The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

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February 23, 2024

Joe Knows

I saw all I needed to Saturday. And I venture to guess it wouldn’t be out of line to assume Nick Saban did too.

If the job of awarding the Heisman Trophy is to determine the “most outstanding college football player,” then this superlative must be derived from the most outstanding performance.

Johnny Football made it pretty clear what that was in Texas A&M’s 29-24 win over Alabama Saturday.

In the span of 3 1/2 hours Saturday, redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel emerged, sustained and ultimately conquered the top-ranked Crimson Tide at home in front of a national audience.

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Unfortunately for Manziel, his team has two losses, and the Heisman usually goes to the best player on the best team. Since 2007, Robert Griffin III is the only Heisman winner not to appear in the National Championship that season.

Because of this precedent, Kansas State’s Collin Klein and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller have been cited as favorites, as their teams have yet to encounter a defeat this season.

But while the Wildcats and Buckeyes are both vying for undefeated seasons, isn’t there something to be said for knocking off No.1?

Klein and Miller have both had solid all-around seasons, but the Heisman Trophy is won on Heisman moments. See Reggie Bush’s 500-yard game, Cam Newton’s fourth-quarter comeback over Alabama or Desmond Howard’s pose.

Manziel fit that bill Saturday.

But it would be a mistake to dismiss Manziel’s dazzling performance as a one-hit wonder.

In 10 games, Manziel has more total yards (3,794) and touchdowns (33) than both Klein (2,768, 31) and Miller (2,919, 27)

Perhaps the most deserving, Manti Te’o, won’t likely have a shot due to the long held prejudice toward players on defense. Charles Woodson became the only defensive player to ever win the award in 1997.

Te’o has overcome personal tragedy and led the resurgence of Notre Dame’s defense.

After rushing for more than 300 yards against USC, Oregon’s Kenjon Barner was a trendy pick, but failed to sustain the mojo Saturday, when he totaled just 65 yards on 20 carries against a poor California defense. This, in addition to Oregon’s success with pretty much anyone in the backfield.

Although he has racked up more than 1,300 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground, Barner will likely be penalized for playing in an offensive system that is friendlier to good running backs than Judge Lance Ito.

As of this week, Klein remains the favorite by a nose.

And when the voters return their ballots no later than Dec. 3, it’s likely the impression that Manziel made in the public’s mind Saturday will have dissipated. But effect from knocking off the nation’s No. 1 team and thrusting Kansas State into the top-ranking will have not.

Klein can thank Manziel for that.

 

JOE CUNEO

[email protected]

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