Heisman Watch: Week 10

Story posted November 3, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Tyler Zulli

Front Runners

Marcus Mariota, Sophomore QB, Oregon

Stock: EVEN
Week 10 Stats: DNP, Oregon Bye
Season Stats: 144-225, 2281 yards, 20 TD, 0 INT’s, 511 rush yards, 9 TD

It is seemingly common at this point that anytime a players’ team faced a bye week, they fell somewhat on the list, to reflect the other players’ stats. This is not one of those times.

Marcus Mariota has shown me something special this year. In fact, something so special, that he won’t fall on the list despite not playing this week. He’s been spectacular through the first 10 weeks, leading his Ducks to the #2 ranking in the country.

The stats obviously haven’t changed. This means another week without Mariota throwing an interception. 10 weeks, zero picks. Absolutely incredible. The sophomore has produced 29 total touchdowns to this point in the season, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down, despite facing tough Pac-12 defenses.

The Ducks have thrashed nearly every team they’ve come across so far, scoring 42 or more points in every contest this year. There is a reason that Oregon is ranked above Florida State to this point.

Perhaps the biggest test of the year, however, is in front of the Ducks this weekend, as they travel to #5 Stanford, a team that’s given them some trouble in recent years.

This game will make or break Oregon’s season in their run to the National Championship.  If Mariota and the boys can defeat Stanford, there’s no question in my mind they deserve to face Alabama. It would also seemingly lock Mariota’s Heisman victory.

Jameis Winston, Freshman QB, Florida State

Stock: EVEN
Week 10 Stats: 21-29, 325 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT’s
Season Stats: 149-212, 2502 yards, 24 TD, 6 INT’s

I feel bad for Winston. I really do. How much more can this kid do to try to gain ground on Mariota in the Heisman race? Any other year, Winston would, by far, be running away with the trophy. This year, however, he continues to play second fiddle to Mariota.

The freshman had himself a decent game against a very good Miami defense this weekend. 325 passing yards and touchdown were a part of his stat line. He also helped his Seminoles beat down on the then #6 Miami Hurricanes.

He did, however, struggle with his decision-making in the contest, throwing two interceptions. Again, it’s turnovers like these that separate Mariota from Winston to this point.

Winston now has 27 total touchdowns to his credit, just two behind Mariota’s 29 now.  He’s played a similarly tough schedule compared to Mariota. Just like Mariota, Winston and his team are undefeated. In fact, they sit just one spots behind Oregon in the BCS rankings.

The ‘Noles need some help from Oregon, and four more wins, if they want to vault the Ducks in the standings. Similarly, Winston will need a some help from Mariota, in the form of a few poor games, to jump the Duck’s QB in the Heisman standings.

Johnny Manziel, Sophomore QB, Texas A&M

Stock: EVEN
Week 10 Stats: 16-24, 273 yards, 4 TD, 67 rush yards, 2 TD
Season Stats: 200-276, 2867 yards, 26 TD, 8 INT’s 564 rush yards, 8 TD

I mentioned last week that the reason Manziel was sitting third on this list is because of his turnovers. Well, this week, they were nonexistent, and the sophomore closed the gap on Jameis Winston.

Johnny Football took it to the lowly UTEP Minors to the tune of six total touchdowns and over 300 yards of total offense. He completed two-thirds of his passes as well.

Obviously, UTEP is nowhere near the defense that some of the SEC teams Manziel has faced are, but six total touchdowns are six total touchdowns. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing.

Manziel now has 34 total touchdowns, more than both Mariota and Winston. The issue, for now, is still the turnovers. If Manziel continues to not throw interceptions, especially now that Winston has come back down to Earth with his pick total, Manziel will quickly climb up the list.

A&M now sits at 7-2 on the year. The two losses have come in- conference, however. It’s going to be tough for the Aggies to contend for a conference championship with how good the conference remains.

Like we mentioned recently, Texas A&M will face two very tough defenses to end the season in Missouri and LSU. If Manziel is able to produce, and limit turnovers, these two games will go a long way to adding to his credentials.

Second Tier

Bryce Petty, Junior QB, Baylor

Week 10 Stats: DNP, Baylor Bye
Season Stats: 122-176, 2453 yards, 18 TD, 1 INT, 73 rush yards, 6 TD

Another week, another quarterback I attempt to put behind the “Big 3”. Last week I had Sean Mannion make his way on to this list, even after a subpar performance against Stanford. After a flat out bad performance against USC, Mannion is out.

In steps the quarterback of the highest scoring team in the league, Bryce Petty. Petty and the Bears did not play this week, but his did not play is still better than Mannion’s week.

Petty has scored a total of 24 touchdowns this year and thrown just one interception. He’s posted over 2,500 yards of total offense throughout seven games.

The reason the junior hadn’t made it on the list to this point has been the way his offense is run. Baylor spreads the ball out tremendously between Petty, Seastrunk  and Shock Linwood, and as a result, Petty’s numbers are somewhat under the radar.

He’s been outstanding with protecting the football, however, and his efforts need to be noted. He’s completed nearly 70% of his passes, and only turned the ball over once.

Baylor currently stands at 7-0 and ranked sixth nationally. The team has garnered high praise for their high octane offense and undefeated record. The Bears do have a tough road ahead of them, however, as they will face Oklahoma and Texas Tech at home before heading to Oklahoma State. All three of these teams are nationally ranked.

If Petty and the Bears can win all three of these games, their names will begin to circulate in Heisman and BCS voting respectfully. Check back in a few weeks to see if he has managed to accomplish that goal.

Honorable Mention

Sean Mannion, Junior QB, Oregon State
Melvin Gordon, Sophomore RB, Wisconsin
Ka’Deem Carey, Junior RB, Arizona