College football’s award season is drawing near. The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is in the spirit of the season with the announcement of 10 finalists for their award this season, honoring the top fourth-year quarterback in college football using a number of conditions including character, scholastic achievement and leadership qualities in addition to on-field success. And because the award is designed for seniors and fourth-year juniors scheduled to graduate with their class, you won’t find Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa on this list.
West Virginia quarterback Will Grier and Michigan’s Shea Patterson are among the list of candidates up for the award as finalists this season, it was announced on Thursday. Both players have certainly played a key role in guiding their respective teams into position to play for and win their respective conference titles with the final weeks of the season underway. UCF’s McKenzie Milton is in a similar position and was named a finalist for the award as well.
Joining those three are a pair of ACC quarterbacks with Syracuse’s Eric Dungey and NC State’s Ryan Finley. Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Washington State’s Gardner Minshew are representing the Pac-12 and Penn State’s Trace McSorley joins Patterson as the Big Ten representatives on the list of finalists for the award. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is the lone SEC player named as a finalist and Boise State’s Brett Rypien is standing tall for the Mountain West Conference.
Past Golden Arm Award winners include Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Boston College’s Matt Ryan and Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn. Rudolph was last year’s recipient of the award.
It was a tale of two halves between No. 12 West Virginia (4-0, 2-0 Big 12) and No. 25 Texas Tech (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) in Lubbock, but at the end of the game, it was West Virginia heading home with a victory after going flat in the second half on offense. Will Grier passed for 370 yards and three touchdowns as West Virginia beat Texas Tech 42-34 Saturday afternoon.
West Virginia led Texas Tech 35-10 at halftime, but the Red Raiders turned things up a few notches in the second half. West Virginia punted three times and missed a field goal on their first four possessions of the second half. Jett Duffey helped lead a comeback effort for Texas Tech in place of the injured Alan Bowman, but a play action pass was picked off late in the fourth quarter and returned by Keith Washington for a much-needed and seemingly elusive dagger for the Mountaineers.
The win not only keeps West Virginia undefeated this season but continues to keep them in a good spot atop the Big 12 standings moving forward. And despite a slow second half, Grier will have a solid box score to add to his Heisman Trophy campaign. He certainly was in a groove with receiver Marcus Simms. Simms caught nine passes for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Texas Tech lost quarterback Bowman to an injury in the first half. His status moving forward is unknown at this time. The Red Raiders are now very thin at quarterback as they look to move on from this home loss.
Next up for West Virginia is a home Big 12 game against Kansas. The Mountaineers appear to be in a favorable position to get to November in the Big 12 driver’s seat, if not just on the College Football Playoff bubble. But if a challenging November schedule is going to mean anything for West Virginia, it still must put away Kansas, Iowa State, and Baylor.
Texas Tech will look to rebound in two weeks with a Thursday night road game against TCU in two weeks. Texas Tech is off next week.
Will Grier and the No. 12 West Virginia Mountaineers came ready for a track meet at No. 25 Texas Tech. Perhaps Texas Tech was still waking up at the time the game started because the visiting Mountaineers got off to a fast start and took a 21-0 lead before Texas Tech got on the board. At halftime in Lubbock, West Virginia leads Texas Tech by a score of 35-10 in a Big 12 matchup of ranked opponents.
Grier capped the game’s opening drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Gary Jennings Jr. After Alan Bowman was intercepted on Texas Tech’s first offensive series by Kenny Robinson Jr., Leddie Brown scored a short touchdown run for a 14-0 lead. The lead was extended to 21-0 on a Grier 45-yard pass to Marcus Simms later in the first quarter. Sims has been the big playmaker of the game, with nine catches for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Bowman got the Red Raiders on the board with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Antoine Wesley, but the Mountaineers responded on the ensuing possession with a 38-yard touchdown run by Kennedy McKoy.
After one half, Grier has won the quarterback showdown with Bowman by passing for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Bowman has had a rough afternoon, completing 9 of 20 passes for 123 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He was also knocked out of the game in the first half, going to the locker room before halftime. It is being reported he will not return to the game.
There may be a couple more games still to play in Week 1, but the Walter Camp Football Foundation has no time to waste in naming its weekly players of the week. The first recipients of the foundation’s offensive and defensive player of the week awards are West Virginia quarterback Will Grier and Notre Dame defensive end Khalid Kareem, respectively.
Grier was instrumental in leading West Virginia to a 40-14 victory over Tennessee in a neutral site game in Charlotte. Grier passed for 429 yards and five touchdowns in the win, proving why many have labeled him as one of West Virginia’s top Heisman Trophy candidates in years, and most certainly since joining the Big 12. As noted by the Walter Camp Football Foundation press release, Grier spread the ball around to by completing at least one pass to 11 different Mountaineer receivers.
Notre Dame’s Kareem led a feisty defensive attack in a season-opening win against Michigan on Saturday night in South Bend. Kareem recorded seven tackles and two sacks against the Wolverines in a 24-17 victory. He was a key player in helping to ensure Notre Dame would not allow for Michigan’s offense to get off on the right foot with a new quarterback and new optimism for the 2018 season.
Remember yesterday when we shared the initial 2018 Heisman Trophy odds from Bovada? Well, scrap that already because the people have come in with enough bets to warrant some quick changes to the Heisman odds. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins soared up four spots to climb into the top spot on Bovada’s board after just 24 hours.
Dobbins was initially given 12/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy, and the bettors went scrambling for those odds. Bovada’s updated odds see Dobbins as the way-too-early favorite with 6/1 odds. Tied for the best odds with Dobbins is another Big Ten running back, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. Taylor didn’t move up quite as dramatically to 6/1 after having 8/1 odds a day ago. The short-lived preseason favorite from Bovada and 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up, Stanford running back Bryce Love, has slipped into third on the board with 7/1 odds. Alabama’s national championship hero, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, tied Love with 7/1 odds.
Some other notable dramatic changes include the addition of Missouri quarterback Drew Lock (25/1). Lock, the SEC’s top passer returning in 2018, was initially left completely off the board. He is the only newcomer to the updated odds from Bovada at this moment. The most notable drop in the odds was from Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, who fell from 55/1 odds to 66/1. Most other drops were just by a few spots, including Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate falling from 9/1 to 14/1, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier falling from 12/1 to 16/1 and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley dropping from 18/1 to 20/1.
Here are the updated Heisman odds as relayed by Bovada:
J.K. Dobbins (RB Ohio State) 6/1
Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin) 6/1
Bryce Love (RB Stanford) 7/1
Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama) 7/1
Jake Fromm (QB Georgia) 12/1
Khalil Tate (QB Arizona) 14/1
Will Grier (QB West Virginia) 16/1
Jarrett Stidham (QB Auburn) 16/1
Kelly Bryant (QB Clemson) 18/1
Justin Herbert (QB Oregon) 18/1
Trace McSorley (QB Penn State) 20/1
Cam Akers (RB Florida State) 25/1
Rodney Anderson (RB Oklahoma) 25/1
Jake Browning (QB Washington) 25/1
Ryan Finley (QB NC State) 25/1
Drew Lock (QB Missouri) 25/1
McKenzie Milton (QB UCF) 25/1
Travis Etienne (RB Clemson) 35/1
Nick Fitzgerald (QB Mississippi State) 35/1
D'Andre Swift (RB Georgia) 35/1
Brandon Winbush (QB Notre Dame) 35/1
David Sills (WR West Virginia) 45/1
Ed Oliver (DL Houston) 66/1
Nick Bosa (DL Ohio State) 75/1