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Dr. Saturday

Heisman Watch Week 12: Johnny Football is close to becoming Johnny Heisman

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

One game separates Johnny Manziel from yet another first.

If Manziel has another stellar game against Missouri in Texas A&M's regular-season finale, he likely will become the first freshman to win the Heisman in the award's illustrious 77-year history.

And that will go along with the other firsts Manziel, or Johnny Football, has already achieved this season. He was the first freshman to lead his team to a win over a No. 1 team since 1972. Last week, he became the first freshman FBS quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. With 167 yards against Missouri, Manziel will pass the SEC's last Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton, for the SEC record for total offense in a season.

And all of this in his first season with a new coach, a new system and a new league.

Manziel's surge up the Heisman ladder has mostly been about his strong play, but it's also been about poor play from some of his competitors. Frontrunner Collin Klein has been shaky the past couple weeks and his poor performance in a critical loss at Baylor all but dropped him out of the conversation. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o hasn't put up the same stunning stats he did in the beginning of the season, but if he leads his team to its first national championship game since 1988, many will be inclined to have him hoist the bronze statue.

This week should give us our Heisman winner.

Here's a look at Dr. Saturday's Heisman Watch for this week:

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Thanks to his strong play during the last third of the season and some poor play by some frontrunners, Manziel finds himself at the forefront of the Heisman Trophy race. And he's deserving of the praise. During last week's game against Sam Houston State, Manziel became the first freshman FBS player to eclipse 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a single season.

Stats:

Comp %:
67.7
Yards:
3,047
TD:
21
INT:
7
Rush Yds.:
1,114
TD:
17

Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame

Te'o's numbers have been down the past few games, but the defense has remained the cornerstone of Notre Dame's success. This week's game against USC will present a unique challenge. Not only are the Irish under pressure to win and cement their place in the BCS national championship, but they're playing against a quarterback with very few stats and very little film. Te'o will need to be on top of his game Saturday.

Stats:

Tackles:
96
Solo:
43
Sacks:
2
Int:
6

Collin Klein, QB, K-State

Klein hasn't been the same since he was injured against Oklahoma State a couple weeks ago. He had three touchdowns in the shocking 52-24 upset by Baylor, but also rushed for just 39 yards and threw three interceptions. It's going to be tough for Klein to crawl back to the Heisman forefront with the two players ahead of him playing so well.

Stats:

Comp %:
66.7
Yards:
2,306
TD:
14
INT:
6
Rush Yds.:
787
TD:
20

Marqise Lee, WR, USC

Lee's numbers were kind of forgotten in the loss to UCLA, but he did have eight catches for 158 yards and a score. It was his eighth 100-yard game this season. Lee could make a huge Heisman splash this weekend with a strong performance against the nation's No. 11 passing defense, but it's going to be tough with a young, untested quarterback at the helm.

Stats:

Catches:
107
Yards:
1,605
TD:
14
KO Returns:
24
Yards:
704
TD:
1

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State

Miller is one of only two players on this list currently playing for undefeated teams. The difference between Miller and Te'o is that Te'o is playing for a national title while Miller is done after this weekend. The Big Ten has been down, which is why Miller isn't getting nearly as much Heisman love as he was before, but his strong play this season should earn him an invite to New York.

Stats:

Comp %:
56.8
Yards:
1,850
TD:
14
INT:
6
Rush Yds.:
1,214
TD:
13

- - -
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