.
The skinny: It's difficult for a wide receiver to win the Heisman, especially if he doesn't return kicks, but Cooper is putting up receiving numbers that are hard to ignore. Saturday's outing was his fifth in a row (dating to last season) with at least 120 receiving yards, and the eight receptions was his lowest game total this season. No other Alabama player has more than nine catches, but DBs haven't been able to slow Cooper even though everyone knows he is the Tide's best receiver. The going could become tougher, though, with back-to-back games against Florida and Ole Miss. But Florida's secondary was torched in the second half of a win over Kentucky, so that might not be as tough a test as once was thought.

4. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State

Season stats: 47-of-67 passing, 70.1 completion percentage, 626 yards, 3 TDs, 2 interceptions, 1 rushing TD.
Saturday's stats: Florida State was off.
The skinny: Winston already seems like a forgotten man of sorts, but he did guide FSU on a game-clinching drive in the opener against Oklahoma State, then led the Seminoles to scores on all six of the possessions on which he played in Week 2 against The Citadel. Next up is an ACC showdown against Clemson, a team he carved up to the tune of a career-high 444 yards and three TDs last season. Can he approach those numbers this season?

3. QB Kenny Hill, Texas A&M

Season stats: 81-of-117 passing, 69.2 completion percentage, 1,094 yards, 11 TDs, 0 interceptions.
Saturday's stats: 20-of-31, 64.5 completion percentage, 300 yards, 4 TDs in 38-10 win over Rice.
The skinny: Hill's 511-yard, three-TD performance in the opener against South Carolina took on a little extra sheen with the Gamecocks' victory over Georgia. Hill and the Aggies have cruised past Lamar and Rice in the past two weeks, and get a bad SMU team next weekend. Then comes SEC play, when we will find out if Hill truly is a Heisman contender. He is fifth nationally in passing yards and fourth in TD passes; he also is the only quarterback among the 18 nationally who have thrown for at least 850 yards not to have tossed an interception.

Check out the alternate college football uniforms worn during the 2014 season.

2. TB Todd Gurley, Georgia

Season stats: 329 rushing yards, 4 TDs, 1 kickoff-return TD.
Saturday's stats: 20 carries, 131 yards, 1 TD in 38-35 loss to South Carolina.
The skinny: After a dominating first-week performance in a rout of Clemson, Gurley looked somewhat mortal in the loss to South Carolina. Still, Georgia's play-calling was surprising at times, and while the Bulldogs have a deep stable of tailbacks, you wonder why Gurley didn't get 25-plus carries given the closeness of the game. Don't you put the ball in the hands of your best player at crunch time? Georgia didn't necessarily do that. The Bulldogs get Troy next weekend, and Troy is coming off a loss to an Abilene Christian team that is in its first season in the FCS ranks. In other words, Gurley should run wild in the first half, then sit out the second.

1. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon

Season stats: 50-of-71 passing, 70.4 completion percentage, 806 yards, 6 TDs, 0 interceptions, 156 rushing yards, 3 TDs.
Saturday's stats: 19-of-23, 82.6 completion percentage, 221 yards, 2 TDs, 71 rushing yards, 2 TDs in a 48-14 win over Wyoming.
The skinny: He and the Ducks got off to a slow start against Wyoming -- Oregon actually trailed after the first quarter -- but they got into gear and ran roughshod over the Cowboys. One of Mariota's TD runs featured a highlight-reel moment. Since he became the starter at the beginning of the 2012 season, he has thrown 71 TD passes and just 10 picks. He should be able to put up huge numbers against a weak Washington State defense next weekend; then comes an Oct. 2 game against Arizona, which hammered the Ducks last season.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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