We are nearing the end of the college football regular season with just two weeks left. While some candidates can still boost their Heisman candidacy in the conference championships, these next two weeks might be some of their last chances to pad their stats. In a week that saw some tough matchups and rivalries, let’s get into what the Heisman watch looks like in its current state.
1. Kenneth Walker III, Michigan State
Another week, another game that Walker carried the Spartans on his back. Against Maryland, the junior ran for two touchdowns and 143 yards on 30 carries. It wasn’t his best yards per carry day at 4.8. But he did a lot to help carry Michigan State to a 40-21 victory. It was the third straight game that Walker ran for 140 yards or more. That made him the first Spartan to hit that mark in three or more games in a row since Javon Ringer in 2008. Walker now has 17 touchdowns and 1,473 yards on 227 carries. Michigan State plays Ohio State next week so it is a huge opportunity for Walker to show he is Heisman-worthy. Then they finish the season against a tough Penn State defense. Good numbers against those two and he may wrap it up.
2. Matt Corral, Ole Miss
Corral was a non-factor with his legs, as he seemed to not be fully back to 100 percent after suffering an ankle injury last week. But with his arm, the Rebel gunslinger had a solid day while not committing any turnovers against a tough Texas A&M defense. The projected first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft threw for 247 yards and one touchdown on 24-of-37 passing. Corral has games against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State to really make a strong case.
3. Bryce Young, Alabama
It was never a question of whether the Crimson Tide were going to beat the one-win New Mexico State squad. Young took advantage of a weak opponent by padding his stats with one of the best statistical performances of his career while not even playing in the fourth quarter. The sophomore completed 21-of-23 passes for five touchdowns and 270 passing yards. Young has a chance at a more resume-building win against ranked Arkansas next week. There’s no question he is will be a finalist, but can he bring the Heisman home with his performances over the next few weeks? The SEC title game against Georgia will be a huge test to that as well.
4. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh
Pickett looks like a legitimate top quarterback in the country. He has done a lot with less talent than the others. On Thursday night, he led Pitt to a hard-fought 30-23 victory in overtime over North Carolina, despite throwing a late pick that nearly cost the Top 25 team the win. Outside of the interception, Pickett threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns on 25-of-43 passing. In overtime, he threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Lucas Krull, and the defense held. The interception was just his fourth on the season to 32 touchdown passes and 3,517 passing yards. The Panthers close out the season against Virginia and Syracuse, before likely playing Wake Forest in the ACC Championship Game. Pickett has ample opportunity to prove his candidacy and make his way to New York as one of the finalists.
5. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
The “Spoilermakers” were no more on Saturday as Stroud wanted no part of the Purdue Boilermakers pulling out another top-five upset. Against a pretty solid defense, the Buckeye freshman was near perfect. He threw for five touchdowns and 361 yards on 31-of-38 passing as Ohio State had a strong balance between the running and passing game. On the season, Stroud has thrown for 25 touchdowns and 2,675 yards with a 67 percent completion rate. The big tests come over the next two weeks, with games against Michigan State and Michigan.
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