Heisman Watch 2013: Breaking Down Top Contenders from Saturday's Earlier Games
Before the prime-time games were played on Saturday night, there were a number of impressive performances from some key players in college football on Saturday.
These players were either able to enter themselves into the Heisman talk or further solidify their cases.
One of the big debates that will be discussed over the next few weeks is how important team wins are. We saw some players have fantastic outings on Saturday, but does it hurt their case for the Heisman trophy if their team lost?
We will figure out how the judges feel about that topic at the end of the season, but in the meantime let's break down some of the top Heisman candidates and how well they played on Saturday.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
A couple of weeks ago it looked like Aaron Murray had a shot at winning the Heisman, but after another rough performance, we can safely take him out of the running.
Murray went just 16-for-28 with 114 yards and an interception in the loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday. He did have two rushing touchdowns, but now that Georgia is 4-3, it really doesn't matter what Murray does.
With 22 total touchdowns and nearly 2,000 yards passing, Murray may have had a shot had Georgia won their last two games. Unfortunately, players keep dropping like flies on the Bulldog offense, including their star running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.
That lack of balance on offense has led to opposing defenses locking in on Murray, and he's struggled. Over the past two games, he's completed under 60 percent of his passes for just 404 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
This was supposed to be Georgia's year to try and take over the SEC, but with all of the injuries, that's not going to happen. Murray looked to be in the running after the Bulldogs' overtime win against Tennessee, but now you can officially drop him from the Heisman watch list.
Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
The UCLA Bruins suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday, falling 24-10 to the Stanford Cardinal. After a very strong start to the season, Bruin quarterback Brett Hundley struggled in this one, getting rattled by Stanford's secondary.
Daniel Jeremiah from NFL.com tweeted out his concerns with Hundley early in the game.
Hundley doesn't look comfortable right now. Same thing happened early in the Nebraska game before he settled down and played great.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) October 19, 2013
Unfortunately, Hundley didn't turn it around this time.
The redshirt sophomore QB threw for just 192 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the loss. It was just the second game this year where he had more than one interception.
On the year, Hundley has thrown for over 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns and six interceptions, completing around 67 percent of his passes.
Before the loss, Hundley could have gotten by with those numbers. UCLA was undefeated, and the young QB kept making plays when it mattered most. Unfortunately, the loss to Stanford definitely hurts his chances, and now he's going to need to put up huge numbers the rest of the season to stay in the race.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
With yet another big performance, Manziel has stayed in the Heisman race, but another loss means that his chances just got a whole lot smaller.
A 45-41 loss to Auburn was a tough one for the Aggies, but Manziel still played his heart out. He finished with over 500 total yards and five total touchdowns, but he also had two ugly interceptions.
This season, Manziel has put up almost 2,800 total yards along with 24 total touchdowns. While these numbers are great, he also now has seven interceptions in seven games, and those turnovers are really going to cost him.
While Manziel is still in the hunt for the Heisman, his turnovers and two losses keep him separated from the competition. The two front-runners are clearly Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, with the two combining for only three interceptions while their respective teams remain unbeaten.
With all of the offseason controversy and one-half suspension he was subjected to at the beginning of the season, Manziel had to play nearly perfect all year in order to win his second straight Heisman. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to do that, and there are other players who, along with their teams, have played more efficiently and will be in contention for the Heisman trophy at the end of the year.
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