The Great Debate: Lamar Jackson or Deshaun Watson

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The most memorable game to ‘Heisman Watch’ so far this season will be the showdown at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina.

Lamar is the hottest Jackson to dominate college sports since Bo in the early 80’s.  His counter on Saturday, Deshaun Watson has been there, done that.  Two of college football’s elites will go toe-to-toe on Saturday night.  Oh my, oh my the star power on display would make astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson giddy with excitement.  We asked on Twitter “who’s the real ‘Alpha in the ACC?'”  Lamar Jackson won by a wide margin, 77% to 23% respectively.  Will that be the case on Saturday?  HeismanWatch weighs in with our tale of the tape.

Photo Cred: Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports

In the Red Corner standing tall, lean, and fast at 6’3″ we have #8 Lamar Jackson:

Tecmo‘ Jackson is the catalyst for the highest powered offense in college football.  As a unit, Louisville leads the country in yards per game (682), points per game (63.5), and first downs (125).  As for Jackson, through four games he’s….ahhhh we’re going to need to bullet point this list:

  • 9th in passing yards (1,330)
  • t-5th in passing touchdowns (13)
  • 6th in total rushing yards (526), 1st by a large margin for QB’s
  • 1st in yards per carry for players with at least 60 carries on the season which are 52 players in case you were wondering (8.6)
  • 1st in rushing touchdowns (12)
  • Jackson is responsible for 37.5 ppg.  That’s better than 86 FBS teams.
  • Jackson’s personal 464 total ypg is better than 86 FBS teams.
  • Lamar Jackson is better offensively than 86 FBS teams.  Not a fact but numbers care to agree with my opinion. 

Photo Cred: Brett Davis

In the Orange Corner standing tall, strong, and accurate at 6’3″ we have #4 Deshaun Watson:

Although his 2016 statistics are undoubtedly underwhelming in comparison to Lamar Jackson’s, Deshaun Watson’s value is undeniable.  In his career when Watson has seen significant playing time in a game, Clemson is 22-2.  Other than being a winning QB, which most anybody can do on an Alabama team, Watson has proved that he to can shred defenses with both his arm and his legs.  Last season Watson threw for over 4,100 yards, 35 td’s and ran for over 1,100 yards and 12 td’s.  Watson was arguably the best player on the field in Clemson’s only defeat last year, the National Championship against Alabama and Heisman winner Derrick Henry.

As for this year, Watson has been a good, but not great performer by his standards.  (Watson’s ‘good’ is better than most college QB’s ‘great’ fyi).  But similar to last year, Watson didn’t hit the gas until a few weeks into the season, 6th game in fact, when he recorded his first 300+ total yard game.  Not sure what clicked but after game #5 of 2015 Watson averaged 400 yards per game the rest of the way.

Back to the game on Saturday night.  The matchup is more than Jackson v Watson.  Although from a Heisman perspective, that narrative is far more entertaining.  But actually Louisville and Clemson, both ranked in the top-5, both looking to take command of the ACC, and both have playoff aspirations riding on this game.  For Jackson and Louisville, the challenge might not be stopping Watson as much as it will be breaking through this ‘Orange Crush’ of a defense. Here’s where Clemson’s defense ranks nationally:

  • 3rd in total yards allowed per game (218.5)
  • 15th in rushing yards per game (92.8)
  • 3rd in passing yards per game (125.8)
  • 2nd in average yards per play (3.4)
  • 4th in points per game (11.0)

On the flip side Louisville’s defense has been formidable as well on defense:

  • 13th in total yards allowed per game (278.3)
  • 15th in passing yards per game (156.3)

However, one defensive category worth noting:

  • Louisville ranks 3rd in defensive penalties (9.5) and 4th in penalty yards per game (88) nationally.

No matter how the game plays out we are in for an early treat before Halloween season.  Let’s see who the real ‘Alpha of the Heisman’ really is.

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