Week 2 Heisman Watch: Top Candidates Shine

The second week of the 2021 college football season is officially over. There were some upsets and surprises but the top Heisman candidates all performed pretty well. With that being the case, there won’t be much movement in the rankings for this week.

Week 1

1. Bryce Young, Alabama

To build off an incredible first week that catapulted him to the frontrunner, Young was again impressive. After beating up on Miami last week and throwing four touchdowns, he completed 19 of 27 passes for 227 yards and three touchdowns against Mercer. That came within the first three quarters before the Crimson Tide went to their second-string at the end of the third. As long as he keeps putting up these types of numbers, Young should run away with the award. That being said, he will be tested next week against a tough Florida Gators squad.

2. Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma

After getting off to a bit of a rough start against Tulane last week, the redshirt sophomore was flawless this week. Rattler performed so well, that he was out after just the first half, albeit against an FCS opponent in Western Carolina. In that first half, he completed 20 of 26 passes for 243 yards and five touchdowns, as Oklahoma coasted to a 76-0 win. His first real “test” will come next week when he and the Sooners face off against a tough Nebraska defense that has looked impressive the last two weeks. It will really be a test for both sides, as Nebraska needs to really see where they stand against a formidable opponent.

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3. Matt Corral, Ole Miss

The junior quarterback was impressive against Louisville last week, but he was even better this week. Against Austin Peay, Corral was 20 of 31 on pass attempts for 264 yards and five touchdowns before he got taken out in the 54-17 Ole Miss blowout. The Rebels face Tulane next week before having a huge test against Alabama following their bye week. It is working out to be a very exciting matchup between two of the top Heisman candidates thus far. The game will certainly receive the primetime treatment.

4. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

After a slow first half, which was tied 7-7 at the break, Ridder took over in the second half. He led the Bearcats to 35 unanswered points while throwing for 243 yards on 14 of 22 passing and two touchdowns. Ridder really showed he can work through adversary and it was his halftime speech that woke his team up.

5. Sam Howell, North Carolina

After really struggling last week, to the tune of three interceptions, Howell bounced back in a big way. He finds himself right back in Heisman contention and beat a team he should beat. While it was against Georgia State, the junior completed 21 of 29 passes for 352 yards for three touchdowns before going to the bench in the Tar Heels 59-17 rout. Howell also ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 11 rushes. The Virginia Tech defense he faced last week had him on the ropes all game, but he showed he can take care of business this week.

On the outside looking in: D.J. Uiagalelei, C.J. Stroud

The Clemson quarterback had a tough time with the Georgia defense last week, continued to struggle against SC State. While Clemson did pull away to a 49-3 victory, Uiagalelei was just 14 of 24 passing with 171 yards, 1 touchdown, and one interception. He didn’t look too sharp and he had some off throws, despite having considerably higher yards per pass attempt (7.1) than last week (4.8).

Stroud looked shaky in Oregon’s 35-28 upset of Ohio State but still had a decent outing. He finished 35 of 54 and 484 yards in the air with three touchdowns but threw a devastating interception to seal the game for the Ducks. Looking to see how he bounces back from adversity will be key to his potential Heisman candidacy.

Tune back in next week for an update on the Heisman race! It is still very early so a lot can change from now until January.

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