Heisman Watch: Week Seven

Story posted October 15, 2013 in CommRadio, Sports by Tyler Zulli

Front Runners

Tajh Boyd, Senior QB, Clemson

Stock: Even

Week 7 Stats: 30-44, 334 yards, 1 TD, 33 rush yards, 1 TD

With only one passing touchdown to his credit this weekend, it would be understandable that some may want Boyd to drop on this list in favor of Mariota. It has to be known, however, that Boston College has a much more potent defense than given credit for.

This week, Boyd’s quarterback rating was statistically the lowest it has been all season, but the senior remains on top of this list because of his ability to win, in a game that was very much up for grabs.

The big-play quarterback added a rushing touchdown, while guiding his Tigers to their fourth straight ACC victory, and sixth win overall. Boyd threw for over 330 yards and completed over 68% of his passes in the win over the Eagles.

The intangibles, along with wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, are what separates Boyd from other top Heisman candidates. This weekend upcoming will be, by far, the toughest test of the season for Clemson, as they will head to Tallahassee, FL., to take on #5 Florida State. It will be Boyd’s largest personal hurdle in his quest for the Heisman.

Marcus Mariota, Sophomore QB, Oregon

Stock: Even

Week 7 Stats: 24-31, 366 yards, 3TD, 88 rush yards, 1 TD

Well, I mentioned the struggles Oregon may have in the coming weeks, starting with Washington, this past weekend. Guess I was wrong. Oregon put up 45 points on the Huskies, and the game wasn’t as close as the 21-point victory.

Mariota was dominant, plain and simple. He diced up the Washington defense for four total touchdowns and well over 400 total yards. He was able to complete 75% of his passes and picked up almost seven yards a carry.

The young quarterback has led his Ducks to a 6-0 start and a No. 2 ranking in the BCS standings. Oregon is off to another incredible start in the Pac 12 this season.

The title run doesn’t get any easier from here, though. A matchup against Washington State may be considered a trap game for the Ducks as they look ahead to the weeks following, as UCLA will go to Autzen Stadium, before the Ducks go to Stanford.

Teddy Bridgewater, Junior QB, Louisville

Stock: UP

Week 7 Stats: 21-31, 310 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

It may not have been the best statistical game, but there is a reason Bridgewater jumped so highly on the list this week. The Cardinals finally faced a serviceable foe in Rutgers, and came out victorious.

Bridgewater led his offense with over 300 yards passing, 115 of them to wideout Damian Copeland. Two touchdowns added to his season total of 18, compared to just two interceptions. With a 75.0 QBR this weekend, the junior continues to produce at a high level.

What I’m most impressed with through seven weeks from Bridgewater is his pocket composure. Coming into the season as a dual threat quarterback, Bridgewater has made a statement that he is not only a threat in the pocket, but also truly NFL ready.

The matchup I’ve talked about for weeks is finally upon Louisville, as they will take on UCF Friday night at home. UCF, a team that took South Carolina to the wire, has a sneaky good defense and could pose as a real challenge for Bridgewater’s offense. If the Cardinals are able to get past the Knights, an undefeated season is definitely not out of the question.

Right Behind, But Still Very Much Alive

Johnnny Manziel, Sophomore QB, Texas A&M

Stock: DOWN

Week 7 Stats: 31-39, 346 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 124 rush yards, 2 TD

The touchdowns didn’t come from reigning Heisman winner’s arm this weekend. But, that doesn’t mean they didn’t come from Johnny Football. Although he failed to throw a touchdown, he ran for two on 124 yards.

The Aggies held on to defeat a very underrated Ole Miss team, one that has flirted with the Top 25 multiple times this season---and Manziel was a major part of that victory.

Even though a passing touchdown didn’t appear in Manziel’s stat sheet, his arm was lively, and more importantly, accurate.  Completing 80% of his passes on the day, Manziel became more of a game manager than in past games. Sometimes that’s all A&M needs.

The Aggies will take on newly ranked Auburn next week, a team whose recruiting process has finally started to turn the team around. Manziel will be the deciding factor in this game, without question. A productive game will spark another quick jump.

Jameis Winston, Freshman QB, Florida State

Stock: EVEN

Week 7 Stats: DNP Florida State Bye

Winston has been nothing short of spectacular this season. He’s young, and his potential is enormous. He remains this low on the list because of the play of the men above him, combined with the bye week FSU had this week.

17 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions, along with a 73 comp. %, are Winston’s credentials to this point. A 91 QB rating, has been nothing short of phenomenal this season.

A showdown with Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers will be Winston’s first major test of the season. I mentioned it last week, but if the Seminoles upset the Tigers, don’t be surprised to see Winston jump highly on this list, and the Seminoles jump into the No. 3 spot in the Top 25.

Honorable Mention

Aaron Murray, Senior QB, Georgia

Lache Seastrunk, Junior RB, Baylor

Brett Hundley, Sophomore QB, UCLA

Tyler Zulli is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email tcz5008@psu.edu.