SAPAKOFF COLUMN: Heisman rush is on for Palmetto stars
Two running backs on college football teams from the same state haven’t finished in the top five of the Heisman Trophy voting since 1975. That year, when Ohio State’s Archie Griffin won his second Heisman, California’s Chuck Muncie was second and Southern Cal’s Ricky Bell third.
Palmetto Statement: Clemson’s Andre Ellington ran for 228 yards in a win over Auburn and South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore rushed for 110 yards, caught three passes and scored two touchdowns to rescue South Carolina at Vanderbilt.
The rush is on.
Lattimore might get 40 carries today with Connor Shaw hurting.
Ellington was a more under- the-radar Heisman candidate — in the shadow of Tiger teammates Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd — coming into the season. Now the Berkeley High School grad is a serious contender.
“As the game went on, (Ellington) got stronger,” Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said. “He didn’t miss a beat. My hat’s off to him. He’s a fantastic football player.”
Another Palmetto State duo struggled with openers: I foolishly picked Michigan to upset Alabama but still edged Pigskin Picks partner Warren Peper. Back at it:
East Carolina at USC
The Gamecocks remember falling into a 17-0 hole in this game last year and it won’t happen again.
Sapakoff pick: USC, 31-10
Peper pick: USC, 31-20
Ball State at Clemson
And the No. 1 reason why David Letterman’s alma mater will get clobbered despite running 96 plays in last week’s victory over Eastern Michigan ... Two words: Andre Ellington.
Sapakoff pick: Clemson, 34-17
Peper pick: Clemson, 38-21
Ga. Southern at The Citadel
The Eagles won one of the best games of the 2011 Southern Conference season, 14-12. Close again. But double the triple option scoring.
Sapakoff: Georgia Southern, 28-24
Peper: Georgia Southern, 24-14
Jacksonville at CSU
Charleston Southern turned turnovers into a 14-7 lead at The Citadel before losing, 49-14. The Dolphins lost 58-0 at Georgia Southern.
Sapakoff pick: Jacksonville, 23-21
Peper pick: CSU, 23-20
Bethune-Cookman at S.C. State
Former Stratford High School wide receiver Tyler McDonald caught two touchdown passes last week in S.C. State’s 33-6 romp over Georgia State at the Georgia Dome.
Sapakoff pick: S.C. State, 28-21
Peper pick: S.C. State, 27-17
Georgia at Missouri
Political question: Does the SEC office want newcomers Missouri and Texas A&M (hosting Florida) to win today? Even at the risk of eroding the base?
Sapakoff pick: Georgia, 27-26
Peper pick: Missouri, 30-27
North Carolina at Wake Forest
Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe said the Deacons “over-prepared” before their 20-17 win over Liberty. Don’t under-prepare for the Tar Heels, a 62-0 winner over Elon.
Sapakoff pick: UNC, 24-14
Peper pick: UNC, 24-19
Penn State at Virginia
Too bad this isn’t an ACC game. Penn State would make a great addition with Pitt and Syracuse on the way.
Sapakoff pick: Virginia, 30-10
Peper pick: Virginia, 20-17
Auburn at Mississippi State
A bitter 41-34 loss for Mississippi State at Auburn last September; this is the battle for fourth place in the rugged SEC West.
Sapakoff pick: MSU, 24-22
Peper pick: Auburn, 24-21
Central Florida at Ohio State
UCF is 1-0 in Ohio, having rolled at Akron, 56-14. Former Citadel head coach Charlie Taaffe, the Knights offensive coordinator, will have a tougher time in Columbus.
Sapakoff pick: Ohio State, 35-17
Peper pick: Ohio State, 40-21
Last week: Sapakoff 8-2, Peper 7-3.
Reach Gene Sapakoff at 937-5593 or on Twitter @sapakoff