Tuesday, October 23, 2012
SEC Heisman Watch: Week 9
By Edward Aschoff
We have a new No. 1, and he's getting more national Heisman buzz as well:
1. AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama: People wondered if he could throw when called upon and he did just that against Tennessee. McCarron passed for a career-high 306 yards and had four touchdowns in Alabama's blowout win. He is still one of the country's most efficient passers and is tied for first in the SEC with 16 passing touchdowns. He's one of only two quarterbacks nationally to start seven games without throwing an interception. McCarron has more than 1,400 passing yards and the more Alabama wins, the better for McCarron in this race.
2. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: For the second time this season, a stout defense found a way to shut down Johnny Football in the second half. First, it was Florida, and Saturday it was LSU. Both turned out to be losses for the Aggies. Manziel passed for 276 yards, but threw three interceptions and rushed for only 27 yards. He also was held out of the end zone for the first time this season. Still, Manziel has a chance to get back in this race nationally with strong showings down the home stretch. He's second in the SEC in passing (1,956), second in rushing (703) and has accounted for 24 touchdowns (14 passing, 10 rushing).
3. Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida: South Carolina kept Gillislee in check over the weekend. He carried the ball 19 times for 37 yards, averaging 1.9 yards per carry. The Gamecocks swarmed around him whenever he touched the ball and made his life miserable. There are still plenty more opportunities for Gillislee to make some real Heisman noise, and he'll get a great chance this weekend against Georgia. He's fourth in the SEC in rushing with 652 yards and has seven touchdowns.
4. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia: The bye week was great for Murray. He had a true record-breaking night against Kentucky on Saturday, completing a career-high 30 passes for a career-high 427 yards and had four touchdowns. His 427 yards were fourth best in school history and second best in the SEC this season. His 78.95 completion percentage was a school record by a quarterback with at least 30 completions. Murray is now tied for third in the SEC in passing (1,914) and is tied for first with 16 touchdowns. A win over Florida will definitely give him a boost in this race.
5. LaDarius Perkins, RB, Mississippi State: Another back with dynamic ability in the SEC. Real shocker there. Perkins has flown under the radar all season, but he leads the SEC in rushing (724) and all-purpose yards (1,002). He can hurt defenses so many different ways when he touches the ball. He isn't just a bruiser; he can outrun a few guys out there. He'll get a chance to really make a name for himself with a big day against No. 1 Alabama Saturday.