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November 27, 2007

McFadden's big day opens up race

The same speed that ensures Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden rarely is caught from behind also enables him to make up ground.

McFadden definitely made up a lot of ground in the Heisman Trophy race with a 206-yard, four-touchdown performance in Friday's 50-48 triple-overtime upset of LSU.

But he probably didn't make up enough to pass Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, the Heisman front-runner who accounted for five touchdowns in a 45-12 victory over rival Florida State.

It was the ninth game in which Tebow, who became the first Division I-A player to reach 20 rushing and 20 passing touchdowns in the same season, accounted for at least four touchdowns.

That consistency sets Tebow apart from McFadden, who closed strong but had marginal productions in games against Auburn, Mississippi State and even Florida International.

In another season, McFadden's strong finish - which included 732 rushing yards in the last four games - might have secured the Heisman. However, it won't be enough in a season in which Tebow has accounted for 51 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards.

1. Tim Tebow, Florida, QB: He accounted for 51 touchdowns in the regular season. He completed 68.5 percent of his passes and threw for 3,132 yards with 29 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He also led the Gators with 838 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns.

2. Darren McFadden, Arkansas, RB: Last year's Heisman runner-up finished the regular season with 1,725 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. He also passed for four touchdowns and caught 21 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown.

3. Chase Daniel, Missouri, QB: The NCAA's fourth-ranked passer has completed more than 70 percent of his attempts for 3,951 yards and 33 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He has the Tigers one victory away from the BCS national championship game.

4. Pat White, West Virginia, QB: He is one of just two quarterbacks to rush and pass for more than 1,000 yards this season (Louisiana-Lafayette's Michael Desormeaux is the other). White has passed for 1,498 yards and 12 touchdowns and has rushed for 1,144 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has rushed for at least 147 yards in each of the past four games and has run for six touchdowns in that span.

5. Dennis Dixon, Oregon, QB: The Ducks' collapse in the past two games losses to Arizona and UCLA underscores how vital Dixon was before his season-ending injury. He passed for 2,136 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 583 yards and nine touchdowns. Oregon has scored one touchdown in seven quarters since Dixon's injury.

Olin Buchanan is the senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at olin@rivals.com.

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