Johnny Manziel's Heisman chances sustained a minor blow on Saturday, as Manziel committed two turnovers in Texas A&M's narrow 41-38 win over unranked Ole Miss.
Manziel was solid for most of the game, displaying the accuracy and big-play ability that has made him a superstar. He completed 31 of 39 passes for 346 yards and rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
He also showed incredible poise when leading A&M on its late fourth-quarter rally.
However, Manziel failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time since Nov. 3, 2012, and his second-half turnovers nearly crippled the No. 9 Aggies. Of course, Manziel can redeem himself in late-season games against LSU and Missouri, but it seems unlikely that he'll win his second consecutive Heisman.
While Manziel slightly hurt his Heisman chances over the weekend, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota seized the top spot in the race for college football's premier individual award.
Mariota was brilliant in Oregon's 45-24 victory over No. 16 Washington, completing 24 of 31 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball 13 times for 88 yards.
He punctuated the win with a five-yard touchdown run and a three-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
For the season, Mariota has 1,724 passing yards, 426 rushing yards and 25 total touchdowns. His numbers are even more impressive when you consider that he rarely plays in the fourth quarter because of Oregon's dominance.
Now that he has this win, which came on the road against a Top 20 opponent, he is in prime position to take home the Heisman.
Mariota has several other advantages over Manziel.
First of all, his team is undefeated, which obviously gives him a boost. He also stands to benefit from Manziel voter fatigue, which is the idea that Heisman voters will be hesitant to vote for Manziel again this season, even if he produces similar numbers as last year.
Mariota's road will get tougher from here, as Oregon faces UCLA and Stanford within the next three weeks.
But if he and the Ducks continue to perform at their current level, Mariota will be holding the stiff-arm statue in December.
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