Heisman straw poll: Is Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II an emerging dark horse?

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Only two running backs have won the Heisman trophy since the turn of the century: Alabama’s Mark Ingram (2009) and Derrick Henry (2015).

Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II still hasn’t landed on the betting board among the favorites to win the sport’s most prestigious individual award, according to BetMGM. But his name picked up steam among the 33 writers and editors at The Athletic in this week’s Heisman straw poll, after he helped lead the Cowboys to victory in the final scheduled installment of Bedlam.

Gordon leads the nation with 1,225 rushing yards (on a very strong 7.0-yard average) and is tied for fifth with 12 rushing touchdowns. He ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns on a season-high 33 carries to lead the Cowboys to a 27-24 win over rival Oklahoma.

Gordon has been a workhorse over his last six games. Since rushing a combined 19 times for 109 yards and two scores through his team’s first three games, he has reeled off six consecutive games with at least 121 yards, including a pair of 200-plus-yard efforts in wins at West Virginia and against Cincinnati.

That’s earned him some respect. Gordon, a Texas native who was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2022, is tied for fourth with LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels in this week’s straw poll.

The problem for Gordon going forward is he doesn’t have any high-profile games left on the schedule until the Big 12 title game.

The 15th-ranked Cowboys, who control their own destiny in the race to reach the league championship game, close the regular season with road games at UCF (4-5) and Houston (4-5) before hosting BYU (5-4). The Cowboys would likely meet seventh-ranked Texas (8-1) in the conference championship game.

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The Athletic follows the same voting protocol as that of the Heisman: three points for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote, one point for a third-place vote.

Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., meanwhile, regained the top spot from Ohio State receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. in the straw poll this week.

Penix, the favorite to win the Heisman according to BetMGM, completed 73.3 percent of his pass attempts for 256 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in a 52-42 shootout win over USC. Penix ranks seventh in passing efficiency, completing 69.4 percent of his passes with 3,201 yards, 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season.

The fifth-ranked Huskies close the regular season by hosting 13th-ranked Utah, going on the road to face 12th-ranked Oregon State and hosting rival Washington State in the final scheduled meeting of their storied rivalry.

BetMGM lists Oregon’s Bo Nix (+200) and LSU’s Daniels (+300) as the biggest threats to Penix (+150) winning the Heisman.

Nix leads the country in completion percentage (78.1) and has thrown for 2,723 yards with 25 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He threw his second interception in last Saturday’s 63-19 win over California but also threw for a season-high 386 yards and four touchdowns.

(Top photo: Brian Bahr / Getty Images)