K-State’s bye week came and went without a Heisman watch update. Hey, if they get the week off, so do I.
But here, we are approaching Week Six of college football, and the Heisman Trophy is still very much up for grabs with a few new names in the mix. Here’s how they rank as things currently stand.
1. Tajh Boyd (QB, Clemson) – Boyd accounted for all three touchdowns — all through the air — in the Tigers’ 12-point win at North Carolina State two weeks back. All together, he accounted for 282 of the Tigers’ 415 yards. Last Saturday against Wake Forest, he topped that performance with 380 total yards and four touchdowns to push the No. 3 Tigers to 4-0. The Tigers rolled Wake Forest 56-7, during which Boyd eclipsed the 100-career touchdown barrier. Boyd’s next few opponents — at Syracuse then at home against Boston College — should be opportunities to fill up the stat book before a critical matchup with No. 8 Florida State on Oct. 19.
2. Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) – The only team scoring more points than No. 2 Oregon right now is Baylor – 69.7 per game compared to the Ducks’ 59.8. Most recently, however, Mariota struggled passing the ball against California. The sophomore completed 11-of-25 passes for 114 yards. He still ranks in the Top 20 in the NCAA in terms of total offense with an average just under 325 yards per game despite his 147-yard outing (33 yards rushing) against the Bears. Mariota should bounce back in the passing game, so his only real concern for getting an invite to New York for the Heisman selection are road games against No. 15 Washington and No. 5 Stanford, as well as a home game against No. 12 UCLA.
3. Aaron Murray (QB, Georgia) – Murray came up big in the Bulldogs comeback win over No. 10 LSU, a game where it seemed whatever team had the ball last would win. Murray hit 20-of-34 pass attempts for just less than 300 yards and four touchdowns, including a 25-yard touchdown pass with less than two minutes to play to give the Bulldogs the lead and eventual 44-41 win. Oh yeah, and he did it without the best running back in the SEC, sophomore Todd Gurley, who was injured early in the game. Murray ranks eighth in the NCAA for total yards per game with an average 339.5 yards per game. With the heart of the Bulldogs’ schedule behind them, Murray’s toughest test the rest of the regular season is a Nov. 2 game against No. 18 Florida, which could be for the SEC East title.
4. A.J. McCarron (QB, Alabama) – So long as the Tide keeps winning and McCarron stays healthy, the senior will remain a serious contender for the Heisman. McCarron is completing 68.2 percent of his passes with a quarterback rating of 148.1 with the Tide’s next tough test being at home against LSU. If McCarron outduels LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, he’ll be in position to win a third straight national championship, and possibly Alabama’s first Heisman since Mark Ingram in 2009.
5. Johnny Manziel (QB, Texas A&M;) – Manziel, who ranks fifth in the NCAA in total offense with more than 360 yards per game, fueled his team to a road win against Arkansas last week, despite the Aggies’ iffy defense. If the Aggies, praying for two Alabama losses, can sneak into the SEC championship game, Manziel will be right back on top of the list.
6. Derek Carr (QB, Fresno State) – The newest addition to the watch list is Carr, whose average total yards per game of just less than 375 yards ranks him third in the NCAA. The No. 23 Bulldogs’ marquee win over Boise State was fueled by Carr’s 460 passing yards and four touchdowns. Even with his quarterback rating of 144.3, Carr’s stats will have to improve considering the Bulldogs weak schedule — with no Top 25 teams currently on it — to stay in Heisman discussions.
7. Bryce Petty (QB, Baylor) – Petty ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in completion percentage, (74.6), No. 6 in total offense, (346 yards per game), No. 5 in passing yards per game, (333.7), along with many other categories he’s ranked highly in. Not to mention the Bears are leading the NCAA in scoring at just less than 70 points per game. The No. 17 Bears have yet to play a BCS school, so we’ll see how the Bears adjust to a jump in competition this week against a confident West Virginia team coming off a win over Oklahoma State.