Heisman Watch: Week Two

Story posted September 9, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Kevin Alonzo

It’s never too early to start breaking down Heisman Trophy candidates. After two weeks of play, most of the big name players have lived up to their expectations, some more so than others. Here is how things are shaping up as we look ahead to week 3 of the College Football season.

1.) Johnny Manziel – Say what you want about Johnny Manziel’s off-the-field antics, but the Heisman Trophy is his to lose until proven otherwise. Despite a tumultuous offseason, Manziel has looked every bit as impressive as he did last season when he took home the award. Manziel was suspended for the first half against Rice in Week 1, after he allegedly accepted money for autographs. He entered the game in the third quarter unfazed and proceeded to carve up the Owls’ defense for three touchdown passes.  Saturday’s matchup against Sam Houston St. was another walk in the park for Manziel, who threw for 400 yards and three more touchdowns. Granted, it was against an FCS team. Manziel now turns his attention to Alabama, as the defending national champion Crimson Tide travel to College Station next Saturday. The best player in the country will try to take down the number one team in the country. A win over ‘Bama for the second straight year would set things up for “Johnny Football” to bring home another Heisman Trophy.

2.) Teddy Bridgewater – It was another day at the office for the Louisville quarterback, as he picked apart the Eastern Kentucky defense for 397 yards and four touchdown passes. Bridgewater, who has thrown nine touchdown passes to just on one interception so far this season, may very well be the first quarterback taken in next April’s NFL draft.  Most scouts believe he’s a better NFL prospect than Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, San Jose State’s David Fales and the aforementioned Johnny Manziel. Playing in the American Athletic Conference makes life a little easier for Bridgewater. The Cardinals, who are currently ranked eighth in the land, have enough talent to beat every remaining team on their schedule. However, running the table in college football is no small task, as we have all come to learn over the years. Bridgewater should have no problem lighting up the stat sheets against the likes of Temple and Rutgers. It’s safe to say he’ll remain in the Heisman discussion throughout the season and ultimately merit a trip to New York in December. 

3.) Tajh Boyd – After his coming out party against Georgia last weekend, in front of a nationally televised audience, Boyd was essentially asked to be a game manager on Saturday against South Carolina St. He threw for only 169 yards and no touchdowns, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story since Clemson got off to an early lead and wound up relying more on the ground game in the blowout win. Stats are the least of Boyd’s worries, however. The numbers will pile on, as he’s got a strong supporting cast around him, led by one of the best receivers in all of College Football in Sammy Watkins. Boyd’s 2013 campaign is going to come down to two games against ranked opponents.  An Oct. 19 matchup against freshman Jameis Winston and the no. 10 ranked Seminoles could end up being a shootout between the two star quarterbacks. Traveling to South Carolina for the regular season finale and having to take snaps under center with Jadeveon Clowney getting ready to annihilate him will be the ultimate challenge for the Clemson quarterback. If Boyd can lead the Tigers to victory in these two games, at the very least he’ll warrant an invitation to the Heisman Trophy presentation. 

4.) Braxton Miller – Ohio State fans held their breaths when their star quarterback went down in Saturday’s game against San Diego St. with a sprained MCL. The Buckeyes received good news after the game when head coach Urban Myer said he doesn’t expect Miller to miss a significant amount of time. As it stands, not only does Miller have a strong chance of winning the Heisman, but Ohio State is a championship contender with him at the helm. Ohio State has the best team in the Big Ten and enough talent to go all the way if everything breaks right. If Miller stays healthy, expect the dual-threat quarterback to continue piling on the stats and wins for the Buckeyes. 

5.) Todd Gurley – The sophomore running back is garnering a lot of attention after huge performances against South Carolina and Clemson to start the season. In just two games, Gurley has rushed for 288 yards and three touchdowns, while averaging 6.9 yards per carry. He came up big in a virtual must-win game against conference-foe South Carolina.  Georgia couldn’t afford to start the season off 0-2 and Gurley did his part to make sure that didn’t happen. Expect to hear the name Todd Gurley more and more as the season progresses. 

Other guys to keep an eye on: De’Anthony Thomas (Oregon), Jadeveon Clowney (So. Carolina), Jameis Winston (Florida State) and Marcus Mariota (Oregon).

Kevin Alonzo is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism.  To contact him, email kaa5303@psu.edu.