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Heisman race beginning to take shape

Oregon v Virginia Getty Images

Maybe the Heisman can’t be won in September, but it can certainly be lost. Two weeks into the season, we’re beginning to see the first signs that the race is taking shape.

Braxton Miller’s candidacy hangs by a thread. Marcus Mariota is surging. Aaron Murray survived an elimination game. Todd Gurley impressed against a tough defense. Tajh Boyd underwhelmed. Teddy Bridgewater continued to dominate lesser foes. The Baylor duo of Bryce Petty and Lache Seastrunk are now hanging around the periphery of the race.

All the signs point to what should be a particularly intriguing campaign.

Here’s quick rundown of what happened this weekend with some of the main contenders:

Braxton Miller –– Miller, the front runner headed into the season, missed most of Ohio State’s game with San Diego State, which puts his Heisman hopes in serious jeopardy. Missing one game — and maybe more — will affect his overall numbers and make it difficult to have Heisman-worthy production at season’s end. If he doesn’t have a big game next week against Cal, he’s done.

Marcus Mariota — The Oregon quarterback shined in a rout of Virginia, passing for 199 yards and rushing for 122 while totaling three touchdowns. It seems likely that Mariota is headed for a huge season and as the quarterback for a team contending for the national title, he might soon replace Miller as the front runner in this race.

Aaron Murray — Murray had his back against the wall and he came through with a great game in a win over South Carolina. He was 17 of 23 for 309 yards and four touchdowns while making some really clutch throws. If he can have this kind of game against LSU and lead UGA to the SEC East title, he’s probably a lock to get to New York.

Todd Gurley — The sophomore running back also had a good game against South Carolina, rushing for 134 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries. He’s on the verge of firmly establishing himself as the top running back candidate in the race.

Tajh Boyd — The Clemson quarterback threw for 169 yards on 14 of 23 passing against South Carolina State. No touchdown passes and just a touchdown run was a disappointing result considering he needs to have huge numbers at season’s end to win the trophy. There is plenty of time for him to make up for this lackluster production, but this game makes it a bit harder.

Teddy Bridgewater — The junior ripped Eastern Kentucky for 397 yards and four touchdowns on 23 of 32 passing. His numbers after two week are stellar, though it came against weak competition. Still, he’s doing exactly what he needs to do to stay in Heisman consideration.

Bryce Petty — He may not be a real candidate just yet, but he’s playing like one. He went 13 of 16 for 338 yards and two touchdowns against Buffalo and also scored once on the ground. His production should be fantastic this season and if Baylor contends for the Big 12 title, then he should emerge as a contender.

Lache Seastrunk — If Gurley gets a running back challenger, it should be Seastrunk, who had 150 yards and three touchdowns in one half’s work against Buffalo. He’ll need to catch fire and approach the 2,000-yard mark to have a real shot at Heisman glory, but it seems possible in that Baylor offense.

I think there’s a good chance the Heisman winner and most of the finalists comes from this group, though I’m not discounting the possibility that other candidates may emerge. There’s still a long way to go and a lot can happen in this crazy sport.

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23 Responses to “Heisman race beginning to take shape”
  1. 1historian says: Sep 8, 2013 6:57 AM

    Let’s keep in mind the fact that this award is named after the man who coached Georgia Tech to the most lopsided final score in history – 222-0 over Cumberland College in 1915.

    The score by quarters – 63-0, 126-0 at the half, 180-0 after 3 quarters and 222-0 at the end.

  2. lsandlin90 says: Sep 8, 2013 7:09 AM

    I believe you are missing a name from the list. In less than three quarters, Johnny Manziel threw for 426 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another in No. 7 Texas A&M’s 65-28 win over Sam Houston State. Seriously, how can he not be considered on of the front runners?

  3. eaglesbest says: Sep 8, 2013 7:34 AM

    Ummmmmm did no one see Devon Gardner last night put on a show….well except one horrible play.

  4. vstar1us says: Sep 8, 2013 7:54 AM

    Jonny Football threw for a lot if yards against Sam Houston WOW

  5. 10kmp says: Sep 8, 2013 8:37 AM

    …Missing one game — and maybe more — will affect his overall numbers and make it difficult to have Heisman-worthy production at season’s end. If he doesn’t have a big game next week against Cal, he’s done…
    Are you serious? (that’s rhetorical in case you were wondering). It’s game TWO. Even if Miller doesn’t play next week he COULD still win the trophy at years end. If the Buckeyes go undefeated, win the B1G, and play for a national title it’ll be, in large part, because Braxton Miller played well. If he balls out against Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa and PSU in a four week run and then kills in against TTUN, well, he’ll be right there IMO. The media is funny. I can see why Bill Belichick and Gregg Popovich answer questions the way they do.

  6. cea7 says: Sep 8, 2013 8:50 AM

    Yes, Manziel took care of business against Sam Houston, a team that I would argue could beat any of the competition that the “contenders” mentioned above faced, except the Georgia or South Carolina. Johnny had issues off the field, but nothing that has kept him from being College Football’s best player, and isn’t that the point of this award? The fact that he’s not even mentioned causes me to question this article’s and writer’s credibility.

  7. hockeyfan28 says: Sep 8, 2013 8:57 AM

    How can you not have Devon Gardner at least listed as a Darkhorse candidate he’s going to have video game numbers against what looks like an average Big Ten at best this year

  8. fahmundamahbalsaq says: Sep 8, 2013 9:31 AM

    God damn-it! I wanted one freaking article without mentioning Johnny Autograph.

  9. tbmoe1 says: Sep 8, 2013 9:45 AM

    Lets not forget about Zack Mettenberger

  10. 69jaredallen69 says: Sep 8, 2013 9:45 AM

    Oh those Aggie Fans…and they wonder why they are the butt of all jokes in Texas

  11. classyjacklambert says: Sep 8, 2013 9:48 AM

    Tajh Boyd was pulled in the 2nd quarter and in the first he had 169 yards and a rushing touchdown… That’s hardly underwhelming.

  12. rasta028 says: Sep 8, 2013 9:48 AM

    I can’t wait to see Texas A&M vs Obama next week…
    Saban is gonna have a stroke if Johnny Football does it to the Tide again…lol.
    Manziel will be running for his life next week. :)

  13. longtallsam says: Sep 8, 2013 9:50 AM

    Tahj Boyd had 179 yards passing and one TD in LESS than 20 minutes playing time. How could he be penalized for that. I was proud to see that Dabo Swinney used this opportunity to get the backup QB some playing time, instead of padding Boyd’s stats. By the way, backup Cole Stout went 19 of 20 passing.

  14. 700levelvet says: Sep 8, 2013 10:17 AM

    Beginning to take shape? After 2 games? LOL.. Give it a rest… ESPN sucks, stop trying to emulate the asswipes from Bristol. Nothing is taking shape….

  15. themagicfanguy says: Sep 8, 2013 11:13 AM

    How is Jameis Winston or Manziel not on this list?

  16. 10of14 says: Sep 8, 2013 11:19 AM

    I am a huge College football fan and follow games closely; not mentioning the QB from Michigan is insane. He currently is the best QB in the B10.

  17. peopletrains says: Sep 8, 2013 11:40 AM

    Melvin Gordon.

  18. ddmcd1974 says: Sep 8, 2013 11:44 AM

    This article is a joke. Boyd played 20 minutes. No Manziel no Winston. Who writes this garbage and who pays for it?

  19. abninf says: Sep 8, 2013 1:16 PM

    I’m not really on the Manziel train, but I have to question Chris Huston’s knowledge of the game of football by leaving the guy’s name off.

  20. artisan3m says: Sep 8, 2013 1:36 PM

    Ignoring Manziel is ridiculous. I am no fan of TAMU or Johnny Autograph, but his talent on the field has to make him a contender. Bryce Petty has had to good showings against Tier II teams. How he makes this guy’s list is the question of the day. Seastrunk is the real deal, probably the best back in the Big 12. By the time votes are taken, he will be in the top three contenders.

  21. JohnK Wright, V says: Sep 8, 2013 3:42 PM

    Here is a Longshot, Southeastern Louisiana University Lions QB Bryan Bennet (former Oregon QB). SLU lost to TCU 38-17 but Bennett was 12 out of 23 for 132 yards, 1TD, rushed for 132 yards on 18 carries (7.3 average, 1TD) and also had two punts for 64 yards (32 average). He was game leader in rushing and if he had 2 more passing yards would have game leader in passing yards. How many other QBs would have been passing leader, rushing leader and also punted twice?

  22. sillec28 says: Sep 8, 2013 5:35 PM

    It will be a farce if Bridgewater wins the Heisman playing that pathetic schedule. He’s an outstanding QB but if you’re going to be voted the best player in college football you should show what you can do against at least a couple good teams. Louisville’s schedule is a joke, they don’t face a single pre-season top 25 team (that’s top 25, not top 10) all year.

  23. harbourimages says: Sep 9, 2013 7:29 AM

    While other QB’s were playing cupcake opponents (and getting knocked out by one of them), Devin Gardner played another overrated Notre Lame team (again rated higher than Michigan) and shredded them in the air AND on the ground. Even gave them a freebie TD and STILL won the game 41 – 30. He is on MY (meaningless week 2) Heisman list. But let’s all reality check back later in the season when this “…race (really) is taking shape.” What a joke…. By the way, does Braxton Miller EVER play a game where he DOESN’T go down, wincing in pain, having to be helped off the field in agony? Either this guy is the most fragile QB in football and truly does get hurt easily, or he is just a big whiner. “Oww…they tackled me! Owww… Help!” Geesh.

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