Heisman Watch: Week 14

posted December 2, 2014 in CommRadio, Sports by Tyler Zulli

Front Runners

Marcus Mariota, Junior QB, Oregon

Week 14 Stats: 19-25, 367 yards, 4 TD, 10 carries, 39 yards, 2 TD
Season Stats: 229-334, 3470 yards, 36 TD, 2 INT, 107 carries, 636 yards, 11 TD

The college football game has apparently become nothing more than a big joke to Marcus Mariota at this point in his career. I don’t say that meaning Mariota is taking the game lightly or that he is not trying any more. It just appears he doesn’t even need to try any more to carve up opposing defenses on a weekly basis. The Ducks’ leader has been simply that outstanding not only this season, but throughout his entire career in Eugene.

In what may have been his final regular season game as a college athlete, the junior quarterback took on in-state rival Oregon State in the annual Civil War, a battle in which the Ducks have claimed the previous six victories.

This 2014 addition would be no different, as Mariota and the Ducks ran up and down the field on the Beavers, to the tune of a 47-19 win. Mariota was, of course, the focal point of the Ducks’ attack, both through the air and on the ground.

Through the air, Mariota was 19-of-25 on the day, a completion percentage of over 75%. He threw for 367 yards and added four touchdowns to three different receivers with the aerial attack The four touchdowns added to his already impressive season total, giving him 36 passing touchdowns on the season.

On the ground, Mariota was just good enough to keep the read option effective and deadly. He carried the football ten times for just 39 yards, but was able to punch in two scores on the ground. These scores gave him 11 rushing touchdowns on the season, marking the first time in his collegiate career that he scored double digit rushing touchdowns.

With the victory, the Ducks have picked up 11 wins on the season, nearly assuring that they will be playing in the first ever College Football Playoff come late December.

First, however, the Ducks will have to get through the Pac-12 championship game against an opponent that has already beaten them earlier in the season in Arizona. The Wildcats have, in fact, defeated the Ducks in consecutive seasons. Mariota will have to be good in order to defeat Arizona and guarantee a spot in the playoff.

Melvin Gordon, Junior RB, Wisconsin

Week 14 Stats: 29 carries, 151 yards, 1 TD, 1 rec TD
Season Stats: 283, 2280 yards, 26 TD, 3 rec TD

Melvin Gordon capped off one of the greatest seasons for a running back in college football history with just yet another “day at the office” type game.

With the steaks higher than they’ve been all season for the Wisconsin Badgers, junior running back Melvin Gordon was, once again, terrific for his offense. Playing Minnesota in the final week of the regular season, the Badgers needed a victory in order to wrap up the west division in the Big Ten and get a chance to play in the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State. A victory is exactly what they got, defeating the Golden Gophers at home 34-24 to pick up their tenth victory of the year, and seventh in conference play.

Gordon was a major part of that victory, as he received 29 carries on the day, as Wisconsin, despite being down early in the contest, never abandoned the run game. And why would you with a back as talented as Gordon?

On those 29 carries, Gordon had somewhat mixed results. In the first half he was bottled up on about half of his carries. At one point, he only had 10 carries for 40 yards rushing. Despite having an average of four yards per carry, a respectable number without question, Gordon has been much better than that this season.

In the second half, however, Gordon exploded back on to the scene, finishing the day with 151 yards rushing and another touchdown. That touchdown gave him at least one in ten consecutive games, and 11 out of 12 games this season. He’ll finish the regular season leading all of college football in both touchdowns scored and total rushing yards.

Also in this last regular season game, Melvin Gordon broke the record for most rushing yards in a single season for a Big Ten running back, rushing for 2280 yards on the season, passing fellow Badger Ron Dayne.

Like mentioned earlier, the Badgers will take on Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship. It’s very unlikely that Wisconsin will have a chance to play in the playoff even with a victory in the championship, but it would not be a bad thing to knock a fellow Big Ten team out of the playoff picture in the final week of the season.

Second Tier

Trevone Boykin, Junior QB, TCU

Week 14 Stats: 20-34, 233 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 12 carries, 50 yards, 1 TD
Season Stats: 249-420, 3254 yards, 26 TD, 6 INT, 134 carries, 598 yards, 8 TD

What a tremendous ascent for the junior quarterback from TCU this late in the season. Just like last season, when Andre Williams made his ascent late into Heisman contention while at Boston College, Boykin has been good all year, but with a combination of poor play by the players ahead of him and his own terrific play, has risen to a higher extent than ever before.

Boykin and his Horned Frogs, unlike most of the other teams in college football, aren’t done their regular season schedule yet, as they’ll play again next week against Iowa State. Before that, however, TCU has won an astounding ten games already this season and currently sit just outside of the playoff picture in fifth.

That has been in large part to Boykin’s play all season long, and that trend continued this past weekend against Texas. Connecting with ten receivers on the day, Boykin completed 20 of his 34 pass attempts for 233 yards. He added two passing touchdowns, one to his trusted receiver Josh Doctson. He did, however throw an interception on the day, his one blemish on an otherwise solid performance.

On the ground, Boykin was similarly effective, carrying the ball 12 times for 50 yards on the day. He also added a touchdown with his legs, giving him eight rushing touchdowns on the season.

The junior has been terrific all season long, and will continue to need to be good next week in order to defeat Iowa State. TCU will then need some help from the committee, which they should get with the loss of Mississippi State earlier this weekend.

Honorable Mention:

Dak Prescott, Junior QB, Mississippi State
Amari Cooper, Junior WR, Alabama
J.T. Barrett, Freshman QB, Ohio State

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Troy Wayrynen)

Tyler Zulli is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email Tzull34@gmail.com