Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SEC Notebook; Heisman Talk Builds for Manziel

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SEC Notebook; Heisman Talk Builds for Manziel

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

For all of its national acclaim, there is one thing the Southeastern Conference doesn't have - a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was arguably the SEC's best preseason candidate, but a 35-7 loss at South Carolina doomed his chances.

Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson's campaign was over early.

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore isn't getting much attention, despite 10 rushing touchdowns. He was held to 58 total yards in last week's 23-21 loss to LSU and might not be healthy enough to play Saturday at Florida. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday Lattimore's bruised hip could keep him out of the starting lineup.

So, is all lost as far as the SEC and the Heisman? Maybe not, thanks to a freshman.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel continues to put up incredible numbers. He broke his own SEC record for total yards in a game, accounting for 576 and six touchdowns as the Aggies beat Louisiana Tech 59-57 last Saturday.

In six college games, Manziel has broken the SEC record for total yards in a game twice. He's thrown for 1,680 yards and 14 touchdowns and run for 676 yards and 10 touchdowns. That's better production passing and running than the Heisman-winning years of former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (2007) and former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton (2010).

Manziel is fourth on CBS Sports' Heisman list and sixth in ESPN's rankings. One national writer, Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples, predicted this week that Manziel would win the coveted award.

There's only one potential problem. The 20th-ranked Aggies (5-1, 2-1) play host to No. 6 LSU (6-1, 2-1) on Saturday. The Tigers have one of the most athletic defenses in the country.

"The good thing is our defense will be one of the fastest he will have seen," LSU coach Les Miles said. "Hopefully, we will use a style of pressure that's most effective. At times, it's going to be coverage and keeping him in the pocket, and other times, hopefully we can get to him."

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