Marcus Mariota definitely had a Heisman-worthy performance against No. 12 UCLA. It was because of his performance that the Ducks went on to win their eighth straight game by 21-plus points. Because of that, Oregon is still the only team in the country to win every game this year by 21 or more.
And Mariota didn't have to score multiple touchdowns for his team to be able to win 42-14 this week. He put them in position to score the four touchdowns they did in the second half to run away with another one. And because of that, he had a Heisman performance this week.
|Marcus Mariota vs. Jamies Winston & Johnny Manziel - Oct. 26, 2013|
Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston Looked Equal to Marcus Mariota
Mariota didn't have a great game against UCLA, while Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston decimated their competition. Mariota definitely looked good and had an amazing second half, but he didn't score the touchdowns that Manziel and Winston did this week.
However, that isn't as big of a deal because he led four drives for touchdowns in the second half, and the offense he ran looked unstoppable. Manziel and Winston both did what he did for the first half of the game. Only when they did it, it was against worse competition.
Sure, having a great game is always helpful. But beating up on NC State and Vanderbilt isn't the same as leading a team to a four-score victory over the No. 12 team in the nation. Mariota may not have scored the most touchdowns, but the result for his team was the same.
Oregon beating No. 12 UCLA 42-14 is much more impressive than Florida State beating N.C. State 49-17 or Texas A&M beating Vanderbilt 56-24. The yardage wasn't there. The scores weren't there. But the efficiency and leadership was there. And that's what matters most.
|Heisman Leaders - Passing|
In terms of passing stats, Mariota has the worst completion percentage of the four leaders, but he has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio by far. Manziel, on the other hand, has the worst, and Winston, surprisingly, is in third there when you throw in Baylor's Bryce Petty—more on him later.
|Heisman Leaders - Rushing|
|Name||Carries||Yards||Yards Per Carry||TD||Fumbles|
In terms of raw rushing stats, Mariota is the definitive leader. He has the most touchdowns, the most yards, the best per-carry average and just two fumbles from sacks. Winston and Petty are both pocket passers with very little running ability, but Petty still has six touchdowns. The fumbles from Petty and Manziel are what hold them back.
|Heisman Leaders - Totals|
|Name||Touches||Yards||Yards Per Play||Touchdowns||Turnovers|
When looking at the three quarterbacks in terms of their total production, the picture gets much clearer. Mariota contributes the second-most yards, but Petty has the most yards per play. Mariota's lack of turnovers and lead in total touchdowns should have him in the perfect spot to take the Heisman.
Bryce Petty Is a Dark Horse for the Heisman
As good as Mariota has looked, Petty could end up winning it. Throwing for 430 yards and three touchdowns on just 32 attempts against Kansas is insanely good production. On top of that, his production on the year should definitely have him in Heisman consideration.
He's putting up great numbers in a scheme that has produced great quarterbacks before him. However, his 69.3 percent completion rate to go along with his 2,453 yards and 18 passing touchdowns shows that he's legit.
Add in six rushing touchdowns and just four turnovers on the season, and Petty could be on a fast track to New York for the December ceremony. Especially if the 7-0 Baylor Bears win their final five games of the season and Petty can maintain pace.
When comparing him to Mariota, he is slightly worse in terms of yards and touchdowns, but a pair of undefeated quarterbacks will be tough to compare. If they both continue to get pulled after the third quarter of their games, it could create a unique situation where their stats are almost equal.
In comparing all of Petty's statistics to his competition, he's the one who could end up winning it despite not having any of the buzz. But right now, Mariota would and should be in the lead for the Heisman. All of the stats and film points in his direction.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.