Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota Both Struggle in Saturday Blowout Losses


Nov 23, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Texas A

The headline you all probably woke up to this morning was probably not how Ka’Deem Carey ran the ball 48 times with four touchdowns as the Arizona Wildcats held the mighty Oregon Ducks to just 16 points in a 42-16 blowout win, but that quarterback Marcus Mariota threw his first–and second–interception of the season.

Despite accounting for 360 total yards of offense, Mariota threw just two touchdowns and two interceptions as the Ducks fell to Arizona on the road, and obviously two of the last three games haven’t exactly been memorable for good reasons for the projected top five pick.

This came in a week when many out there had started the trend of Mariota as the top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft over long-projected Teddy Bridgewater in the same spot.

In both of Oregon’s losses this year, it’s been a struggle for Mariota, atypical of what he has otherwise been in their nine wins this year.

Across the country in Louisiana, Johnny Manziel was absolutely shut down (as was the whole Texas A&M team) by a stout LSU defense that was hungry after suffering a loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

It was actually Manziel’s worst game as a collegiate player, I would imagine. If it wasn’t statistically, it was darn close. He completed just 16 of his 41 pass attempts, hitting one touchdown and throwing two interceptions. He still led the team with 54 rushing yards and showed off his NFL arm at times, but the LSU defense was simply too much for the Heisman candidate.

Speaking of Heisman candidacy, this wasn’t a good week for a lot of guys. Obviously the allegations against Jameis Winston could cost him the Heisman, and both Manziel and Mariota have had now two games this year where they just didn’t look good. The Heisman voters might have to get a little creative this year, maybe taking into consideration what Ka’Deem Carey or Andre Williams have been able to do at the running back position.

Either way, I don’t think this week of games ultimately will crush either Mariota or Manziel in terms of 2014 NFL Draft stock, but certainly it is something to consider. It was out of character for these guys to be as bad as they were on a weekend when there were plenty of surprises across the college landscape.