Heisman Watch Week Two: Mariota, Manziel and Wisconsin’s Backfield Do Damage
Much quieter and more composed this week after serving his half-game suspension last week, it was the Johnny Manziel show against Sam Houston State for the Texas A&M Aggies. The sophomore quarterback threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns against the Bearkats, and added another touchdown on the ground. Could Manziel actually repeat as the Heisman winner? These first few games have certainly put it in the realm of possibility.
Far be it from the coaches’ of Notre Dame and Michigan to place much significance on their last scheduled regular season meeting, but Devin Gardner certainly arrived with all the urgency the fan bases place on the game on Saturday night. Tossing four touchdown passes and rushing for 82 key yards, Gardner was absolutely invaluable to the Wolverines’ attack. Without his offensive prowess, who knows where Michigan would have been against the Fighting Irish.
Teddy Bridgewater was stylish in his second appearance and victory of the season, throwing for 397 yards and four touchdowns in Louisville’s romp over Eastern Kentucky, 44-7. It was Bridgewater’s final touchdown strike, a 42-yard pass to DaVante Parker that was a highlight. Next Bridgewater will get another chance for a big statistical performance against Kentucky next weekend.
Corey Clement/Melvin Gordon/James White
These three Wisconsin backs have done something so outrageous in the first two weeks that the three of them are vying for the Heisman as a triad. Three running backs, all from Wisconsin, all running for more than 100 yards in two consecutive games. Sure, it was Tennessee Tech and UMass, but seriously, what team can do that other than the Badgers? These three have helped the Badgers compile 780 yards rushing over two games. Unreal. It’s early, we can get away with naming three Heisman candidates in one.
Against Virginia, Marcus Mariota kept his strong start to the 2013 season going, passing for two touchdowns, but really proving a highlight maker on a long, 71-yard touchdown run when the Cavaliers were hanging around. With the help of Thomas, Mariota finished the game with 319 yards of total offense and continues to pace the Oregon offense under its new leadership.
Others To Watch
Clowney was again less of an impact-maker than you might expect in a big SEC conference game against Georgia, again failing to meet expectations.
Not even the biggest box score impact among Clemson quarterbacks for Tahj Boyd, although that was more than likely by design. Does he stay in the race?
Huge bounce back performance from the Georgia quarterback against South Carolina with four touchdowns and, more importantly, the win.
Is there anyone in college football as fast as the Ducks’ burner? Probably not. But he’s being slightly outshone by his quarterback compatriot. We’ll see what’s next for Thomas.
The FSU quarterback shone more brightly than any last week, but with an off-week this weekend, maybe he fades a little. But the upstart stays in the conversation, that’s for sure.
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