College football Week 9 QB rankings: Bryce Young extends lead for Heisman with consistent play

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As Heisman Trophy contenders rise and fall, what's striking about Bryce Young's first year as Alabama's starter is his consistency.

He's completed at least 62.9% of his throws in seven of eight games. He's had multiple touchdowns and thrown for at least 240 yards in every game. He's topped the 300-yard mark five times, including in each of the Tide's last three games.

Despite some misgivings in September about the state of the Alabama offense, Young has this unit ranked second nationally in scoring (45.9 points per game) and first in the SEC in yards per play (6.8) heading into Saturday's game against LSU.

Three of the Crimson Tide's next four games come against teams ranked 69th or worse in the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing yards allowed per game. That bodes well for Young's chances of closing strong and bringing the Heisman to Tuscaloosa for the second year in a row. He tops this week's list of the best quarterbacks in the country:

1. Bryce Young, Alabama

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has thrown for 719 yards and six touchdowns in his last two games.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has thrown for 719 yards and six touchdowns in his last two games.

About the only thing he hasn't done well is move the chains on third and long: Young is completing just 47.1% of those throws with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. That he's made just 17 such attempts speaks to the health of Alabama's offense, however. All told, it's not easy to find negatives in Young's game as he pilots the Tide toward an SEC West title and the conference championship game.

2. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State

While the Buckeyes struggled to convert inside the red zone in Saturday's 33-24 win against Penn State, Stroud has been at his best all season when in opposing territory. Across his seven starts, the redshirt freshman has thrown for 19 touchdowns without an interception when inside an opponent's 40-yard line.

3. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh

Pickett's push for All-America honors will take a slight hit after Pittsburgh's 38-34 loss to Miami, though it's pretty hard to blame the senior for the Panthers' second loss. As in the team's earlier setback, a shootout loss to Western Michigan, Pickett put up crooked numbers: 519 yards on 9.4 yards per attempt with three scores, though he did toss two interceptions. The touchdowns gave him 83 for his career, breaking the program record held by Dan Marino.

4. Matt Corral, Ole Miss

Corral is no longer the Heisman favorite or even the co-favorite after the Rebels' 31-20 loss to Auburn. The most impactful quarterback on the field was the Tigers' Bo Nix, who finished with 306 yards of total offense and three touchdowns while Corral completed 21 of 37 throws for 289 yards and an interception. In the five games since tossing three touchdowns against Tulane on Sept. 18, Corral has just six touchdowns against two picks. That won't cut it for the Heisman.

5. Caleb Williams, Oklahoma

Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) celebrates with wide receiver Jadon Haselwood (11) after scoring a touchdown against Kansas at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) celebrates with wide receiver Jadon Haselwood (11) after scoring a touchdown against Kansas at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

The freshman phenom keeps stacking monster Saturdays, the latest a six-touchdown performance in the Sooners' rout of Texas Tech. In 99 attempts since replacing Spencer Rattler midway through the Red River Shootout against Texas, Williams has thrown for 1,097 yards and 14 touchdowns against one interception.

6. Sam Hartman, Wake Forest

Hartman has made the most unexpected Heisman push this side of Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III, his former teammate with the Demon Deacons. The redshirt sophomore conducts an offense that has scored at least 35 points in every game and topped 40 in three straight. In his last two games, Hartman has thrown for 860 yards and eight touchdowns.

7. Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

The numbers don't match up with the top passers in the FBS, even if there's no overstating Ridder's importance to a team chasing a playoff berth. The four-year starter ranks 52nd nationally in completion percentage (63.6), 43rd in yards (1,847), 39th in yards per attempt (8.2) and 30th in efficiency rating (155.4), though he does rank 15th in touchdowns (18).

8. Carson Strong, Nevada

Strong is beginning to pour it on as Nevada moves past a sluggish start to the regular season. The potential first-round draft pick has thrown for at least 377 yards and multiple touchdowns in the Wolf Pack's last four games, placing him in the top seven nationally in completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns.

9. Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina

McCall rebounded from a tough loss to Appalachian State on Oct. 23 by throwing for 294 yards and two scores along with a season-high 59 yards on the ground against Troy. He continues to be the most productive passer in the country on a per-throw basis: McCall is averaging 13.1 yards per attempt with an FBS-best efficiency rating of 216.1.

10. Brennan Armstrong, Virginia

Armstrong was injured in the fourth quarter of Virginia's 66-49 loss to Brigham Young and could miss a key stretch of games as the Cavaliers fight for the ACC Coastal championship. (That they are heading into an off week could help.) Before the injury, Armstrong had pulled Virginia out of a 21-0 hole with 337 passing yards, 94 rushing yards and four combined touchdowns.

Follow colleges reporter Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football: Alabama QB strengthens Heisman case in Week 9