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NCAAF: Klein takes over Heisman Race

The NCAA football season is nearing its final stretch run. Teams are gearing up for conference championships and bowl qualifying while trying to stay as highly ranked as possible. Another race taking place in NCAA football is for the nation’s top individual prize the Heisman Trophy Award, given each year to the best player in the college game.

Last year Robert Griffin III of Baylor won the award, but he is not in the running this season as he moved on to the NFL and is currently leading the offensive attack for the Washington Redskins.

This season there are a number of players with a legitimate shot at winning the award. The race for the trophy takes place over the entire season. Some hopefuls have one or two incredible performances but then just wither away, while others hold up through the entire season and show how important, talented and versatile they really are.

The ebb and flow of the season puts one player at the top of the list one week and then another the next. A good example is Geno Smith, the talented quarterback for West Virginia.

Smith was considered far and away the leader for the Heisman just two weeks ago. However, just this past weekend, Kansas State’s Collin Klein jumped into the race with an incredible performance and now is considered in the lead for the award.

In a recent poll, the K-State QB was first. Thus far, in the season, Klein has rushed for 551 yards, passed for 1,397 yards, run for 14 TDs and passed for 10 TDs.

Following Klein in the most recent poll was Manti Te’o of Notre Dame, Braxton Miller of Ohio State, Geno Smith of West Virginia, Matt Barkley of USC  and AJ McCarron of Alabama. Five of the top six are offensive players, with the only exception being Te’o who runs the Notre Dame defense and has already recorded 69 solo tackles and 4 interceptions.

Last week Klein was just third in the Heisman poll balloting, but was able to outshine the then frontrunner Smith from West Virginia. The two played head to head over the weekend. Klein hit 19 of his 21 passes for 323 yards, three TD passes and four TD runs.

This season Klein has taken part in 24 touchdowns and is the leader in the Big 12 conference in passing efficiency. Smith, by no means, is out of the race but has dropped to fourth in the latest poll after having his second straight difficult week over center. This past weekend he had two interceptions, the first two of the season for him.

Linebacker Te’o has taken the second spot in the most recent poll and third spot has been taken over by Braxton Miller the quarterback for Ohio State. He was injured in his last game, but is expected to play this weekend.

Back in the race again is Matt Barkley the USC quarterback. He was the favorite for the Heisman during the preseason, but dropped out of sight when USC was beaten by Stanford. Barkley is currently fifth on the list and slowly moving back towards the top.

There are still plenty of games to be played this season and plenty of chances for players to shine and move up the list prior to the final voting at the end of the year.

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