It was a game for the ages with No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Auburn battling it out for a trip to the SEC Championship in Atlanta. This was quarterback A.J. McCarron’s chance to have his signature Heisman moment.
McCarron has always been a sleeper in the polls because Alabama is generally good on all sides of the ball and doesn’t depend solely on him to make plays. He hasn’t had any particular Heisman moment. McCarron has just consistently put up great numbers. This season, McCarron has completed 190 of 277 passes for 2399 yards, 23 touchdowns and five interceptions for a rating of 165.1.
He has slowly edged his way up after several other Heisman contenders faltered. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was completely derailed against Stanford. Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty wasn’t able to stir up any magic against Oklahoma State, going on to lose 49-17 in Week 13 while falling completely out of Heisman contention. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, an early favorite for a repeat Heisman, has been up and down all season.
And while No. 2 Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston continues to reign in the polls, his off-field transgressions may hurt his chances down the line.
All McCarron needed was a signature Heisman moment and a win. McCarron’s moment came when he hit wide receiver Amari Cooper for a 99-yard touchdown strike to give the Tide the lead back at 28-21. However, the loss will hurt McCarron’s chances for a Heisman because his ability to win games was what brought him up the polls in the first place. If Alabama could have pulled out the win, it would be a completely different story.