Heisman Watch: Week Two

Story posted September 7, 2014 in CommRadio, Sports by Tyler Zulli

Front Runners

Todd Gurley, Junior RB, Georgia

Week 2 Stats: BYE

Season Stats: 15 carries, 198 yards, 3 TD, 100 KR yards, 1 TD

Even without the benefit of playing in week two, Todd Gurley still tops the list as this first week of Heisman Watch 2014 gets under way. Although he didn’t suit up this week, his play against Clemson in week one was so tremendous that he’ll take the first top spot of the year anyway.

Gurley ran wild on the Clemson Tigers at home in week one, picking up nearly 200 yards rushing on just 15 carries. That comes out to an average of over 13 yards per touch. Those numbers alone will get you Heisman consideration, but it never hurts your cause to add three rushing scores on the day.

Gurley found the back of the endzone a total of four times on the day, rushing for three and returning a kickoff 100 yards for an additional score. He did all this against the then No. 16 Clemson Tigers, a team that beat Georgia on opening night last year.

With the Bulldogs revenge taken, they received a well-deserved week off before they head to South Carolina to take on “The Old Ball Coach” and his Gamecocks. After a tough matchup with South Carolina, Georgia will draw Troy, Tennessee and Vanderbilt in consecutive weeks. These three weeks should prove to be nothing more that stat padders for Gurley, as he looks to remain on top of the Heisman Watch list as the season progresses.


Marcus Mariota, Junior QB, Oregon

Week 2 Stats: 17-28, 318 yards, 3 TD, 42 rush yards

Season Stats: 31-48, 585 yards, 6 TD, 85 rush yards, 1 TD

Long gone are the days of Marcus Mariota, the scrambling quarterback with the rocket arm. Now, instead, we see a new Mariota, a more improved Mariota. The junior quarterback is running less and throwing more, with great results through the first two games of the season.

After picking apart South Dakota State in week one, Mariota and the Ducks faced what may be their toughest task of the year in reigning Big Ten champions Michigan State. Sparty, coming off of a Rose Bowl victory, looked to prove they belong with the big boys.

Mariota proved that they weren’t quite as good defensively as some wanted to believe. The Ducks offense, led by Mariota put up 46 points on the Spartans defense that hadn’t allowed 30 points or more since January 2, 2011.

Mariota provided just the spark the Ducks needed, throwing for over 300 yards and finding his receivers in the end zone three times. He also punched a rushing touchdown in on 42 yards. 

The Ducks have now opened up their season at 2-0, and now will take on less than stellar opponents in Wyoming and Washington State in the next two weeks. Just like Gurley, Mariota will look to pad his stats in the upcoming weeks, as Oregon looks to remain undefeated as the season progresses. He’ll be playing for more than Heisman consideration, as Mariota looks to keeps his draft stock on the rise.


Second Tier

Kenny Hill, Sophomore QB, Texas A&M

Week 2 Stats: 17-26, 283 yards, 4 TD

Season Stats: 61-86, 794 yards, 7 TD

Johnny who? College Station has a new sheriff in town, and his name is Kenny “Trill”. Filling the shoes of the infamous Johnny Manziel, Kenny Hill stepped into the spotlight and made the most of his opportunity, beating down South Carolina in week one 52-28 on the road.

Hill threw for over 500 yards against the Gamecocks, adding three passing touchdowns in the process. The questions were gone before the game even ended of whether Hill would be able to step in and produce for the Aggies.

His encore performance was a bit more modest in week two. Still throwing for nearly 300 yards, Hill was well out of the game by the time the clock hit zero in the fourth quarter as the Aggies beat down lowly Lamar University. He did, however, throw for another four scores, bringing his young season total up to seven now.

The cupcake theme continues for these Heisman hopefuls, as Hill and his Aggies will face Rice, SMU and Arkansas in the next three weeks. I don’t expect a poor game from Hill in any of these contests, as he’ll just rake in the stats and be on the sideline for the fourth quarter. I do, however, look forward to seeing what he’s able to do against some tough SEC defenses later in the year. Texas A&M will head to Alabama and Auburn later in the year, before finishing the season at home against LSU. That’s where I want to see Hill shine.


Jameis Winston, Sophomore QB, Florida State

Week 2 Stats: 22-27, 256 yards, 2 TD

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

The reigning Heisman trophy winner makes this list for two reasons. The first, he’s the reigning Heisman trophy winner. Until somebody steps up and out produces you, you get the luxury of remaining on top. The second, he’s playing some decent football through the first two weeks.

Famous Jameis came out a bit rusty in the season opener against a better than advertised Oklahoma State team, throwing for 370 yards and a score, but throwing two interceptions along the way. He was, however, able to punch in a score with his legs in the 37-31 win in Arlington.

His second matchup of the year proved to be a cakewalk, as his Seminoles trounced The Citadel 37-12. Another product of lopsided scoring, Winston didn’t see any action in the fourth quarter of the ball game.

Before exiting, however, the sophomore did throw for over 250 yards, adding two scores through the air. It was a good enough performance in a tune up game to keep Winston in consideration in the early part of this season.

Now at 2-0, the reigning champs Florida State will take on Clemson at home before heading to a decent road test in North Carolina State. Jameis will have to be on his game in these two contests to not only keep the ‘Noles in contention for the playoffs, but to also keep his Heisman hopes alive. I look for Winston to have a fine day against the Tigers at home in two weeks.


Honorable Mention

Ameer Abdullah, Senior RB, Nebraska

Bryce Petty, Senior QB, Baylor

Cody Kessler, Junior QB, USC


(Photo credit: AP Photo/Chris Pietsch) 

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