Heisman Watch Week 11: Alabama QB AJ McCarron makes his case

Dr. Saturday

Following Alabama’s decisive 38-17 win against LSU on Saturday night, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban used his postgame interview to praise quarterback AJ McCarron and champion him for the Heisman.

Saban’s argument? Look at wins, not stats.

Saban’s comments echoed what he said on ESPN’s College GameDay earlier in the day:

"I think AJ's probably the most underrated player in college football. People talk about statistics all the time, and maybe his statistics are not what somebody else's are. But really what you should equate things with are production, performance, efficiency, consistency and winning. That's really what it's all about. He's done that better than I think anybody in college football."

So, it begs the question: Was Saturday’s win McCarron’s Heisman moment?

We’re inclined to say no, especially with a game against a tough Auburn team looming and a possible SEC title game beyond that.

Saban is right in one respect - McCarron has been steady all season. But he also hasn’t played as tough of a schedule as some of his Heisman competitors. He did make a statement against LSU, but he’ll have to keep his team undefeated to hoist the bronze statue.

Here’s Dr. Saturday’s Heisman Watch for Week 12:

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida St.

Winston didn’t exactly have the most impressive outing statistically against Wake Forest, but he didn’t have to. His defense led the way against the overmatched Demon Deacons, which led to Winston modestly throwing for 159 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. If there’s been one criticism of Winston, especially lately, it’s his ball security. The freshman phenom has thrown at least one interception in each of his last four games.

Stats:

Comp %:
69.2

Yards:
2,661

TD:
26

INT:
7

Rush Yds.:
157

TD:
3

AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

As noted above, McCarron did his best to make Saturday’s win against LSU his Heisman moment and probably won over a few Heisman voters. McCarron threw for 179 yards and three TDs and probably could have had more had it not been for a couple red zone misses. McCarron has thrown for 2,041 yards and 19 touchdowns this season, but his most impressive stat is probably his three interceptions.

Stats:

Comp %:
69.4

Yards:
2,041

TD:
19

INT:
3

Rush Yds.:
-22

TD:
0

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Manziel may have played his last game at Kyle Field and he went out in style with nearly 500 yards of total offense and five touchdown passes. He became the first Aggie with back-to-back 3,000-yard passing seasons and set a school career record for total yards with 9,040 and a single-season record with 31 touchdown passes. Manziel’s only problem has been turnovers, which have cost the Aggies in their losses this season and nearly cost them against Mississippi State. Still, Manziel remains the most exciting player in college football.

Stats:

Comp %:
73.0

Yards:
3,313

TD:
31

INT:
11

Rush Yds.:
611

TD:
8

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon: Mariota had a chance to seal up the Heisman with a strong performance against a stout Stanford defense and he dropped the ball – literally once. He looked overwhelmed and out of sorts. It was an unfortunate result for both him and the Ducks as they suffered their first loss of the season. There’s no question Mariota is one of the best players in college football, but Stanford's defense continues to be his Achilles' heel.

Stats:

Comp %:
63.3

Yards:
2,531

TD:
22

INT:
0

Rush Yds.:
495

TD:
9

Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor

A new face on the Heisman Watch this week, Petty showed he's deserving of some consideration with a strong game against Oklahoma. Petty threw for 204 yards and three TDs against the Sooners, but he also showed off his mobility with 45 yards rushing and two rushing scores. Those rushing TDs came when the Bears were struggling to find fluidity on offense and Petty righted the ship. He’s got a long way to go to win the Heisman, but with a tough schedule, he'll have plenty opportunity to prove himself worthy.

Stats:

Comp %:
66.8

Yards:
2,657

TD:
21

INT:
1

Rush Yds.:
118

TD:
8

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