Sports

Heisman watch: Bryce Young no longer the favorite despite record game


Bryce Young set an Alabama single-game record over the weekend, but that wasn’t enough for him to keep his spot as the betting favorite for this year’s Heisman Trophy Award. According to BetMGM, Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is now the odds-on favorite for the award at -200 odds followed by Young (+150), Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corrall (+1600) and Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III (+2200). Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. is receiving a bit of Heisman buzz but is tied with the seventh-best odds at +8000.

The Heisman Trophy will be awarded on Dec. 11, a week after conferences hold their conference championship games.

Here’s a look at where the top contenders stand heading into Week 13 of the season.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud

Last week: Stroud completed 32 of 35 (91.4%) passes for 432 yards and six touchdowns without an interception during Ohio State’s 56-7 victory over Michigan State.

Season stats

Games: 10

Completion percentage: 71.1 (No. 8 nationally )

Passing yards: 3,468 (No. 8 nationally)

Passing touchdowns: 36 (Tied for No.4 nationally)

Interceptions: 5

Passer rating: 186.74 (No. 2 nationally)

Rushing yards: 0

Rushing touchdowns: 0

Outlook: Stroud put up absurd numbers despite playing a little more than a half during Ohio State’s blowout win over Michigan State. It’s worth noting that the Spartans rank last among all Division I teams in pass defense. However, six passing touchdowns in a half is good no matter the competition.

Stroud has similar numbers to Young despite playing in one less game. He’s been especially hot over his last seven games, completing 74.7% of his passes for 2,505 passing yards and 28 touchdowns with two interceptions over that span.

Stroud will have another big platform this weekend as Ohio State travels to Michigan for The Game. A win there will clinch a place in next week’s Big Ten Championship Game, giving him another possibility to add to his numbers before the Heisman is handed out.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young 

Last week: Young completed 31 of 40 (77.5%) passes for 559 yards and five touchdowns without an interception during Alabama’s 42-35 victory over Arkansas.

Season stats

Games: 11

Completion percentage: 71.7 (No. 6 nationally )

Passing yards: 3,584 (No. 6 nationally)

Passing touchdowns: 38 (Tied No. 2 nationally)

Interceptions: 3

Passer rating: 186.23 (No. 3 nationally)

Rushing yards: 14

Rushing touchdowns: 2

Outlook: Young preserved Alabama’s playoff chances while recording the most prolific game in school history. The quarterback’s 559 yards through the air against Arkansas set the Tide’s single-game record, obliterating the previous mark of 484 yards set by Scott Hunter against Auburn in 1969.

Young’s record performance came against a Razorbacks defense that regularly dropped eight defenders into coverage to eliminate big plays through the air. That did little to stop the Alabama quarterback, who saw 13 completions net 20 or more yards on the day.

Young has been solid all season but has taken his game to another level since Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M. In the five games following that defeat, he has completed 74.2 percent of his passes for 1,852 yards and 18 touchdowns without an interception.

Like Stroud, Young will play in a rivalry game this weekend as Alabama travels to Auburn for the Iron Bowl. The Tide also clinched the SEC West with its win over Arkansas, setting up a high-profile matchup against top-ranked Georgia in the SEC Championship Game next week. Assuming Young takes care of business against Auburn, a strong performance against Georgia could be the deciding factor in this year’s Heisman race.

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral

Last week: Corral completed 27 of 36 (75.0%) passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns with an interception while carrying the ball seven times for 29 yards during Ole Miss’ 31-17 victory over Vanderbilt.

Season stats

Games: 11

Completion percentage: 67.5 (No. 19 nationally )

Passing yards: 3,100 (No. 14 nationally)

Passing touchdowns: 19 (Tied for No. 34 nationally)

Interceptions: 3

Passer rating: 159.45 (No. 14 nationally)

Rushing yards: 552

Rushing touchdowns: 10 (Tied for No. 41 nationally)

Outlook: Corral is a distant third to Stroud and Young. The Ole Miss quarterback was solid but not spectacular against a poor Vanderbilt team over the weekend and will only get one more opportunity to impress voters as Ole Miss travels to Mississippi State for the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving.

Corral isn’t ranked in the top 10 in any passing category. While he has much better rushing stats than Stroud or Young, he has just 33 yards and no touchdowns on the ground over his last three games. Another thing against him is his loss to Young and Alabama, a game in which he combined for just 216 total yards and two touchdowns.

Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III

Last week: Waker carried the ball six times for 25 yards while also recording a reception for 4 yards during Michigan State’s 56-7 defeat to Ohio State.

Season stats

Games: 11

Rushing yards: 1,498 (No. 2 nationally)

Rushing touchdowns: 17 (Tied for No. 4 nationally)

Yards per attempt: 6.43 (No. 27 nationally)

Receptions: 13

Receiving yards: 89

Receiving touchdowns: 1

Outlook: It’s actually surprising that Walker is this high up the list following last week’s performance. The Michigan State running back was virtually nonexistent during the Spartans humiliating loss to Ohio State, registering a season-low in rushing yards.

It’s hard enough for a non-quarterback to win the award. After Walker whiffed on his biggest stage of the season, he has virtually no chance to win the award. Michigan State wraps up its regular season by hosting Penn State this week. Walker needs a bounce-back performance in that game to hold on to his lead in the Doak Walker Award race.

Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. 

Last week: Anderson recorded 11 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss and a sack to go with two quarterback hurries during Alabama’s 42-35 victory over Arkansas.

Season stats

Games: 11

Tackles: 78

Tackles for a loss: 26.5 (No. 1 nationally)

Sacks: 13.5 (Tied for No. 1 nationally)

Quarterback hurries: 8

Pass deflections: 2

Outlook: It’s going to be extremely tough for Anderson to win the Heisman, especially with his quarterback stealing most of the spotlight. Still, given Alabama’s stature and the opportunity to play on a couple of big stages, he is somewhat of a dark horse.

Former Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson was the last defensive player to win the Heisman, taking home the honor in 1997. However, he also starred on special teams.

Anderson’s only path to winning the award involves him providing an insane amount of production as well as both Stroud and Young slipping up. Let’s say the two frontrunners at quarterback throw multiple picks the next two games and Anderson tallies seven or eight sacks while leading the Tide to an SEC Championship Game victory over Georgia, maybe then he could crash the party.

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) carries the ball in for a two point conversion against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the second half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Photo | USA Today

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) carries the ball in for a two point conversion against the Arkansas Razorbacks during the second half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Photo | USA Today



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