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Heisman Watch 2021: Matt Corral injury, Caleb Williams breakout will define Week 8

Sportsnaut
Sportsnaut
 1 hour ago

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The Heisman Watch is getting wild, with Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young and Ole Miss Rebels star Matt Corral in a neck-and-neck battle entering Week 8. However, the Corral injury could swing things significantly by next Sunday.

Courtesy of BetMGM, here are the latest Heisman Trophy odds entering Week 8. Check below for analysis of where things stand for the top contenders, with the Heisman odds updated every Monday.

Player 2021 Heisman Trophy odds
Bryce Young, QB, Alabama +200
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss +200
CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State +800
Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State +1400
Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas +2000
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati +2000
Caleb Williams, QB, Oklahoma +2000
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh +2500
TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State +4000
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Let’s take a look at how Week 8 of the college football season impacted the Heisman Watch.

Heisman Watch: Week 8 outlook for Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Kenny Pickett

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Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off his first career loss, Bryce Young needed to deliver to maintain his No. 1 spot in our Heisman Watch. Sure enough, the sophomore quarterback delivered for the Crimson Tide.

Young completed 20-of-28 passes in Week 7, throwing four touchdowns and racking up 348 passing yards. He didn’t even need to finish the game, throwing one final touchdown strike midway through the fourth quarter and finishing the night on the sideline with the game decided.

  • Bryce Young stats: 156-of-224 (69.6%), 2,082 passing yards, 24 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 9.3 ypa

Heading into Week 8, Young is in an excellent position for the Heisman Trophy. He boasts stellar numbers through seven games and should hold a slight edge over his closest competition.

This isn’t a marquee ranked-versus-ranked matchup, so the impact on Heisman voters will be determined by overall performance. Tennessee ranks 36th in yards per attempt allowed (6.7), so this won’t be a cakewalk. But the improved chemistry Young is showing with John Metchie III and Jameson Williams could lead to a big day.

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It wasn’t an easy Week 7 for Matt Corral. Missing some of his top wide receivers and tight ends, he was in an uncomfortable spot with offensive weapons he doesn’t have great chemistry with. After a slow start, the junior flipped the switch against Tennessee. He recorded just the second game in his college career with 200-plus passing yards and 195-plus rushing yards.

  • Matt Corral stats: 122-of-184 (66.3%), 1,728 passing yards, 14 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 450 rushing yards and eight touchdowns

Currently tied with Young in the Heisman Trophy odds, Corral’s injury could change things significantly. Lane Kiffin told reporters that Corral is ‘not in very good shape’ to play against LSU in Week 8. He suffered a knee injury against Tennessee and is now in jeopardy of not playing Saturday.

If that’s the case, the Week 9 edition of Heisman Watch will look a lot different. For now, we’re presuming Corral is out. Check back Saturday for a matchup outlook if he is cleared and how his performance will impact the Heisman race.

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Our hopes for Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder thrusting himself firmly into Heisman Watch took a hit in Week 7. The Bearcats dominated UCF, but they really didn’t need the senior passer to do it. Ridder completed just 13-of-23 passes with one touchdown on the day. The 6-0 record is great, but marginal improvements to the season stat line diminish Ridder’s darkhorse candidacy for the Heisman Trophy.

Navy’s passing defense (231 yards/game, 140.5 passer rating) is weak, but it’s only allowed eight touchdowns to quarterbacks through the air. Cincinnati will win this game, but soft numbers for Ridder could sink his Heisman odds.

  • Desmond Ridder stats (2021): 108-of-168 (64.3% completion rate), 1,444 passing yards, 13-2 TD INT ratio, three rushing touchdowns

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is now squarely in the mix The quarterback threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns in Week 6 against Maryland, showing outstanding touch and giving his receivers chances to make big plays. After initial concern early in the season, Stroud is thriving.

Facing the Indiana Hoosiers in Week 8, Stroud has a good chance to add to his numbers. Indiana is decent against the pass, holding opponents to a 57.7% completion rate, but it really struggles to create pressure. We’re expecting strong numbers from Stroud, setting him up nicely for a potential Heisman moment in the Oct. 30 matchup against Penn State.

Click here for our latest college football top-25 rankings

As for the running backs, Kenneth Walker III is the name to watch. Michigan State (7-0) is rolling right now and Walker erupted for 232 rushing yards in Week 5. But he didn’t exactly carry the team in a close win over Indiana, failing to find the end zone and finishing under 100 rushing yards. Still, he leads the nation with 997 rushing yards.

The surprise from this week’s latest Heisman odds is Caleb Williams. He drew the start on Saturday and decimated TCU’s defense. Coming off a five-touchdown performance with 295 yards through the air and 66 on the ground, there is clearly a lot for Lincoln Riley to work with.

  • Caleb Williams stats: 609 passing yards, 215 rushing yards and nine total touchdowns

Oklahoma’s starting quarterback always gets mentioned in the Heisman Watch and Williams seems better than Spencer Rattler. The freshman should deliver another jaw-dropping performance in Week 8 against Kansas, one of the worst teams in the nation. Now is the time to put some money on him, but he’s got a lot of ground to make up.

We expect Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett’s Heisman odds to spike significantly. He made things look easy against Virginia Tech, recording three total touchdowns. Heading into Week 8, the senior is climbing in our Heisman Watch rankings thanks to a phenomenal 21-1 TD-INT rato. If he beats Clemson, making some big throws in Andrew Booth’s direction, Pickett could skyrocket in the Heisman Watch.

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As for Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson, check back in 2022. Robinson dominated Oklahoma State, erupting for three touchdowns and 173 scrimmage yards. The overall numbers this season are impressive, but Heisman voters aren’t giving the nod to a running back on a team outside the Top-25. We’ll save any bets on him for next year, when he might become the best running back in college football.

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