It's not often that a player can tally over 300 yards, find the end zone six times and still manage not to climb in the Heisman Trophy rankings, but Johnny Manziel wouldn't be Johnny Manziel if he operated by the norm.
Johnny Football was once again spectacular on Saturday, as he completed 16-of-24 throws for 273 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions while running for 68 and two more scores.
The Aggies destroyed University of Texas at El Paso, 57-7, at Kyle Field and Manziel's day was done halfway through the third quarter.
For the season, Manziel has now completed 72.5 percent of his throws for 2,867 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions. On the ground, he has racked up 564 yards and eight scores. Let's take a look at his current pace vs. last year's Heisman numbers:
|Manziel vs. Manziel|
|Player||Completion Pct.||Passing Yards||Rushing Yards||Passing TD||Rushing TD||INT|
|2012 Heisman Manziel||68.0||3,706||1,410||26||21||9|
|2013 Manziel (12-Game Pace)||72.5||3,822||752||34||10||10|
There's not much not to like, here. While his total yards and touchdowns are projected to be down slightly, he has been more efficient through the air and is still the same dangerous, unstoppable playmaker.
Only one problem: his competition this time around is far more stout than it was in 2012.
Two regular season losses weren't enough to derail the HeisManziel campaign train last year because, Manti Te'o was a defender and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein had less impressive numbers along with a loss himself.
But this year, Manziel has a couple of absolute studs to deal with in Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota. Not only is the quarterback duo very similar to Manziel in terms of statistical output, but they each are currently leading an undefeated, national-championship contender.
Don't get me wrong. Docking a Heisman contender for two losses (especially when his defense is horrendous and he tallied over 1,000 total yards in those two losses) is complete cockamamie, but in a tight race like this one, it wouldn't be at all surprising if the voters let team victories serve as the deciding factor.
That being said, while Manziel is currently No. 3 in the Heisman race in my book, he's far from out from out of the picture—in fact, he's right smack dab in the middle of the frame.
More performances like Saturday's—you know, against teams that aren't 1-6 Conference USA squads—and it will be impossible not to bump him up the rankings.