Winston had a stellar performance in a little more than a half of play in FSU’s 80-14 win against Idaho on Saturday, while other contenders like Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariotta and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel stumbled following losses this weekend.
Winston, a redshirt freshman, has a passer rating of 194.5, the most efficient rating in the country. He has completed 199-of-286 for 3,163 yards for 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
What makes Winston’s production stand out is that he has only played through all four quarters of three games this year. FSU has the country’s largest scoring margin of 43.4 points.
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher will continue to pull Winston from games that are out of hand, citing he does not want to pad his stats.
“It’s not right for the game,” Fisher said. “He played exceptionally well and he’s on a great team. To me, stats aren’t the key for awards. It’s how well you play, how you dominate your opponent and what you do. That’s my opinion. People who look at numbers don’t really know the player.”
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron (2,399 passing yards and 23 touchdowns to 5 interceptions) is considered Winston’s main challenger for the Heisman, although dark horses like Boston College running back Andre Williams (2,073 rushing yards, 16 TDs) and Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey (1,559 rushing yards, 16 TDs) have emerged.
The main question for Winston, as Bruce Feldman of CBS points out, will likely be if Heisman voters back away from Winston with news of his alleged involvement in a sexual-assault investigation.