Heisman Watch 2013: How Marcus Mariota's Injury Shakes Up Race

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2013

Nov 23, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) looks for an open receiver to pass to under pressure from Arizona Wildcats linebacker Marquis Flowers (2) during the first quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

With Oregon's shocking upset to Arizona, Marcus Mariota likely threw away any chance of winning the Heisman Trophy.

Despite outgaining the Wildcats, the Ducks were on the wrong end of a 42-16 beatdown. Even the most diehard of Arizona fans couldn't have predicted a result like that.

As ESPN's Dari Nowkhah pointed out, it's quite a change from where both Oregon and Mariota were just a few weeks ago:

To make matters even worse for Mariota, he looked to have suffered some sort of head injury during the play, via GoDucks.com's Rob Moseley:

When looking at the raw statistics, Mariota's numbers aren't bad. He had 308 yards passing and two touchdowns to go along with 52 yards on the ground. Two interceptions—his first two of the season—didn't help his case.

Heisman voters generally aren't kind to late-season losses, especially ones by 26 points to a team you were favored against. Perhaps if this happened at the beginning of the season, Mariota could remain in the discussion and make a late push.

However, he has little time left in order to sway the voters, if he can even get on the field. Head injuries can be tricky. Maybe Mariota's on the field next week against Oregon State. Maybe he has to sit back until Oregon's bowl game.

Either way, he can't be considered a genuine Heisman contender anymore. While that loss to Stanford stunted his campaign, the upset against Arizona was the death knell. No matter what Mariota does against the Beavers in the event he plays, that loss to the Wildcats will be the lasting image voters have of him as they send in their Heisman ballots.

ESPN's Heisman Watch had Mariota listed as No. 4 coming into the week. That will obviously change, and it will be interesting to see how far he falls. At this rate, he'll be lucky to get an invite to New York at the end of the season.

Mariota isn't the only star who had a bad Saturday. With Johnny Manziel's struggles against LSU, the reigning Heisman winner looks to be out as a contender as well.

Having Mariota and Manziel out of the way opens the door for Jameis Winston to be the odds-on favorite at this point in the season. The Florida State quarterback wasn't prolific on Saturday against the Idaho Vandals, but he did nothing on the field to warrant any sort of drop.

Considering where Mariota stood before Week 12, his fall opens the door for guys who were knocking like Bryce Petty, Tajh Boyd, AJ McCarron, Jordan Lynch and Ka'Deem Carey. Of that group, Petty and McCarron look likeliest to push Winston. The Baylor QB could garner serious consideration with a big game against Oklahoma State, while the Alabama star would if Alabama beats Auburn next week.

Although the Heisman Trophy race remains wide open, one name you can cross off the list is Marcus Mariota.