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Heisman Trophy 2013: Candidates Who Will Make One Last Statement in Final Week

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks to pass in the second quarter against the Michigan Wolverines during a game at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2013

After a long season of twist and turns in the 2013 Heisman race, Saturday night's action represents the final opportunity for Heisman candidates to put one last accolade on the resume. 

Many of the trophy's strongest contenders, like AJ McCarron, Jordan Lynch and Andre Williams have already had their last opportunity to put their mark on the season. However, front-runner Jameis Winston and two other high-profile quarterbacks will have the opportunity to pump up their resumes and at the very least earn a nice trip to New York. 

With conference titles on the line and precious tickets to BCS bowls waiting to be stamped, here are the three signal-callers looking to make headway in the Heisman race. 

 

Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 30:  Nick Marshall #14 of the Auburn Tigers looks to pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the first half at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

At the beginning of the season it was unclear if junior college transfer Nick Marshall would even beat out incumbent Kiehl Frazier for the starting quarterback job at Auburn. Now he sits at No. 11 in ESPN's latest expert Heisman poll. 

Of course, earning a trip to the Heisman ceremony may seem a bit far-fetched. He only has 11 passing touchdowns on the season and has completed 59 percent of his passes. However, when you consider the fact that he led the Tigers to a the SEC title game one year after his team went 3-9, his case becomes a little bit more compelling. 

If Marshall rushes for 78 yards against a tough Missouri front seven he'll eclipse the 1,000 yard mark on the season. Considering his improvement as a passer over the home stretch of the season, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that a huge showing would earn him an invite.

 

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball against the Michigan Wolverines during a game at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Moving a little closer to the realm of possibility, Ohio State quarterback could play himself into a New York invite with a great showing against the vaunted Michigan State defense. 

Miller has not only led his team to a perfect 10-0 record in games he has started this year, he's put up impressive numbers doing so. He has 1,759 passing yards and 21 touchdowns with only five interceptions and an additional 891 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. 

And all of those numbers came with Miller missing games against Florida A&M and California. Considering backup Kenny Guiton earned demigod status in Columbus for throwing 10 touchdowns to one interception in those two games, it's easy to believe that Miller could have even better numbers this season. 

If Miller leads his team to a perfect 13-0 with a win against a top-10 team against Michigan State, he'll have to be a part of the Heisman festivities in New York. 

 

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 30:  Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles attempts a pass during the game against the Florida Gators on November 30, 2013 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Truth be told, the other candidates are most likely fighting for a memorable trip to New York. The Heisman is Jameis Winston's to lose. 

And at this point it would take a colossal meltdown for him to not win the award. Not only has the redshirt freshman led his team to an undefeated record, but he's been putting up video game numbers doing it. He has 3,490 passing yards with 35 touchdowns and eight interceptions on the season with another three touchdowns on the ground. 

But perhaps even more impressive than those gaudy numbers is the way he's played with the pressure on. As Joe Schad points out, his numbers are incredible in third-and-long situations:

All Winston needs to do is make sure that the Seminoles beat the Blue Devils and avoid throwing something like 10 interceptions to make sure he remains your 2013 Heisman Trophy winner. 

 

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