Heisman Watch: Week Five

Story posted September 30, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Tyler Zulli

Front Runners

Tajh Boyd, Senior QB, Clemson

Stock: Even

Week 5 Stats: 17-24, 311 yards, 3 TD’s, 69 rush yards, 1 TD

Boyd led his Tigers to a second consecutive SEC victory, manhandling the lower-level Demon Deacons of Wake Forest, 56-7 at home this Saturday, while completing nearly 71% of his passes on the day.  He was accurate with his arm and deadly with his legs, keeping the Wake Forest defense guessing all day long.

The senior attained his highest QBR to this date, posting a 91.0 out of a possible 100. Clemson is currently sitting at 4-0 and on top of the ACC Atlantic Division. Keep an eye on how well Boyd produces in the coming weeks, as his team will face some stout defenses, including Syracuse, Maryland and Florida State.

Johnny Manziel, Sophomore QB, Texas A&M

Stock: UP

Week 5 Stats: 23-30, 261 yards, 2 TD’s, 59 rush yards

“Johnny Football,” has officially picked up where he left off last season. The man has completed nearly 72% of his passes in the 2013 season to go along with his stellar 14 TD passes. Since A&M’s loss to Alabama, Manziel has thrown for three TD’s, as well as rushed for two more. Just like the other top candidates, the sophomore has been dominant in his play, with just a few blemishes to his credit.

His stock rises due to his play in week five, along with the “struggles” of Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. Ole Miss could make or break Manziel’s Heisman candidacy, as the only other opponent that Texas A&M will face for the rest of the year after next week is LSU in late November. By then, the votes may be locked. For now, I like the direction that the kid is headed.

Right Behind, But Still Very Much Alive

Marcus Mariota, Sophomore QB, Oregon

Stock: DOWN

Week 5 Stats: 11-25, 114 yards, 2 TD’s, 33 rush yards, 1 TD

Yes, I know his team absolutely dominated California. Yes, I also know that the Ducks ran the ball 48 times throughout the game. I ALSO understand that Oregon is a big believer in benching their starters when the game gets out of hand. None of these reasons have effected why I dropped Mariota below Manziel this week. Mariota, against an average California defense, attained just over 100 yards passing and a 44 % completion rate. The sophomore’s stock took a major hit with these numbers. Had it have been a stronger defense, the numbers would be able to slide a bit.

The fact that Oregon put up 55 points, proves to me that Mariota’s game was simply not that good. A somewhat “easy” matchup against Colorado next week will serve as his last opportunity to “pad the stats,” before a steady stream of top-notch talents faces Oregon. The team will face # 15 Washington, upstart Washington State, #12 UCLA, and #5 Stanford. The Ducks, and their quarterback, will need to prove themselves’ worthy to contend for a National Championship and a Heisman Trophy, respectfully.

Teddy Bridgewater, Junior QB, Louisville

Stock: Even

Week 5 Stats: DNP, Louisville Bye

There is truly no reason as to why Teddy Bridgewater didn’t move on this list other than the fact that Louisville didn’t play this weekend, allowing the other guys to get a leg up on the Cardinals’ quarterback. Bridgewater is electric, and everybody knows it. With a completion percentage of nearly 72 percent this season, along with just one interception to his 14 touchdowns, Bridgewater may be the most complete quarterback in all of college football.

Next week’s matchup against the lowly Temple Owls defense should simply add to the junior’s stats, and swiftly move him up this list. Just like I mentioned last week, the battle with the UCF Knights should prove Bridgewater’s worth as an elite quarterback.

Needs Improvement

Braxton Miller, Junior QB, Ohio State

Stock: UP

Week 5 Stats: 17-25, 198 yards, 4 TD’s,

Braxton Miller has been banged up, shaken up and beat down. He’s sat out nearly two full games. He’s still an athletic freak. Miller has thrown for six touchdowns in just over two games worth of play and over 400 yards. He came back in less than ideal situations, going into the team’s first conference game, against ranked Wisconsin, and still came out way on top.

Miller handled a solid defense all day, knocking off a very powerful defense in Wisconsin.  Another big game awaits the Buckeyes next week, as they travel into Northwestern to take on the Wildcats. Miller’s stock could rise IF he is able to stay healthy for the rest of the year. If not, Kenny Guiton will have to remain a factor in this Buckeye offense.

Honorable Mention

Todd Gurley, Sophomore RB, Georgia

Jameis Winston, Freshman QB, Florida State

A.J. McCarron, Senior QB, Alabama

Tyler Zulli is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email tcz5008@psu.edu.