We can get two things out of the way before I start this article. Number one: I’m admittedly biased. Number two? The cards are probably stacked against Mitch Trubisky, junior quarterback for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, in the Heisman Trophy race. However, there are a few things that he has control over, and he still deserves a place among the Heisman conversation.
There are a few reasons for this, and theres one more thing I also want to keep in mind. Anything can happen in college football. We’ll just have to let the chips fall where they may, and judge each player by their body of work at the end of the season. I have a feeling Trubisky’s will be pretty good. Let’s explore some existing factors in Mitch Trubisky’s Heisman stock, and what needs to happen in the future to really make some noise.
The Numbers vs. Heisman Contenders
Mitch Trubisky has put up some serious numbers this season. Before last week against Virginia Tech, he had not thrown an interception, and had thrown 13 touchdowns on the year. Because of this, Trubisky has rightfully garnered some national media attention. Check out this article from ESPN’s David Hale about his Heisman chances, and this one from Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman.
Granted, these were before the disaster that was the Virginia Tech game last weekend. Regardless, let’s look at Trubisky’s current numbers. After a tough game, he still has a 70.2 percent completion percentage, ranked 6th in the country. He’s posted 1,769 passing yards, (more than Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, J.T. Barrett, and Jake Browning) 13 touchdowns, and two interceptions. As you probably know, both of those interceptions came last week against a team ranked third in the country in total defense. Furthermore, inclement could have been a factor with the passing conditions.
If that’s not enough, Trubisky has four rushing touchdowns, as many as some reputable runnings backs in college football. Also, let it be said that even though Lamar Jackson has a ridiculous 14 rushing TDs, Mitch is tied for second among the Heisman contenders in that regard.
Wins and Resilience
Let’s be honest: Carolina’s strength of schedule this year is not stellar. But, if you look at the nature of UNC’s wins, they tell a different story. After a rocky start against a quality team in Georgia, Carolina rattled off four straight wins. Against Pittsburgh, in a game when he received little help from the defense, Trubisky posted 453 yards and five touchdowns. He also showed poise and toughness when the game was on the line, and delivered a game-winning touchdown pass with two seconds remaining.
The next week, Mitch Trubisky again rose to the occasion with an impressive performance. 405 passing yards and three touchdowns against Florida State in Tallahassee is quite significant, along with his efforts in setting up the game-winning field goal by Nick Weiler. These two examples alone credit Trubisky with being an elite college quarterback, and one of the best players in the country.
Last week was a tough one. Mitch had 58 total passing yards on 13 attempts and two interceptions in a loss to #25 Virginia Tech. Was this out of character for Trubiksy, and possibly a product of the circumstances? Haters will say no. I, however, say yes. After a disappointing first game, Trubisky responded like a professional. He led his team to four straight wins, two of which were incredibly improbable. I’m optimistic that a similar response is headed his way today vs. the Hurricanes.
A Signature Ending
So what has to happen for Mitch Trubisky to have a true shot at winning the Heisman Trophy? First, he has to keep his current numbers where they are. Preferably improve them as the season goes on. Next, he needs to show the voters his worth and significance by taking care of business in the remainder of the season. That includes a road win vs. Miami, and wins against rivals Duke and NC State. Finally, Trubisky and the Tar Heels need to have a special ending. If all goes well, Carolina will be the back-to-back ACC Coastal Division Champions, with a chance at knocking off Clemson for an ACC title. Trusbiky needs to lead this team to a championship, and a victory in whatever subsequent games come their way. Accomplishing those things will give the Heisman Trophy voters no choice but to add him to the ballot. Trubisky and the Heels have a long way to go until then, but for now, lets keep him at the bottom of that projection list. You never know what might happen.