Heisman Watch: Week Four

Story posted September 22, 2014 in CommRadio, Sports by Tyler Zulli

Front Runners

Marcus Mariota, Junior QB, Oregon


Week 4 Stats: 21-25, 329 yards, 5 TD, 13 carries, 58 yards

Season Stats: 75-96, 1135 yards, 13 TD, 33 carries, 214 yards, 5 TD

Boy, talk about a Heisman-aspiring performance for Marcus Mariota Saturday night. The No. 2 Oregon Ducks ventured into hostile territory last night, as they traveled north to take on Pac-12 opponent Washington State in the late night game, and Mariota simply shined all night.

Washington State gave the Ducks all they could handle, battling them right to the end of the game. Oregon eventually prevailed 38-31. This game, if nothing else will show that, at least at home, the Cougars are a decent football team headed in the right direction.

The junior quarterback was nearly untouchable, completing 21 of 25 passes and throwing for well over 300 yards. Mariota connected with just four Ducks’ receivers on the night, but the guys he did find, he found often. Mariota completed multiple touchdown passes to Devon Allen and Keanan Lowe, and added another to a third receiver, Pharaoh Brown.

Mariota, always a threat to extend the play with his legs, added 58 yards on the ground for the night. He’s now rushed for over 200 yards on the year and found the end zone five times with his feet.

Through the air, Mariota has been a star, completing more than 75% of his passes on the year. He’s added over 1,100 passing yards, and has found his receivers in the end zone 13 times in this short season.

Oregon will continue their Pac-12 schedule in two weeks against a young, aspiring Arizona Wildcats team. Arizona is currently undefeated as well, sitting at 4-0. Mariota will have to be in top form to remain undefeated and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Todd Gurley, Junior RB, Georgia


Week 4 Stats: 6 carries, 73 yards

Season Stats: 41 carries, 402 yards, 4 TD, 1 Kick Return TD

This is an unfortunate situation this week for Todd Gurley. He falls from the top spot on this watch list for the first time in the 2014 season. It has nothing to do with what Gurley did this week, and has everything to do with what his Georgia team did.

Gurley saw just seven touches in Georgia’s matchup with Troy University this past weekend. Seeing just seven touches, the junior running back accrued 73 rushing yards on the day. The upside of these limited yards and touches comes in the form of Gurley’s 12.2 yards per carry. This means Gurley averaged more than a first down per carry for Georgia on the day.

The Bulldogs put an absolute smack down on Troy, winning by a score of 66-0. Think they may have taken some of their frustration out on Troy after losing to South Carolina last weekend? I think so.

Regardless of the situation, the Bulldogs against the Trojans simply didn’t need Gurley. Seven different Georgia running backs had carries on the day.

Georgia will be back at it next weekend as they open the block of conference play against the Tennessee Volunteers at home. I expect Gurley to be used just a tad more frequently in this game. I also expect him to have a day, getting right back on track as he tries to find his way back to the top of this list.

Second Tier

Kenny Hill, Sophomore QB, Texas A&M


Week 4 Stats: 16-22, 265 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 57 rush yards

Season Stats: 97-139, 1359 yards, 13 TD, 1 INT

Well, it doesn’t seem like Kenny Hill will gain any ground on the two guys ahead of him. With that being said, however, Hill has definitely pulled away from the guys below him. With the Jameis Winston suspension (we’ll talk about that later) and Hill’s continued success, Kenny Thrill will stand alone at the third spot.

Hill was masterful in the Aggies’ victory over SMU this weekend, as he picked apart the Mustang defense, completing 16 of his 22 passes, throwing for 265 yards on the day. He added two scores through the air, bringing his season total up to 13.

The sophomore did have one smudge on his otherwise spectacular day, as he threw his first interception of the season. Coincidentally, that was also the first interception thrown by Hill in his collegiate career.

 Hill was once again replaced by his backup Kyle Allen as the Aggies put an absolute beatdown on SMU, winning 58-6, remaining undefeated on the season, improving to 4-0. Texas A&M jumps to No. 6 in the rankings, and look to continue to climb next week, as they’ll take on Arkansas at home. After that, however, the Aggies will have a tough road to face, as they’ll take on Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama in consecutive weeks. Hill will have to be at his best.

Jameis Winston, Sophomore QB, Florida State


Week 4 Stats: N/A

Season Stats: 47-67, 626 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT

As we all know by now, Winston was suspended for the entire game against Clemson this weekend for making an inappropriate comment that’s received a cult following over the last few months. Winston simply needs to make better decisions off the field, as he is a public figure for his school and his team.

With that being said, I truly believe the Heisman Trophy should have nothing to do with off the field problems. Barring arrest or being kicked off the team, a player shouldn’t be penalized in voting for off the field issues. And on the field Jameis has been pretty darn good.

The sophomore has been consistent in the passing game, completing more than two-thirds of his passes. Winston has led his team to two wins thus far, throwing for over 300 yards per game. He has thrown two picks, but neither were costly, as the ‘Noles are still undefeated to this point.

Winston will be back leading the Seminoles next week as they’ll head to NC State to take on the Wolfpack. After that, two easier matchups with Wake Forest and Syracuse follow. Winston should have a field day with these three teams.

Honorable Mention

Everett Golson, Senior QB, Notre Dame

Amari Cooper, Junior WR, Alabama

Taysom Hill, Junior QB, BYU


(Photo credit:AP Photo/Dean Hare)

Tyler Zulli is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email tzull34@gmail.com.