Alabama Crimson Tide QB A.J. McCarron threw his biggest TD pass of the season against the LSU Tigers to capture a 21-17 victory, and possibly the Heisman Trophy.
In the week leading up to No. 1 Alabama's marquee matchup with No. 5 LSU, McCarron was beginning to have his name mentioned in the Heisman discussion. After a hard-fought victory over the Tigers, in which McCarron threw the game-winning TD pass, I think it's safe to say he'll be seeing his name being mentioned for the Heisman a lot more this week.
Prior to the game with LSU, McCarron had been riding a streak of zero interceptions thrown over the course of this season with 18 TDs. In the biggest game of the year, McCarron continued that streak by completing 14 of 27 passes for 165 yards and a TD, while also collecting a TD on the ground.
In the second half, McCarron had completed just one of seven passes for zero yards, but he managed to put it all together on the final drive when the game was on the line, completing four of five passes to lead the Tide to the win.
The screen pass to T.J. Yeldon in the final seconds of the game was a perfectly thrown ball by McCarron despite a heavy rush, which just goes to highlight an ability that the Alabama QB has exhibited all season—the ability to handle pressure.
Week after week, McCarron has handled the pressures of leading the nation's top team to victory in impressive fashion. His poise under center has been truly remarkable as he leads the FBS with a passer rating of 182.4
What really draws Heisman attention to McCarron is the fact that he's improved immensely from last season.
Does A.J. McCarron deserve the Heisman after his performance against LSU?
In last year's regular-season meeting with LSU, McCarron struggled to get in a groove against the Tigers, completing just 57.1 percent of his passes for 199 yards and an interception. The Tide lost that game, 9-6, but McCarron learned from that experience and made good on his next outing against the Tigers in the BCS Championship, completing 67.7 percent of his passes for 234 yards.
McCarron finished 2011 with 16 TD passes and five interceptions. He was considered more of a game manager for Alabama rather than an impact player.
Fast forward to this season, and you could argue that McCarron has been Alabama's best player this year.
Obviously, he's not the type of QB that's going to rack up massive stats like a Geno Smith from West Virginia or a Braxton Miller from Ohio State, but he makes the plays necessary to get his team the win.
Assuming that Alabama continues their winning streak, I don't see a reason why McCarron wouldn't be a top consideration for the Heisman. Not only did he show up for his team when they needed him in a huge victory over an SEC rival, but he's maintained a calm demeanor in high-pressure situations.
The last test for McCarron and Alabama is yet another SEC matchup with No. 16 Texas A&M on Nov. 10. The Aggies have the fourth-ranked scoring offense in the nation, averaging a little more than 44 points a game on the arm and legs of QB Johnny Manziel.
If McCarron can get past the last bump in the road in next week's game with Texas A&M, I would find it hard to believe he doesn't win the Heisman. Granted that he plays well again, taking care of the ball and making the throws he needs to win the game.