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Heisman Watch 2013: Breaking Down Top Candidates by the Numbers

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 26:  Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks runs against the UCLA Bruins  on October 26, 2013 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 3, 2013

Four. While there are a slew of different players putting together spectacular campaigns in 2013, that's the number of players who can say they have a realistic chance of winning the Heisman.

Two. Entering the 2013 season, that's the number of total years of starting experience those four players had at the collegiate level.

Ten. That's the number of fingers that will hoist the illustrious trophy in New York this December.

Those are only a few of the numbers—the last one being my favorite—defining this year's thrilling Heisman race. Let's take a look at some others.

Note: All stats courtesy of ESPN.com and Sports-Reference.com

 

Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor

WACO, TX - OCTOBER 19: Bryce Petty #14 of the Baylor Bears celebrates after rushing for a touchdown against the Iowa State Cyclones on October 19, 2013 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Petty is currently fourth on most Heisman ballots but not for lack of statistical prowess.

The junior star, who entered this season with a whopping 14 career pass attempts, has completed 69.3 percent of his 176 throws this year for 2,453 yards, 18 touchdowns and one (!) interception. That's good enough for a silly 219.0 QB rating and 94.5 (that's out of 100, folks) Raw QBR, per ESPN.

Since the Bears have a nasty habit of blowing every other team out of the water, Petty doesn't tend to rack up many pass attempts ("just" 25.1 per game). That's why you'll only find him 12th in America in total passing yards.

His efficiency is off the charts, though: first in the nation in yards per attempt (by a gargantuan 2.0 yards), first in QB rating, first in the Big 12 in touchdowns and pass-completion percentage.

Oh yeah, and he has six rushing scores.

If Petty keeps up these kind of pinpoint performances against No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 15 Texas Tech and No. 18 Oklahoma State in the next three weeks, expect his Heisman stock to take off.

 

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 19: Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies rushes past Gabe Wright #90 of the Auburn Tigers on October 19, 2013 at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. Auburn Tigers won 45 to 41.(Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

The most significant number working against the defending Heisman champ? Two.

That's the number of losses Texas A&M currently sports.

It's just so...silly. As it turns out, football is a team game, and the Aggies are losing because of their putrid defense, not Manziel, who has a ridiculous 1,064 total yards in those two defeats. Nevertheless, people love to play the narrative game with Manziel more than anyone else, and those two losses could really hurt him.

In nine games (eight-and-a-half since he missed he first two quarters against Rice), Manziel has completed 72.5 percent of his throws for 2,867 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has also rushed for 564 and eight scores.

Johnny Football is averaging nearly 2.0 more yards per attempt than during his Heisman campaign and has already matched last year's mark in throwing touchdowns.

All of his other numbers, however, look like they will come up short of his freshman year.

He already has eight interceptions (compared to nine last year), and in the run game, he's going to come up well short of last year's numbers.

Don't get confused. Manziel is still putting up gaudy stats and he is still right in the thick of the Heisman race. His competition this year, though, is much stiffer than it was in 2012. 

 

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 26: Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles throws for a touchdown pass against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the first half at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 26, 2013 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Jef
Jeff Gammons/Getty Images

Speaking of magical freshman campaigns.

Most knew Winston was going to be good, but I don't think anyone was expecting this.

In addition to turning Florida State into a legitimate national-title contender, Winston is completing 70.3 percent of his throws for 2,502 yards, 24 touchdowns and four interceptions.

In addition to ranking in the top 10 in America in pass-completion percentage, and in the top five in yards per attempt and passing touchdowns, he has also rushed for another four scores. 

Winston's numbers, while quite world-beating in their own right, may not be the most overwhelming of all the players on this list. But his affect on this Seminoles squad, taking them from good to great, has been unquantifiable. 

 

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 12:  Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks rushes against the Washington Huskies on October 12, 2013 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Last year, Marcus Mariota tallied 3,429 yards, 37 touchdowns and six interceptions, and people, that was a good season. 

Well, the Honolulu native says poppycock to his 2012 season. 

This year, despite not playing in many fourth quarters, he already has 2,792 total yards (2,281 passing; 511 rushing), 29 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Yes, that's zero interceptions in 225 pass attempts. 

Quickly moving on so I don't overly freak out about that last interception number, Mariota (not counting a potential Pac-12 Championship Game) is on pace for 4,188 total yards, 43 touchdowns and still zero picks. 

If he can keep up that pace and keep the Ducks undefeated, it's going to take something miraculous from someone else to keep the stiff-arming trophy out of Eugene. 

 

Summary of the Numbers

Heisman Watch
PlayerCompletion PercentagePassing YardsPassing TDsRushing YardsRushing TDsTotal TDsInt
Bryce Petty69.32,45318736241
Johnny Manziel72.52,867265648348
Jameis Winston70.32,502241534286
Marcus Mariota64.02,281205119290
ESPN.com

 

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