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Heisman Watch 2013: Highlighting Dark Horses Who Deserve More National Hype

DEKALB, IL - NOVEMBER 13:  Quarterback Jordan Lynch #6 of the Northern Illinois Huskies looks to pass during the first quarter against the Ball State Cardinals at Huskie Stadium on November 13, 2013 in DeKalb, Illinois. Northern Illinois defeated Ball State 48-27.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Brian Kersey/Getty Images
Jesse ReedCorrespondent INovember 20, 2013

Heading into Week 13 of the 2013 college football season, it appears the Heisman Trophy race has boiled down to two players. Jameis Winston of Florida State and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M are generating all the hype these days, but there are some underdogs deserving just as much national exposure.

Some don't play for big-time programs, while others are overshadowed by talented teammates, which is why these dark horse candidates aren't being touted as legitimate contenders for the award. 

However, considering their performances this season, they should be getting just as much hype as the heavy favorites.

Here's a look at the latest ESPN.com 2013 Heisman Watch experts' poll, followed by a closer examination of the dark horses deserving more love from the national media. 

2013 Heisman Watch List
NamePositionSchoolYear1st2nd3rd4th5thTotal
Jameis WinstonQBFlorida StateFr.10600074
Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&MSo.5911066
Bryce PettyQBBaylorJr.0174437
Marcus MariotaQBOregonSo.1062330
AJ McCarronQBAlabamaSr.000317
Jordan LynchQBNorthern IllinoisSr.000226
Tajh BoydQBClemsonSr.000204
Derek CarrQBFresno StateSr.000124
Ka'Deem CareyRBArizonaJr.001003
Mike EvansWRTexas A&MSo.001003
Andre WilliamsRBBoston CollegeSr.000113
Teddy BridgewaterQBLouisvilleJr.000011
Melvin GordonRBWisconsinSo.000011
Braxton MillerQBOhio StateJr.000011
ESPN.com

 

Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois

Jordan Lynch's performance against Ball State in Week 12 was his signature Heisman moment to this point in the season.

With the team's undefeated season and potential BCS bowl game berth on the line, Lynch totaled 468 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Huskies to a blowout victory over their MAC rivals.

For the season, the dual-threat quarterback has passed for 2,216 yards with 21 touchdowns and just five interceptions while rushing for another 1,273 yards with 14 touchdowns. His 35 total touchdowns is just four less than Manziel's 39 total scores, and it's three more than Winston's 31. 

Furthermore, Northern Illinois is undefeated, thanks in large part to Lynch's fine play. 

Unfortunately for him, Lynch plays in the aforementioned MAC, which doesn't help his Heisman Stock, as expressed by Jimmy Boyd:

No matter how well he plays to finish the season, Lynch won't be taken seriously for this prestigious award, and that's a shame. He's put together one of the best seasons of any player in the nation and deserves credit for his accomplishment.

 

Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 26:  Derek Carr #4 of the Fresno State Bulldogs throws the ball against the San Diego State Aztecs during their game on October 26, 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Like Lynch, Derek Carr plays for a smaller school than the heavy favorites, and he's leading a Fresno State team that is undefeated with a record of 9-0 heading into the final weeks of the season.

Carr's statistics this year are simply outstanding. A pure pocket passer, he's completed 69.5 percent of his 465 attempts, totaling 3,421 passing yards (No. 3 in the nation) with 32 touchdowns (No. 2 in the nation) and just four interceptions. 

As shown by DC4Heisman on Twitter, he has been better than any of the other top quarterbacks in this Heisman race when it comes to turnovers:

As an added bonus, he's added another two scores on the ground, despite the fact that he rarely leaves the pocket unless he's under heavy pressure.

With passing numbers equal to or better than any of the other top contenders, Carr deserves better than the No. 8 spot he's currently occupying in the Heisman Watch list.  

 

Andre Williams, RB, Boston College

It's hard to believe Andre Williams' huge season is flying under the radar.

Through 10 games, he's rushed for 1,840 yards with 14 touchdowns, and his total rushing yardage leads the nation. The next-best running back has nearly 400 yards less than Williams, who is having the best season at his position since 2007, as noted by CollegeFootballTalk

Incredibly, he has suffered through two miserable games this year, totaling just 108 yards on 41 carries against USC and Clemson. Those poor performances make his 184-yards-per-game average stand out as all the more remarkable. 

In his last four games, Williams has rushed for an astonishing 972 yards and seven touchdowns. He's doing everything he can to put himself in the mix for the final five in New York, but at this point, he's sitting outside the top 10. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78

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