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November 2, 2011
Heisman Watch: Richardson takes center stage
Luck leads the way after a four-touchdown performance (three passing, one rushing) in leading the Cardinal to a triple-overtime victory at USC last week. But Richardson has a great opportunity to answer in the most anticipated and hyped clash of the season.
Richardson could upstage Luck with a strong performance against LSU, which is third in the nation in total defense and hasn't allowed an opposing running back to gain more than 70 yards.
Throughout history, there have been numerous occasions in which a tremendous performance in a big game has helped a player win the Heisman.
A legendary 89-yard punt return on Halloween propelled LSU's Billy Cannon to the Heisman in 1959.
Michigan's Charles Woodson clinched it in 1997 with a memorable performance against Ohio State in which he returned a punt for a touchdown, made an interception in the end zone and caught a 37-yard pass to set up a touchdown.
Perhaps Richardson can be added to that list.
"I've got a lot of friends at LSU who play on the team," Richardson told TideSports.com last week. "We've called each other and, you know, said, 'Hey, be ready.' And that's what it is. Friends before the game, but when we're in the game, there ain't no friends out there. It's every man for himself."
Richardson can help himself - maybe even boost himself to the Heisman - if he can star in an Alabama victory.
The top five Heisman candidates this week:
1. QB Andrew Luck, Stanford: Luck strengthened his Heisman candidacy by leading the Cardinal to a triple-overtime victory at USC. He threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score against the Trojans. Yes, he threw an interception returned for a TD, but he responded by leading the Cardinal on a clutch tying drive in the final minutes. He's fifth in the nation in passing efficiency and has thrown for 2,218 yards and 23 touchdowns (against four picks) while completing 71.9 percent of his attempts.
2. RB Trent Richardson, Alabama: A huge opportunity awaits Saturday against LSU's powerful defense. Richardson's campaign would get a significant boost if he has a strong showing against LSU, which is third in the nation against the run. A 100-yard game against LSU would be more impressive than a 200-yard game against most opponents. Richardson has rushed for 989 yards and 17 touchdowns this season.
3. QB Kellen Moore, Boise State: The main reason Boise is undefeated, Moore is fourth in the country in passing efficiency. He has completed more than 76 percent of his passes for 2,010 yards, with 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
4. QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State: Weeden is ranked among the nation's top 10 in passing, passing yards per game and total passing yards. He has thrown for 2,710 yards and 22 touchdowns with seven interceptions while completing 71.3 percent of his passes. Weeden has thrown at least three touchdown passes in three of the past four games.
5. QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Jones is second in the nation in passing and total passing yardage. He has thrown for 3,094 yards and 26 touchdowns, but he also has been intercepted nine times. Still, he has thrown at least three touchdown passes in each of the past six games and has thrown five in each of the past two.
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