It's almost getting a bit stale seeing the freshman quarterback torch an opposing secondary so badly that he's taken out of the game in the third quarter. That was again the case today after Florida State got a 49-7 lead on Idaho early into the second half, via Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde.
At 12:21 mark of the third quarter, with the score 49-7, Jameis Winston's day is done. Sean Maguire in at QB for what could be vital reps.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) November 23, 2013
The Seminoles ended up winning the game 80-14.
Some might look at Winston's final numbers and not be impressed: 14-of-25, 225 yards passing, four touchdowns, zero interceptions.
But you have to consider everything in context. Winston could've played the entire game and had 400-plus yards passing and five or more touchdowns.
Looking at his first-half numbers, that was a very real possibility, via Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat.
Winston 13 of 23 for 204 yards and 3 TDs in the first half. Now has 31 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions on season.— Corey Clark/TDO.com (@Corey_Clark) November 23, 2013
Instead, Jimbo Fisher took Winston out, because there's no reason for him to risk injury in a blowout, and there's equally no reason to continue rubbing the Vandals' noses in a huge loss by keeping your starting quarterback out there.
The Heisman Trophy can't be all about numbers. Although having gaudy stats helps, you have to look at the performance first. There's almost no way you can look at Saturday's game and think the star signal-caller hurt his Heisman campaign.
After Saturday, Winston ran his season totals to 3,163 yards and 32 touchdowns. One more passing TD and he ties Chris Weinke's school record, via Fox Sports Florida's Bob Ferrante.
As if his strong work on Saturday wasn't enough, Winston's stiffest competition did him plenty of favors.
Marcus Mariota finished with 308 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions. While he added 52 yards on the ground, it won't make up for the fact that Oregon was shellacked by Arizona. The Ducks were on their way to the Pac-12 championship and a possible Rose Bowl bid, but they lost to the Wildcats 42-16.
Is Jameis Winston the Heisman Trophy front-runner after Week 12?
It's the kind of loss that almost certainly eliminates Mariota from Heisman contention.
Johnny Manziel also failed to have a banner day against LSU. At the time of writing, Texas A&M was headed for defeat against LSU. In addition, Manziel only had 278 yards of combined offense and had thrown two interceptions. He missed 25 of his 41 passes.
More importantly, there could be voter fatigue for the reigning Heisman winner, and plenty of voters loathe to vote for a player whom they felt besmirched the name of the Heisman Trophy with his actions in the offseason.
Former FSU star Danny Kanell is of the opinion that Winston presents the strongest case.
The Heisman becoming more clear today. Winston clear leader in the clubhouse. Manziel might have lost it today. Petty with an opp tonight— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) November 23, 2013
If you take away Mariota and Manziel, you're looking at the likes of Bryce Petty, AJ McCarron, Tajh Boyd, Ka'Deem Carey and Jordan Lynch. While a case could be made for each of those players, they would need a Herculean leap to overtake Winston this late into the season.
Of course, the Heisman voters have occasionally sprung a late surprise, so let's not hand Winston the Heisman just yet. But there isn't anybody making a stronger case for the award right now than the Seminoles star.