A.J. Dillon entered the Boston College's Week 3 game vs. Wake Forest with 26 carries for 247 yards and three total touchdowns on the season. Extrapolating those numbers over a 12-game season — 1,482 yards, 18 touchdowns — clearly shows Dillon needs bigger numbers to wow Heisman Trophy voters that often cast their ballots before the end of the regular season. We got a glimpse of those Heisman-necessary numbers on Thursday night.
As of Thursday, Bryce Love topped the Heisman Trophy odds on Odds Shark at +700. Tua Tagovailoa (+750) and Jonathan Taylor (+900) were second and third, followed by Dwayne Haskins (+1100), Will Grier (+1400) and Khalil Tate (+1400). Eleven more players sat in front of Dillon, whose +3300 odds are 17th-best in the country. He won't have the 17th-best odds for much longer if he runs like he did on Thursday night.
Dillon powered Boston College to a 3-0 start and their fourth ACC win which they scored at least 40 points since 2017. They had zero such wins from 2010-16. His numbers weren't eye-popping — 33 carries for 185 yards and one touchdown — and, per usual, he was a non-factor in the passing game (two career receptions), but the 6-foot, 245-pound sophomore gained those 185 yards in eye-popping style.
He ran over, past and around a Wake Forest defense that entered the game allowing three yards per carry and has often suffocated opposing rushing attacks under head coach Dave Clawson. They haven't allowed more than 4.4 yards per carry in a season since 2014.
Dillon ranked 19th nationally in rushing yards entering Week 3. He was, however, one of only three players averaging at least nine yards on at least 25 carries, though that average dipped to 7.3 with his 33-carry, 185-yard game. He can average 7.3 yards per carry and rush for 2,000 yards in 12 games but it won't matter if Boston College doesn't — at minimum — flirt with a 10-win season.
Heck, last year, Rashaad Penny and Bryce Love became the 29th and 30th players in FBS history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season but neither came within 1,000 points of winning the Heisman Trophy (Love finished second, and Penny finished fifth).
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The million-dollar question for Dillon's Heisman chances: If he flirts with 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns, is Boston College good enough for him to seriously contend for the most prestigious individual award in American sports?
Only three times since 1989 has a Heisman Trophy winner played on a team that didn't win 10 games, though in all three instances, the winner's team won nine games. Thirteen of the last 18 winners have played in the College Football Playoff and/or national championship. And not since Ricky Williams in 1998 has a Heisman winner played on a team that was ranked worse than 12th in the AP top 25 entering the postseason.
Boston College is good. They walloped bad UMass and Holy Cross teams in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, and beat a mediocre Wake Forest team in Week 3, but make no mistake: This Eagles team is their best since Matt Ryan left Chestnut Hill. They have the talent to win at least 10 games. And with the poor start by the ACC's top teams, a schedule that once appeared to be a gauntlet — at NC State, vs. Miami (FL), at Virginia Tech, vs. Clemson, at Florida State — suddenly looks passable.
A.J. Dillon's Heisman chances are slim. His +3300 odds are fair. However, it's time to take those Heisman chances seriously for one of the best running backs in the country.