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OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden goes from Heisman front-runner to hopeful

BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, gmizell@opubco.com Published: November 22, 2011

STILLWATER — Last Monday, Brandon Weeden sat on a stool and answered question after question about his sudden rise to becoming a Heisman frontrunner.

A week later, Weeden may be back on the outside of the Heisman pack after Oklahoma State's 37-31 double-overtime loss at Iowa State.

Such is the nature of what has recently become a topsy-turvy Heisman race — one that was dominated by Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck for two-thirds of the season but has seen some serious shakeup over the past two weeks.

Now, Chris Huston of Heismanpundit.com projects Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III as Luck's biggest challenger for the award, while Weeden is expected to drop to fifth or sixth in his latest straw poll that will come out later this week.

“There are some candidates who, by virtue of their overwhelming statistics and reputation, are not as dependent as team success as others,” said Huston, who analyzes trends in Heisman voting. “Brandon's name wasn't as big coming into the season, so he was a little bit more dependent on kind of riding the team's success, combined with what he's been doing, to the Heisman.”

The nature of the Cowboys' loss also played a big role in Weeden's drop. It came on national television on a Friday night. And even though Weeden passed for 476 yards and three touchdowns, he also tossed three interceptions, including one on his first pass of double overtime to set up the Cylcones' game-winning touchdown.

“All would have been forgiven if he could have pulled that game out,” Huston said. “It hurt especially because people will see it was missed opportunity for the program, potentially.

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HEISMAN STOCK REPORT

A wild weekend of college football means the Heisman race is still wide open. A look at who is rising, who is falling and the top 5 candidates right now.

RISING

Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor

Griffin had the epitome of a Heisman moment Saturday night against Oklahoma when he led Baylor on a game-winning, 80-yard touchdown drive in the game's final minute and capped it with a perfect 34-yard strike to Terrance Williams in the back of the end zone. RG3 is right back in the race, despite his team's three losses, because there's no player in college football with more ‘wow' factor.

Montee Ball, running back, Wisconsin

Ball had another monster game against Illinois, racking up 224 yards and three total touchdowns. He's got 30 touchdowns (25 rushing, five receiving) this season, but his Heisman chances have been hurt by the fact that his quarterback, Russell Wilson, has been regarded as the Badgers' candidate for the award for most of the season. He sits just outside the top 5 right now.

FALLING

Brandon Weeden, quarterback, Oklahoma State

Weeden, a Heisman frontrunner just a week ago, passed for 476 yards and three touchdowns against Iowa State. But voters will remember his three interceptions, especially the one that came on his first pass of double overtime, which helped the Cyclones pull off the 37-31 upset. Weeden will have a chance to make a strong final statement when the Cowboys face OU in two weeks.

Kellen Moore, quarterback, Boise State

Moore was great in Boise State's win against San Diego State, throwing for 366 yards and four touchdowns. But the Broncos' loss to TCU is starting to have an effect. Moore just doesn't have any buzz for the award right now, and Boise State doesn't have any high-profile games remaining to give him a boost.

UPDATED HEISMAN TOP 5

1. Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford

2. Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Baylor

3. Trent Richardson, running back, Alabama

4. Brandon Weeden, quarterback, Oklahoma State

5. Case Keenum, quarterback, Houston

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