Zach Mettenberger's Updated 2013 Heisman Outlook After Loss vs. Georgia

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2013

Sep 28, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger (8) throws a pass in the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Mettenberger came up just three yards short of introducing himself as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in LSU's three-point, 44-41 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. 

The Tigers signal-caller did everything he could to set himself up for Heisman contention through 58 minutes of play on the road against Georgia. He finished the game completing 23-of-37 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. 

In order to get a true sense of just how good Mettenberger was, you have to look at what LSU's running game was able to do against the Bulldogs defensive front. Which was very little. The usually potent group of Kenny Hilliard, Jeremy Hill and Alfred Blue led the rushing attack to just 2.4 yards per carry as a team. 

Traditionally, that kind of dismal rushing attack would spell doom for Les Miles and the Tigers.

But not with Mettenberger. He teamed up with Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham to keep the Tigers in the game to the very end, but it was the end that may come back to haunt him. 

With an opportunity to either tie the game with a field goal or win it with a touchdown in the final minutes, Mettenberger went 1-of-5 and took a sack as the Tigers turned the ball over on downs. 

The loss is a devastating blow to both LSU's season and Mettenberger's Heisman hopes. The quarterback's individual stats were certainly impressive, but the award tends to come down to wins and losses as much as individual accolades.

Should the Tigers go on to run the table behind Mettenberger's strong arm, he could re-emerge, but for now he remains a fringe contender.