Tuesday, September 2, 2014

EARLY HEISMAN CONTENDERS

     College football is back and that means the chase for the coveted Heisman trophy, in addition to a spot in the new College Football Playoff, has begun. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston became just the second freshman ever to win the award and is a leading candidate to win it again this year. If Winston does win, he’ll be the first player since legendary Ohio State running back Archie Griffin to win two Heisman trophies. Let’s take a look at how each of the early Heisman frontrunners fared after the first week of games and some other players to watch out for as the season progresses.




courtesy of cbssports,com
*Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston

2013 Stats: 257/384. 4,057 yards. 40 Passing TDs, 10 INTs
77 carries, 193 yards, 4 rushing TDs. 66.9% Completion.

2014: Week 1 vs. Oklahoma State
25/40 370 yards 1TD, 2INT. 1Rushing TD

     Winston looked decent, but only showed flashes of his Heisman playmaking abilities in a 37-31 close victory over Oklahoma State. Two poor interceptions got the Seminoles into trouble early and kept the game close. But give him credit; Winston had a 28-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter, which would lead to a 50 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rashad Greene to close the deal late in the 4th quarter. 
     However, the only way he’ll win a second Heisman trophy is by leading Florida State to another championship and putting up better statistical numbers than he did in his season debut.


*Georgia Running Back Todd Gurley

courtesy of onlineathens.com
2013 Stats: 165 carries, 989 yards, 10 rushing TDs
37 receptions, 441 yards, 6 receiving TDs

2014: Week 1 vs. Clemson
15 carries, 198 yards, 3TDs
100 yard Kickoff Return TD



     Todd Gurley has put himself right into the forefront of the Heisman race after a dominating performance against a ranked Clemson team to start out the season. Gurley had a spectacular freshman season, but was injured last year and rushed for just under 900 yards. 
     With his ability to be a threat in the running game and in kickoff returns, we’re going to see a lot of Gurley in packaged highlights this season. College football needs a new star at the running back position and they found it in Todd Gurley during the opening weekend.



courtesy of usatoday
*Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota

2013 Stats: 245/386. 63.5% Completion. 3,665 yards. 31 Passing TDs, 4 INTS
96 carries, 715 yards, 9 rushing TDs

2014: Week 1 vs. South Dakota

14/20 267 yards. 3TDs. 
6 carries, 43 yards, 1 Rushing TD

     Marcus Mariota didn’t play the entire game of a blowout win against South Dakota, but he picked up right where he left off last season. What makes him so dangerous is not just his ability to run out of the pocket with the football, but also his improving accuracy from the pocket to his receiving targets. 
     Strong first performance by Mariota, but we will really see his development once he has to go up against the defenses of UCLA, Stanford and USC.



*Baylor Quarterback Bryce Petty


courtesy of bleacherreport
2013 Stats: 250/4
03. 62% Completion. 4,200 yards. 32 Passing TDs, 3 INTS

2014: Week 1 vs. SMU
13/23 161 yards 2TDs
2 carries, 21 yards, 1 Rushing TD

     Petty had an unbelievable statistical year in 2013 and now the spotlight is squarely on him for this 2014 campaign. His numbers WEREN’T mind-blowing against SMU, but he did score three total touchdowns while he played. 
     Petty did suffer a back injury during the game, but should be able to play Saturday against Northwestern State. Like Mariota, we’ll see how much Petty has developed as a quarterback once he plays conference games against Oklahoma, Texas and TCU. 



courtesy of zimbio.com
*UCLA Quarterback Brett Hundley

2013 Stats: 232/342. 67.8% Completion. 2,845 yards. 22 Passing TDs, 9 INTS.
150 carries, 587 yards, 9 Rushing TDs



2014: Week 1 at Virginia
20/33. 242 yards. 15 carries, 39 yards, 1 Rushing TD

     Hundley and UCLA held on to beat an unranked Virginia team on the road this past Saturday. However, Hundley was running for his life for most of the game as he failed to gain significant protection from his offensive line. 
     If it wasn’t for an outstanding performance by the Bruins’ defense, UCLA’s championship hopes and Hundley’s Heisman hopes could’ve been wiped away with an opening loss to an unranked team. Let’s see if Hundley and the offense can turn it around Saturday against Memphis.




                                            PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR


*Texas A&M Quarterback Kenny Hill


courtesy of athlonsports.com
2014: Week 1 at South Carolina
44/60. 511 yards. 3 Passing TDs

     Kenny Football! Head coach Kevin Sumlin’s offensive system might be the big reason for Texas A&M’s win against a Top 10 South Carolina team on the road, but Hill’s debut was extremely impressive. Hill broke Johnny Manziel’s single game record for most passing yards, in his first game as a starter! 
     Granted, he threw the ball 60 times, which makes it possible to throw for over 500 yards. But by throwing the ball that well against an elite team in South Carolina, Hill and Texas A&M should be the ones to watch for the rest of the season.




courtesy of the bleacherreport
*Notre Dame Quarterback Everett Golston

2014: Week 1 vs. Rice
14/22, 295 yards, 2 Passing TDs
12 carr
ies, 41 yards, 3 Rushing TDs

     Golston was the quarterback of the 2012 Notre Dame team that made it to the National Championship game, but left the team last season due to academic problems. He has returned and delivered his best individual performance since becoming Notre Dame’s starting quarterback. 
     In 2012, Golston was a game manager. Now he is a primary playmaker who used both his arm and his legs to tear apart Rice’s defense. With experience under his belt and redemption on his mind, Everett Golston is primed to be one of the dark horses for the Heisman Trophy.
                                                      





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