Johnny Manziel won the 2012 Heisman on the strength of many things — his legs, his arm, his leadership, his youth and his persona. As an added bonus, the moments Manziel contributed to 2012’s season of fun were seemingly non stop. On Saturday, Manziel had a chance to submit another one of those much-coveted “Heisman moments” on Saturday. And yet, it just wasn’t there when needed this time. A visibly shaken and likely injured Manziel threw for 454 yards, accounted for five touchdowns and was key in his team’s attack. But he didn’t get the win.
Everything that Jameis Winston achieved on Saturday night could have just as easily been Tajh Boyd’s. The national exposure, the bright lights, the top-five matchup — it was all there. But it was clear who was the better player was on this night. And it wasn’t the senior, it was the freshman. Boyd threw for one touchdown, two interceptions and didn’t complete more than 35 percent of his passes.
A Friday night seemed to fit undefeated and No. 8 Louisville just right. And yet, things didn’t feel perfect for Louisville from the get-go. And Bridgewater and the Cardinals went down hard. Bridgewater’s 341 yards and two touchdowns were big, and continue a trend of the leader putting up big numbers no matter the opponent, but Louisville lost. And in a race that is so crowded at the quarterback position, Bridgewater needed to also be in the thick of the title game race to make some headway in the Heisman race.
AJ McCarron seems to know exactly how to, with neurosurgeon-like efficiency and accuracy — pick apart a defense in the most simple way possible, and get the most out of his time on the field. McCarron completed 15 of 21 passes, threw for 180 yards and three touchdowns in Alabmaa’s blowout victory over Arkansas, the Crimson Tide’s second straight such win in as many seasons. McCarron has been the leader the Tide has needed in those big wins.
Marcus Mariota wont stop. Against a surprisingly game Washington State team, Mariota and the Ducks went to work. And work they did — Mariota threw for two touchdowns and 327 yards. But that wasn’t it — Mariota ran for another touchdown and a nice collection of 67 yards. The chunk of that rushing total was the game’s first score, and proved once against what a threat Mariota is all over the field.
Jameis Winston took control. Winston took total control of the game against Clemson, the Seminoles offense, and the media’ attention with his performance against the Tigers. Winston threw for 444 yards, accounted for four touchdowns and was the star of the biggest game of the season in college football thus far. Completing nearly 90 percent of his passes, Winston looked well beyond his years and drove the Seminoles to a convincing and dominating win against No. 3 Clemson.