Fournette making early Heisman case with dominant stretch

Leonard Fournette has set career highs in rushing in each of the first three games of his sophomore season for No. 9 LSU, culminating with his 244-yard romp in a 34-24 win at Syracuse on Saturday.

And just about no one would be surprised if the early Heisman Trophy frontrunner continued his award-worthy campaign when the Tigers (3-0) host Eastern Michigan this week.

Fournette became the first player in school history to rush for more than 200 yards in back-to-back games with his effort against the Orange, doing so despite having an 87-yard touchdown run called back because of penalty.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Fournette has now rushed for 159, 228 and 244 yards in LSU’s three opening wins, building on a freshman season in which he finished with 1,034 yards on the ground. He leads the country by more than 40 yards with his average of 210.3 yards rushing per game, and he’s third with an average of 8.6 yards per carry.

Fournette didn’t reach 100 yards rushing until the fifth game of his freshman season a year ago, but he’s now reached that mark in his last five games — including an 11-carry, 143-yard performance in a Music City Bowl loss to Notre Dame to end last season.

He also increased his total rushing touchdowns this season to eight with two scores on Saturday, two short of the 10 he had all of last season.

Some other notable statistical performances early this season:

AMAZING ERVIN: As outstanding as Fournette’s performance was on Saturday, it was only the second-best rushing performance of the week. San Jose State running back Tyler Ervin had the top game, a 42-carry, 300-yard effort in a 49-23 win over Fresno State. Ervin also had three touchdowns on his way to career highs in both carries and yards, topping the previous school best of 286 yards rushing by Nathan DuPree in 1992. The senior had only three 100-yard rushing performances in his career before Saturday, but he’s now third in the country with an average of 160.3 yards rushing per game.

DOCTSON’S DAY: Josh Doctson’s 267 yards receiving on 18 catches were enough to give the TCU senior the national lead in receiving yards, even if it was the one that got away late that led to the Horned Frogs dramatic 55-52 win over Texas Tech. Doctson was unable to haul in his 19th catch on the late pass that led to Aaron Green’s game-winning catch, but he now has 593 yards receiving through four games on 35 catches.

BOYKIN’S FIT: It’s hard to believe the quarterback responsible for TCU’s winning pass, quarterback Trevone Boykin, was once considered more of an all-around athlete than a true signal caller. Boykin, who finished fourth in last year’s Heisman voting, set another career best in Saturday’s win — finishing with 485 yards passing and four touchdowns. The senior is fourth in the country with an average of 367.5 yards passing per game, and he appears well on his way to another high finish in the Heisman voting.

UNBELIEVABLE UTES: No. 10 Utah hadn’t won a Pac-12 opener since joining the conference in 2011. That changed in dominant fashion on Saturday in a 62-20 win over Oregon, with quarterback Travis Wilson accounting for 327 yards of total offense and five touchdowns. The touchdown throws matched Wilson’s career best, and he also had a career-high 60-yard run.

EXTRA POINTS: Boston College continues to lead the nation in total defense by a wide margin, allowing an average of only 118 yards per game, after its 17-14 win over Northern Illinois … USC quarterback Cody Kessler had his streak of 103 passes without an interception snapped early in the Trojans 42-14 win over Arizona State, but the senior still finished 19-of-33 passing for 375 yards and five touchdowns … High-flying Baylor leads the country with an average of 767 yards of total offense per game, more than 130 yards ahead of second-best TCU … Penn State senior defensive end Carl Nassib leads the country with seven sacks after two against San Diego State, and he has at least one in each of the Nittany Lions’ four games.