Heisman Watch: Week 11

Story posted November 12, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Tyler Zulli

Front Runners

Marcus Mariota, Sophomore QB, Oregon

Stock: EVEN                                                                                                                                              Week 11 Stats: 20-34, 250 yards, 2 TD                                                                                                 Season Stats:164-259, 2531 yards, 22 TD, 0 INT, 495 rush yards, 9 TD

I know what you’re probably thinking. How, after losing to Stanford and having the worst statistical game of the year, can you keep Mariota at the top of the list? Every time somebody had a bad game, you dropped them on this list.

Well, Mariota is an excpetion. Yes Mariota’s Ducks did lose to Stanford, but Stanford is now ranked #5 nationally. They have one of the better defenses in all of collegiate football. They’ve quickly become Oregon’s biggest rival in the Pac 12. It was a tough game for the Ducks to win.

Even though it was the worst game of the sophomore’s years, Mariota was still pretty good. He threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns on the day. He also almost led the Ducks back after being shutout in the first three quarters. He wasn’t as bad as people perceive.

Saturday’s game did mark the first game all year that Mariota recorded negative rushing yards in a contest. He finished with -16 rushing yards on six carries. One game shouldn’t mark a man’s season, however.

Mariota, and the rest of the Ducks, will have their chance to get back on top with the last three games of the year. They will face Utah before heading to Arizona and finishing up the season against cross-state Oregon State.

Jameis Winston, Freshman QB, Florida State

Stock: EVEN                                                                                                                                              Week 11 Stats: 17-28, 159 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT                                                                                     Season Stats: 166-240, 2661 yards, 26 TD, 7 INT, 3 rush TD

No, he didn’t jump Mariota on this list. He did, however, close the gap significantly. The question becomes, how much more would Winston have closed the gap if he’d of played the entire game?

Winston’s Seminoles completely dominated the under-talented Wake Forest defense. After the Oregon lose, do you blame them? Florida State had the opportunity to jump Oregon and become the #2 team in the country. They did just that.

Winston’s stats were cut well short of what they could have been by his own defense. The defense had six interceptions, including a pick six, and returned a kick for a touchdown. They limited what the freshman could do by playing too well.

The running back core also vultured some of Winston’s stats. They ran for a combined three touchdowns on the day.

Winston’s day wasn’t bad by any means. He threw for two touchdowns and over 150 yards. It just wasn’t a stat line we’ve come to expect from Winston.

The ‘Noles, now 9-0, have clinched a spot in the ACC championship game. They have three games in between them and perfection. Syracuse, Idaho and in state rival Florida stand between Florida State and the National Championship.

Winston has those games, plus the ACC championship game, to show he truly has had a better season than Mariota. Only time will tell.

Second Tier

Johnny Manziel, Sophomore QB, Texas A&M

Stock: EVEN                                                                                                                                                Week 11 Stats: 30-39, 446 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT                                                                                     Season Stats: 230-315, 3313 yards, 31 TD, 11 INT, 611 rush yards, 8 TD

Manziel may have played his last game as an Aggie at Kyle Field this weekend. If that’s the case, he certainly made it an interesting night.

The Aggies defeated Mississippi State, 51-41, in a thrilling, offensive expose. Manziel threw for almost 450 yards and added five touchdowns through the air. He completed over 75% of his passes, and looked sharp on many of his throws.

Those were the positives. The negatives, which have been a recurring theme throughout the year, were his interceptions. Johnny Football tossed three picks to Mississippi State defenders, including two to Jamerson Love.

Manziel has been very good this year. He just hasn’t been as good as Winston or Mariota. He’s also been nowhere near as good as he was his freshman year when he took home the Hesiman hardware. I don’t like comparing year to year stats, but in Manziel’s case, I think it needs to be done.

Texas A&M has just two games left, both on the road. Neither will be anything short of a struggle for the Aggies to win, as they travel to LSU and Missouri to round out the season. If the Aggies can pull these victories off, Manziel will climb the list once again.

Bryce Petty, Junior QB, Baylor

Stock: EVEN                                                                                                                                              Week 11 Stats: 13-26, 204 yards, 3 TD, 45 rush yards, 2 TD                                                            Season Stats:135-202, 2657 yards, 21 TD, 1 INT, 118 rush yards, 8 TD

Boy, talk about a beatdown. Baylor remained unbeaten Thursday night after absolutely derailing Oklahoma at home, 41-17. The Bears continue to climb the national standings quickly, as they now sit #6 nationally. The big names on this offense include Seastrunk, Linwood and, of course, Petty.

Bryce Petty completed only 50% of his passes, but was incredibly effective all night long. He threw for over 200 yards and three scores. He also added two scores with his feet, his seventh and eighth rushing touchdowns of the season.

Petty has become the first quarterback to hold this coveted fourth place spot on the list. We’ve had Mannion, Guiton, Miller and a few more sit here earlier this year. I truly believe Petty is here to stay. He’s incredibly talented and athletically gifted. His stats speak for themselves. He may be much higher on this list if the top three guys weren’t so good.

The Bears have four games left on their schedule. They will face Texas and Texas Tech at home and TCU and Oklahoma State on the road. Four very tough games separate the Bears and perfection.

Petty will have to be at his best to beat these teams and take Baylor to the next level. If he’s able to do so, just like Manziel, he will rise tremendously on this list. He may even be able to challenge Winston for the second spot. As with the last two guys, time will tell how things occur.

Honorable Mentions

Ka’Deem Carey, Junior RB, Arizona

AJ McCarron, Senior QB, Alabama

Melvin Gordon, Sophomore RB, Wisconsin