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Johnny Manziel remains on top of Heisman watch list

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press
Bishop Sankey has been productive for Washington against what has been a tough schedule.

Mike Huguenin has spent more than 29 years in sports journalism, many of them closely associated with college football. As a longtime Heisman Trophy voter and one who will cast his ballot again at the end of this season, Huguenin takes a weekly look at the Heisman race.

HEISMAN WATCH 2013:
Week 11 | Week 10 | Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7
Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1

The top three Heisman contenders had mixed results in their games over the weekend. The upshot: Johnny Manziel remained in the top spot in this week's Heisman watch, but Jameis Winston switched places with Marcus Mariota and now is second.

Manziel led Texas A&M to a win by throwing five TD passes; he also threw three interceptions. Winston didn't have to do much and had a mediocre day statistically in FSU's blowout of Wake Forest. Mariota threw two touchdown passes but was shut down on the ground and was at the helm of an offense that was stymied for three quarters in a loss to Stanford.

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Manziel and Texas A&M are off this week, while Mariota and Oregon play host to Utah -- a .500 team that somehow beat Stanford -- and Winston and FSU meet Syracuse, a team the Seminoles should rout. The remaining schedules could play a role in who wins the award: While Manziel (LSU, Missouri) and Mariota (Arizona, Oregon State) have games remaining against good opponents, the best foe remaining for Winston is a 4-5 Florida team.

Here are this week's top 10 contenders, from 10th to first, as this Heisman voter sees them:

10. TB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona

2013 stats: 152.6 rushing yards per game, 11 rushing TDs.
Saturday's stats: 28 carries, 149 yards, 1 TD in loss to UCLA.
The skinny: Carey, a junior, led the nation in rushing last season and is No. 2 this season. His performance against UCLA was his 12th consecutive 100-yard game dating back to last season. He also has proved he can handle a heavy workload: He has had at least 21 carries in seven of the eight games he has played this season.

9. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson

2013 stats: 291.1 passing yards per game, 20 TDs, 6 interception, 65.8 completion percentage, 7 rushing TDs.
Saturday's stats: Clemson was idle.
The skinny: Boyd, a senior, has five 300-yard games this season and also has thrown at least three TD passes five times. He played poorly in Clemson's loss to Florida State, which ended his Heisman hopes. But his play remains a major reason Clemson is in the top 10 and still in the running for a BCS berth.

8. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

2013 stats: 316.1 passing yards per game, 24 TDs, 3 interception, 71.4 completion percentage.
Friday's stats: 21 of 37 for 288 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception in win over Connecticut.
The skinny: Against a bad UConn team, Bridgewater had a so-so performance. Bridgewater has six 300-yard games this season and four times has thrown at least three TD passes. Bridgewater, a junior, might be the most pro-ready quarterback in the nation, but given the weakness of Louisville's schedule, he will be lucky if he makes it to New York as a Heisman finalist.

Texas A&M University Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass during an NCAA college football game against the Mississippi State University Bulldogs at Kyle Field on Saturday November 9, 2013 in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)
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7. QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois

2013 stats: 207.9 passing yards per game, 19 TDs, 5 interceptions, 63.6 completion percentage, 127.8 rushing yards per game, 12 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD.
Saturday's stats: NIU was idle.
The skinny: Lynch, a senior, has started 23 games in the past two seasons, and NIU is 21-2 overall and 9-0 this season. He has a national TV showcase Wednesday night when NIU plays host to Ball State; the winner takes a giant step toward nailing down the Mid-American Conference West Division title. NIU needs to win to stay in the hunt for a second consecutive BCS bowl bid. Lynch is ninth nationally in rushing yards per game.

6. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State

2013 stats: 380.1 passing yards per game, 32 TDs, 4 interceptions, 69.5 completion percentage.
Saturday's stats: 33 of 46 for 360 yards, 4 TDs, no interceptions in win vs. Wyoming.
The skinny: Carr, a senior, leads the nation in TD passes and is second in passing yards per game. Saturday's performance was his seventh 300-yard game of the season and the sixth time he has thrown at least four TD passes. Fresno State is unbeaten and in line for a BCS bowl bid, which raises Carr's profile. Still, it would be a miracle if he were to be invited to New York.

5. QB Bryce Petty, Baylor

2013 stats: 332.1 passing yards per game, 21 TDs, 1 interception, 66.8 completion percentage, 8 rushing TDs.
Thursday's stats: 13 of 26 for 204 yards, 3 TDs, 0 interceptions, 2 rushing TDs in win vs. Oklahoma.
The skinny: Petty, a junior, had his lowest passing total (by 108 yards) against Oklahoma, but he did account for five TDs to lead a 41-12 rout. He has had four games this season with at least three TD passes. Petty is one of 11 quarterbacks averaging 300 passing yards per game, but he has the fewest attempts (by 78) and the fewest completions (by 65) among those 11. He averages 13.2 yards per attempt, by far the highest figure in the nation.

Washington Huskies running back Bishop Sankey (25) carries the ball against the Oregon Ducks during the 1st half at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
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4. RB Bishop Sankey, Washington

2013 stats: 145.0 rushing yards per game, 13 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD.
Saturday's stats: 23 carries, 143 yards, 1 touchdown in win vs. Colorado.
The skinny: Sankey, a junior, has seven 100-yard games this season, and he has scored at least one rushing TD in each of the Huskies' nine contests. He is tied for fourth in the nation in rushing touchdowns and third in rushing attempts (222). Washington has three losses and Sankey isn't going to win the Heisman; he's not even the leading contender in the Pac-12. On the flipside: He's a workhorse who has been extremely productive against a tough schedule.

3. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon

2013 stats: 281.2 passing yards per game, 22 TDs, 0 interceptions, 63.3 completion percentage, 55.0 rushing yards per game, 9 TDs.
Thursday's stats: 20 of 34 for 250 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, minus-16 rushing yards in loss vs. Stanford.
The skinny: Mariota, a third-year sophomore, and Oregon was dominated physically in a loss at Stanford, which is the only team that has beaten the Ducks since the beginning of the 2012 season. He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 22 games of his career and hasn't thrown an interception in nine games this season. His Heisman hopes took a beating in the loss, and he needs some help in terms of bad performances by others to get back into the top two.

2. QB Jameis Winston, Florida State

2013 stats: 295.7 passing yards per game, 26 TDs, 7 interceptions, 69.2 completion percentage, 3 rushing TDs.
Saturday's stats: 17 of 28 for 159 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception in win vs. Wake Forest.
The skinny: Winston is bidding to become the second consecutive redshirt freshman to win the Heisman. He played barely more than a half in the Seminoles' rout of Wake Forest; he didn't have to do much when he was in the game because of the Seminoles' defensive dominance and a lot of short fields. He is fifth nationally in TD passes, and his yards-per-attempt average (11.1) is second among those who qualify. His biggest issue statistically is that FSU has the ability to blow out its remaining three opponents, so how much time will he spend on the field?

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1. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

2013 stats: 331.3 passing yards per game, 31 TDs, 11 interceptions, 73.0 completion percentage, 61.1 rushing yards per game, 8 TDs.
Saturday's stats: 30 of 39 for 446 yards, 5 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 47 rushing yards in win vs. Mississippi State.
The skinny: Manziel, a third-year sophomore, has played in 23 college games; Saturday's performance was the 10th time in his career he has accounted for at least five TDs in a game. It was the fifth time this season and the fourth game in a row he threw at least four TD passes. His completion percentage is second nationally among quarterbacks who qualify and he is tied for second in TD passes. Manziel also is second nationally in total offense (392.4 yards per game). While he already has five more TD passes than he threw last season, he also has thrown two more interceptions; in addition, he ran for 21 TDs last season, and hasn't been near as effective on the ground this fall.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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