Heisman Watch: Winston alone in front after Manziel falters

Ben Fisher,

11/25/2013 3:16:38 PM

Thirteen weeks into the season and the Heisman Race is now Jameis Winston's to lose.

The redshirt freshman QB from Florida State has lead position in the battle for the most coveted individual trophy in college sports not so much because of what he did over the weekend – 225 yards passing and four touchdowns in just over a half of play against a hapless Idaho team – but more so what he didn't do, namely implode against LSU.

That was, rather, Johnny Manziel's Saturday. The defending Heisman Trophy winner – and former co-top contender – had his chances for a repeat take a serious blow in Texas A&M's loss to the Tigers.

Manziel had possibly the worst day of his college career, settling for 16/41 passing for 224 yards and one touchdown to two interceptions in the Aggies 34-10 loss in Baton Rouge. LSU's defence all but guaranteed a new Heisman Trophy winner at the end of the season.

Marcus Mariota did himself no favours either. The Ducks QB, barely hanging on to his spot among the top Heisman contenders after a title hopes-crushing loss to Stanford, followed that up two weeks later with a loss to unranked Arizona.

Mariota was 27/41 for 308 yards and two touchdowns to interceptions, while adding another 52 yards on the ground; a decent performance but with Oregon now uncertain to even play in a BCS Bowl, the redshirt sophomore's chances are slim.

The fringe candidate list is now long and wide open but two players I like are Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey and Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr.

Carey was the catalyst for the Wildcats big win over Oregon, carrying the rock 48 times for 206 yards and four touchdowns. The junior is now the fourth-leading rusher in the nation while his 16 touchdowns is tied for sixth.

Carr meanwhile, is a stats machine. The senior threw for more than 500 yards and seven touchdowns in the No. 16 Bulldogs' rout of lowly New Mexico. He's the nation's second-leading passer with 3,948 yards but his 39 touchdown passes are five more than any other QB.

Carr's Heisman chances are hurt by Fresno State's relatively weak competition throughout the year but any more faltering by the top contenders in this year's Heisman race could open the door to his gaudy stats.