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Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch. (Associated Press)<br>

Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch. (Associated Press)

Gazzolo Column: A vote for the little guy could go a long way

Last Modified: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10:32 AM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

If Johnny Manziel didn’t lose this year’s Heisman race last summer, surely he lost it Saturday.

Manziel was anything but Heisman-like as LSU’s defense attacked he and his Texas A&M Aggies like in years gone by.

That gave Tiger Nation hope of a bright future, but it all but ended Manziel’s drive to win back-to-back honors as college football’s top player.

He is still likely the most exciting.

Then there is the curious and growing case both for and against Jameis Winston.

The Florida State quarterback who is nicknamed “Famous Jameis” might end up becoming infamous before any awards are handed out.

He is under investigation in a sexual assault case dating back to last spring.

So it seems right now the only thing keeping him from ripping the Heisman out of Manziel’s hands is the district attorney’s office in Tallahassee, Florida.

It is believed an announcement is coming from officials early next week. That, of course, is after the Seminoles play state rival Florida this weekend.

Wonder if the timing might have been different if the Gainesville D.A. was in charge of the case.

If Famous Jameis is charged the Heisman could slip right back into the hands of Johnny Football.

Last summer when Manziel was making his tour of the South’s college campus and night spots, nobody would have guessed he might be helped by things that take place off the field.

Even if the D.A. doesn’t charge Winston but leaves the case open, voters must make a decision. How would the award look if it went to a player who was charged with a felony between the vote and the award ceremony?

Silly, that’s how it would look.

So if not Johnny Football, and if not Famous Jameis, who should America want to be this year’s face of college football?

Well, how about Jordan Lynch.

You say who is Jordan Lynch?

Well, he doesn’t have a styling nickname, nor does he go to a football factory. All he does is win games, lead his team into the Top 25 and even got them to a BCS bowl game last year and knocking on the door to another this fall.

Unimpressed? Try these numbers.

He has thrown for 2,418 yards and 21 touchdowns this year while being picked off just five times. He has also run for 1,434 more yards and 17 more TDs. That’s 38 times he has led the 11-0 Huskies into the end zone while gaining 3,852 total yards.

By all accounts he is a true leader for Northern Illinois and has lifted the Huskies to a 24-1 record over the past two seasons.

You can even watch him play tonight against Western Michigan.

True, he hasn’t played against the big names in college football, but he hasn’t played against Idaho either, which Florida State just scored 80 against.

From what we can tell he stays out of trouble, even goes to class and is willing to do anything to get himself on the field.

As a freshman he offered to play on special teams and has told NFL scouts he is more than willing to change positions if that is for the good of his future team.

Sounds like a leader. Sounds like a winner.

Now I know Jordan Lynch has just slightly a better chance of winning the Heisman than I do of earning Mr. Universe status, but it would be a vote not only for the little guy, but it could just make a point.

That alone won’t make anybody’s vote for Lynch a wasted one.

• • •

Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at jgazzolo@americanpress.com

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