Heisman Watch Week Nine: Bryce Petty Makes His Move

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Johnny Manziel

Bouncing back from losses defines a season in college football, and for Johnny Manziel, Saturday gave him and Texas A&M a chance to do just that. In a solid victory over SEC foe Vanderbilt, Manziel passed for 305 yards and four touchdowns to give the Aggies just what they needed after suffering a tough second loss last weekend at the hands of Auburn.

Teddy Bridgewater

A nice bounce back victory for Louisville and Teddy Bridgewater keeps Bridgewater’s Heisman hopes alive at least for the time being, as the senior quarterback passed for 344 yards and three touchdowns against a much outmatched USF team on Saturday. After a loss to UCF last week, Bridgewater needed this kind of coasting performance in an easy win and got it. We’ll see if his Heisman stock can remain stable in the weeks to come.

Bryce Petty

In leading one of the nation’s most explosive offenses and the Big 12’s surprise season of the year thus far, quarterback Bryce Petty has played a huge role in Baylor’s rise to national prominence in 2013. Saturday was no different for the junior quarterback, as he submitted a 430-yard, three-touchdown day against lesser Kansas to run Baylor’s record to 7-0. Plus, Petty didn’t even play the full extent of the game, as he has most of the season.

Marcus Mariota  

What could have turned out to be a tough test against Pac-12 foes instead became a bit of a romp for Oregon, as UCLA proved less of a test in the second half than the first half suggested. For Marcus Mariota, the game was something of a wash, with the quarterback passing for just one touchdown and 230 yards and rushing for less than 20, far from his season averages. But still enough to lead his team to victory and give Oregon with a convincing resume win.

Jameis Winston

A cruising victory for Florida State and Jameis Winston was just what the Seminoles needed coming off a season-defining victory over Clemson last week. Winston passed for 292 yards and three touchdowns in FSU’s win over North Carolina State. The 49-17 victory over the Wolfpack came in a game that could have easily served as a trap for the Seminoles, and continued Winston’s powerful performance in his freshman year.

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Heisman Watch Week Eight: Winston Bright In A National Spotlight

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Johnny Manziel

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.

Tajh Boyd

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.

Teddy Bridgewater

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 McCarrron

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  

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

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.

Heisman Watch Week Seven: Contenders Step Up When Needed

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Johnny Manziel

On a Saturday full of upsets Johnny Manziel led Texas A&M past an upset bid of their own from Ole Miss. Though his performance wasn’t one for the record books, or anything quite close to that, his two rushing touchdowns and yet another 300-plus yard game through the air was enough to lift the Aggies to victory, which was all the more important on this Saturday in particular.

Tajh Boyd

Tajh Boyd seems to have the tendency to give Clemson exactly what they need, when they need it. It was no different on Saturday, as in a 24-14 victory over Boston College, Boyd tossed and ran for key touchdowns in a closer-than-expected victory over the Eagles. Was it pretty for the Tigers? No, but it was a victory, and a much-needed one before they gear up for a showdown with Jameis Winston and Florida State.

Teddy Bridgewater

With Thursday night all to himself, Teddy Bridgewater may not have broken out the big guns, but his performance against Rutgers was key to the Cardinals continuing their undefeated start to the regular season and a run at the Heisman trophy. Bridgewater connected on 21 of 31 attempts for two touchdowns and 310 yards to help Louisville top Rutgers on the night.

AJ McCarrron

It was a slow start for AJ McCarron and the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday against a much lesser Kentucky team. But once the Tide got started, it was tough to stop them, much to McCarron’s credit. Throwing for 359 yards and a touchdown, the senior leader helped the Tide score 24 points in the second quarter after a barren first, and helped Alabama to an eventual 48-7 victory.

Marcus Mariota  

Marcus Mariota and the Oregon offensive attack was needed for most of the game against Washington, a revived program with much to prove this weekend. But Mariota delivered against the Huskies, passing for 366 yards and three touchdowns to go with 88 yards and another score against a Huskies defense that nearly knocked off Stanford last weekend, and clearly put a shake into the Cardinal, which lost this weekend.

Jameis Winston

Though Jameis Winston and Florida State rested this weekend, it’s safe to say their minds were not far from the football field with top-five Clemson looming. Sure Winston has collected nearly 1,500 yards passing in five games, and sure, he’s passed for 17 touchdowns against just two interceptions, but the game against Clemson could decide the fate of not only the ACC, but also a possible BCS national title game storyline. Winston will get the chance to shine, as will Boyd, next Saturday.

Heisman Watch Week Six: McCarron, Winston and Boyd Set The Tone

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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M had the week off to prepare for Ole Miss. Though the toughest part of Manziel’s season, his matchup with Alabama, is behind him, he still has plenty of chances to make an impact in the Heisman race with strong performances against schools like upcoming Auburn and Mississippi State, not to mention a showcase meeting with LSU as the season winds down in late November.

Tajh Boyd

Four hundred and fifty-five yards will jump out at you on a stat sheet and a box score. That’s what strikes you first when you look at Clemson’s easy win over Syracuse from Saturday. Clemson certainly didn’t need the five touchdowns Body contributed to the win, but it was sure to fun to watch Boyd pick apart the new-to-the-ACC Orange defense in his time in the game before coach Dabo Swinney took his star out.

Teddy Bridgewater

Playing in the newly formed American Athletic Conference for the first time Saturday, Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville had little trouble with Temple, using a 24-point first half and suffocating defense to top the Owls. Bridgewater, for his part, contributed two touchdowns and 348 passing yards to help the Cardinals breeze by Temple and continuing their undefeated start to the season.

AJ McCarrron

Georgia State might not have put up much fight against Alabama and AJ McCarron, but McCarron took his game to a different level, as he completed 15 of 16 passes for four touchdowns and 166 yards. His completion percentage set a record for Crimson Tide and the victory was an easy walkover for the Tide before their SEC schedule sets in.

Marcus Mariota  

Seven touchdowns, no matter who they are scored against, is an impressive stat line for any quarterback to submit in a college football weekend. Yes, Marcus Mariota passed for five touchdowns and ran for two more against Colorado, but it was a stunning line none the less. Mariota also pushed near to 400 yards against the Buffaloes. The Ducks didn’t even score after the third quarter and Mariota played little more than a half.

Jameis Winston

A ranked matchup against Maryland should have promised a tough battle between two ACC schools in the middle of the conference’s resurgence. Instead, Winston and Florida State demolished the Terrapins, with Winston delivering highlight reel play after highlight reel play. Add to that SportsCenter-ready package Winston’s 393 passing yards and five touchdowns and you’ve got a Heisman highlight-type game that could stick out this year.

Aaron Murray

Though Georgia’s matchup with Tennessee didn’t seem to offer much in the way of drama, the SEC battle turned out to be among the weekend’s best games, and offered one of the week’s best performances in support of a victory, in Aaron Murray’s charge to lead the Bulldogs’ rally for a win. Importantly, Murray’s comeback bid helped Georgia keep its national title hopes alive as well with his 196 yards and three touchdowns

Heisman Watch Week Five: Winston, Boyd Key Big Victories

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Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel loves playing against Arkansas, following up his 500-plus yard performance last season against the Razorbacks with another 300-plus yards of offensive in Texas A&M’s Saturday night win. Manziel finished with 261 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air to go with 59 yards rushing. The Aggies get Ole Miss and Auburn after their bye next weekend, chances for Manziel to either bolster his chances at a repeat trophy, or watch others pass him by.

Tajh Boyd

Tajh Boyd was back in a big way on Saturday, accounting for four touchdowns in Clemson’s dominating victory over Wake Forest. Boyd recorded his 100th career touchdown and passed for more than 300 yards on the day, picking apart the Demon Deacons easily. With Boston College and Syracuse up next for Clemson before they take on Jamies Winston and Florida State, Boyd has a few weeks to do some stat-padding.

Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville were off this weekend, but with more than 1,200 passing yards and 14 touchdowns through four games, and some weaker AAC defenses upcoming, expect Bridgewater to stay in the Heisman race all year.

AJ McCarrron

Clearly the star of Saturday’s game between Alabama and Ole Miss was the Crimson Tide’s defense, but once again AJ McCarron efficiently led the Tide to the score drives they needed to pull off the victory, although the stats were not eye-popping. McCarron threw for 180 yards and was intercepted once in the 25-0 win.

Marcus Mariota  

Marcus Mariota didn’t need to do much to help Oregon to a victory over California in the Ducks’ return from a bye week. The Golden Bears were put away early, and Mariota was a big part of the early burst, throwing two touchdown passes and rushing for a third in the blowout victory. Mariota might not be truly tested or forced to play a full game until Oct. 12 against Washington.

Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston passed for 330 yards and four touchdowns against Boston College on Saturday, and for most of the game, Florida State needed every single one of those touchdowns to avoid the upset. Though the Eagles trailed off at the end, they hung around for the majority of the game, and Winston stepped up when needed. The freshman quarterback also helped out the Seminoles’ rushing attack with 67 yards on the ground.

Heisman Watch Week 14: Season Draws To A Close For Unusual Heisman Field

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel’s redshirt freshman season was something of revelation for a conference that had already seen the likes of dual-threat quarterbacks Cam Newton and Tim Tebow dominate the nation and the conference in Heisman-winning years. But as Manziel rose to national prominence and broke the record for all-purpose yards first set by Tebow and then broken by Newton, his ability and Heisman potential was undeniable.

The 19-year-old they call Johnny Football finished with 3,419 passing yards, 1,181 rushing yards and 43 combined touchdowns — a stat line that would knock people out from a senior, but one that came from a redshirt freshman. There is little wonder so many believe Manziel is on track to become the first freshman winner in the trophy’s history.

Manti Te’o

Manti Te’o became a household name and the most visible defensive player in the country in 2012, and it wasn’t because of his nation-leading seven interceptions for a linebacker. It wasn’t his 1.5 sacks or 103 tackles, the second and third best performances in those categories in his four-year career.

No, instead, Te’o became the vocal leader of a Notre Dame team that surprised everyone by making their way from a fringe preseason top-25 to the nearly undisputed No. 1 team in the country and earning a berth in the national title. That alone — being the best and most visible player on the nation’s No. 1 team — means a lot in the Heisman race, and Te’o took advantage.

Marqise Lee

Few, if any, pegged Marqise Lee as USC’s leading Heisman hope headed into the 2012 season. But when quarterback Matt Barkley faded toward the middle of the season, Lee’s named slowly but surely crept up into the national radar. Despite his quarterback’s relatively lackluster production, Lee showed an uncanny ability to put up mind bending numbers. Capped by a 469-total-yard, two-touchdown day against Arizona,

Lee accounted for 1,680 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns — both career highs for the sophomore.

Collin Klein

Collin Klein’s season was a lot of things, but it certainly was not boring. Up and down, Klein provided the spark behind a Kansas State team that made its way to the top of the BCS rankings, but suffered such a crushing loss on national television in primetime that neither their BCS impact nor Klein’s Heisman hopes could be revived.

Still, Kansas State is on its way to a BCS bowl, and that’s thanks in large part to Klein, who was the trophy’s front-runner until a kid named Johnny Football showed up and stole the dual-threat quarterback attention of the country. Klein finished the year with 37 combined touchdowns on the ground and through the air, a season that will certainly get some Heisman attention, but will likely fall short in the end.

Braxton Miller

Braxton Miller had an unusual sophomore campaign at the helm of Ohio State. Leading a team ineligible for postseason play in a down year for the Big Ten conference, Miller was spectacular, passing for 2,039 yards and rushing for 1,271 more to go with 28 combined touchdowns. Most importantly, Miller led the Buckeyes, with little to play for but each other and their coaches, on an undefeated run through their regular season.

Sure, many discounted the Buckeyes’ 12-0 finish to the year because of their relatively weak schedule, but Miller’s dominance was undeniable at times. Though the sophomore will likely not get the trophy this year, he will certainly have a lot to say about the 2013 Heisman race.

Heisman Watch Week 13: Johnny Manziel, Manti Te’o Cap Off Strong Seasons

Collin Klein

Collin Klein and Kansas State were off this weekend, readying for a season-ending showdown that could decide whether the Wildcats can claim a BCS bowl berth or not. The Heisman, which seemed Klein’s to take if he could continue to lead the nation’s No. 1 team, slipped from the senior’s hands before Kansas State dropped its first game of the season last weekend, but truly was out of his control once Johnny Manziel appear on the scene. With one game left, Klein has still put up gaudy numbers — rushing for 20 touchdowns and throwing for 14 more while accounting for more than 3,000 yards of total offense.

Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel’s redshirt freshman season came to a close Saturday with a dominating performance against Missouri in Texas A&M’s impressive season-ending win over Missouri. In the Aggies’s 59-29 win, Manziel passed for three touchdowns and threw for two to go with 439 yards of combined offensive output. In the process, Manziel finished the 2012 season with the most total offense created by an SEC quarterback in conference history. Manziel’s redshirt freshman season bested the likes of Tim Tebow and Cam Newton, two Heisman winners in those years. Could Manziel be next on the list?

Marqise Lee

Catching passes from a quarterback other than Matt Barkley resulted in a somewhat down game from Lee in USC’s regular season-ending loss to Notre Dame. Lee went without a touchdown for the first time since a mid-October loss to Washington. His five catches netted him 75 yards, also his lowest production since the loss to the Huskies. Lee finishes the season with an impressive 14 touchdowns to go with more than 1,600 yards receiving.

Manti Te’o

Manti Te’o might not have had the best game of his season against USC on Saturday night, but his performance in perhaps the most important game the Fighting Irish have played in the BCS era will probably be enough to net him an invite to New York City for the trophy presentation. His interception on a pass from USC quarterback Max Wittek was his highlight of the night and gave him seven on the season, best among linebackers in the nation. With his season complete, Te’o can claim the title of the most visible player on the best team in the country, usually a big factor in Heisman voting.

Braxton Miller

Much like Manti Te’o, Braxton Miller helped his team cap an undefeated season with a victory over a traditional rival in a nationally televised game. Unlike Te’o, however, Miller will not get a shot at the national title game, or even a shot at a BCS bowl, given Ohio State’s ineligibility. But leading an ineligible team to an undefeated season should get Miller some real recognition. Whether that means an invite to NYC for the trophy presentation or not, it will certainly get Miller at or near the top of most watch lists for next season, along with Manziel and others. Against Michigan, Miller was an efficient 14 of 18 for 189 yards and 57 rushing yards.