Heisman Trophy watch for Week 11: Bryce Young’s big moment still looms

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Alabama’s Bryce Young is good.

Almost too good to the point where it takes away from his Heisman Trophy candidacy. Young led Alabama to a 20-14 victory against LSU on Saturday, and it wasn’t pretty. Young finished 24 of 37 for 302 yards and two TDs, which was good. 

Is Young good enough to be a back-to-back Heisman Trophy winner for Alabama? The Crimson Tide have three previous winners under Nick Saban, and they used the LSU game to prop up that Heisman campaign.

BENDER: Playoff picture shakes up with Michigan State loss

Mark Ingram had 144 yards in a top-10 showdown with the Tigers in 2009. Derrick Henry rushed for 210 yards and three TDs and upstaged Leonard Fournette in the 2015 matchup. DeVonta Smith had eight catches for 231 yards and three TDs in last year’s blowout victory.

Young’s performance didn’t register quite that much, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t good. He completed 17 of 27 passes for 191 yards and a TD in the first half, and a late TD pass to John Metchie III gave the Crimson Tide a 14-7 halftime lead.

The big strike came in the third quarter when Young hit Jameson Williams on a post for a 58-yard score. The Crimson Tide had to hold on from there, and Young had a fumble in the fourth quarter that nearly led to LSU stealing a victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

That doesn’t mean Young isn’t good enough to win the award. 

Young continues to be the smart-money pick to win the Heisman Trophy. He now has six games with at least 300 yards passing, and the Crimson Tide has the biggest stage left in a potential SEC championship game matchup against top-ranked Georgia.

That could be the difference-maker. The field remains wide open, and Young is the best player on the highest-ranked team right now. 

The rest of the candidates might not have that big-stage opportunity. A look at the best of the rest: 

Heisman candidates to watch

Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State

One week after a show-stopping performance against Michigan, Walker rushed for 136 yards and a TD. The problem? Michigan State lost 40-29 to Purdue, and now Walker faces an all-in moment against Ohio State on Nov. 20. Walker now has 1,330 rushing yards and 15 TDs, but the Heisman traditionally is a QB award. 

MORE: Purdue plays spoiler again in win over MSU

C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State 

The Buckeyes have so many talented offensive players, but Storoud is the beneficiary as a high-volume passer. He had 30 attempts by halftime in a 26-17 victory against Nebraska. He finished 36 of 54 for 405 yards and a pair of TDs, but he also threw two interceptions and nearly had a disastrous fumble late in the fourth quarter. Stroud now has 2,675 passing yards, 25 TDs and five interceptions. 

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pitt 

Wake Forest lost, which hurt Sam Hartman’s candidacy. Pickett still is the best bet among ACC quarterbacks to get to New York. He finished with 416 passing yards and three TDs in a 54-29 victory against Duke, and his season totals are up to 3,171 yards, 29 TDs and three interceptions. Pitt also is alone atop the ACC Coastal Division. He has a chance. 

Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss 

Corral outdueled Liberty quarterback Malik Willis in a 27-14 victory on Saturday and continued to pad his stats in the process. Corral finished with 324 passing yards and a TD, but he didn’t run much. Corral has 2,526 passing yards, 528 rushing yards and 26 total TDs. The Rebels remain in the mix for a New Year’s Day Six Bowl, and Corral might need that to be more than a finalist. 

Caleb Williams, QB, Oklahoma 

Williams might be the controversial write-in candidate, but he has a 203.7 passer rating, and that would be first among Power 5 quarterbacks if he had enough attempts. Williams did not start until midseason, but he can carry the Sooners to the College Football Playoff. Showdowns against Baylor and Oklahoma State will be high-profile spots, too.

Current Heisman Odds

Here are the current Heisman odds according to FanDuel.com before Saturday’s games. 

Player Odds
Bryce Young (QB, Alabama) +150
CJ Stroud (QB, Ohio State) +350
Matt Corral (QB, Ole Miss) +600
Kenneth Walker III (RB, Michigan State) +600
Caleb Williams (QB, Oklahoma) +850

When is the Heisman Trophy Ceremony

The Heisman will be awarded on Dec. 11, one week after conferences hold their conference championship games. Last year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was held virtually and not until Jan. 5. This year, the ceremony is back to its normal date in mid-December.

Week 10 Takeaways

– Liberty goes down. Hugh Freeze’s return to Ole Miss was a dud. Willis threw two costly interceptions in the first half, and the Rebels built a 24-0 lead at halftime. Willis, who is considered a potential first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, finished 16 of 25 for 173 yards and three picks in the much-anticipated showdown with Matt Corral, who bounced back nicely by hitting 20 of 27 passes for 324 yards and a TD. 

MORE: Kiffin apologizes for tweet ‘even though I didn’t have anything to do with it’

– ACC out of the CFP. Wake Forest’s defense gave out in a 58-55 shootout loss to North Carolina. The Demon Deacons allowed 546 yards and Sam Howell outdueled Sam Hartman in a wild comeback victory. Howell finished with 216 passing yards, 104 rushing yards and three total TDs, and Ty Chandler added 213 rushing yards and four TDs. The Tar Heels looked like the preseason top-10 they were supposed to be, and it came at the worst possible time for Wake Forest. The ACC likely is out of the CFP as a result.

– Gators in trouble. Florida coach Dan Mullen had quite a week. It began with some viral comments about recruiting (or lack thereof) and worsened when South Carolina raced out to a 30-10 halftime lead against the Gators. The low point came on a scoop-and-score by South Carolina’s Jabari Ellis with 46 seconds left in the second quarter. It didn’t get better. The Gamecocks beat the Gators 40-17, which drops Florida to 4-5. Mullen’s seat is now surprisingly hot, even if the Gators should win their last three against Samford, Missouri and Florida State.

– Rocky Top love. Who knew Tennessee would have a better record than Florida at this point? The Vols improved to 5-4 with a 45-42 victory against Kentucky. Tennessee can get to seven wins in Josh Heupel’s first season with victories against South Alabama and Vanderbilt, but first up is Georgia in Knoxville. Tennessee showed it could compete (at least for a half) against Alabama a week after the last-minute loss to Ole Miss. What will the Tennessee fans do if they can upset the Bulldogs?



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