Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss Caleb Williams superb performance in USC’s win over Notre Dame, and debate if Williams has wrapped up the Heisman Trophy.
DAN WETZEL: You could not have started a tenure at USC better than Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams. I do not know how Caleb Williams doesn't win the Heisman, and only because I don't know who else would even be the candidate.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Corum didn't play. Stroud didn't look good. You know, Hooker's hurt. You know, I don't even know what his competition is at this point. Caleb Williams absolutely unbelievable in that game. What was the mood at SC, and how confident are they there in the playoff?
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah. I'll start with just the atmosphere. You know, obviously they take a lot of flack out here for sometimes not always caring about football, and coming to the game and being loud. And they were loud. There was more than 72,000 on hand. It was rocking.
I don't think there's really any doubt he's going to win the Heisman, barring some insanely awful performance next weekend, next week, in the Pac 12 championship game. I don't see how he doesn't win. And they are trying, too. The campaign off the field and on the field is there. They started the Heisman campaign, USC did, on Monday with some videos and such.
Strictly from just watching in the press box and watching him run around, the escapability, strictly from the escapability. I mean, he must have escaped five to seen sacks and probably 12 to 15 defenders. It was stunning, the way he can move his feet. He has kind of the innate ability that really great quarterbacks do of feeling the pressure.
And then, what makes him, I think, different than other mobile quarterbacks, is he is always looking downfield. He wants to throw it. And a lot of times he does. He rolls out, he scampers around, and he throws it while on the run 12 seconds into a play.
It was an awesome atmosphere. It was a good game and just a great performance by him. And yeah, I see him taking home some hardware in a couple of weeks.
DAN WETZEL: He, to me-- he's the perfect player for USC at this moment overall. But USC does-- it is hard to get people in LA to go to the game because there's a lot to do, and it's LA. But if you have a guy and an offense that is exciting-- he is a star. He is-- you got to see this. That's what he did. That's what was so great about those Leinart and Bush teams, was like, oh my God, did you see what Reggie Bush just did? I got to go to the game.
And that, to me, is like, you could not have started a tenure at USC better than Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams. It's like you look-- if you're just sort of a casual college football fan or fan of LA teams out there, everyone will get into a winner. And you're like, we got this young coach. We got this unbelievable player. Let's go. And this is exciting.
So kind of dream season for USC. And not just their record, but they're not doing it running the Wing T here. They're doing it with the pyrotechnics.
ROSS DELLENGER: The crowd-- what I found really kind of fascinating, too, is man, it was just like, every time that he escaped or just ran out of the pocket, man, you could just hear the rumble from the crowd, and they were hanging on every single thing he did. I mean, they came to that game to see their star. And it was really cool.
Then afterward, the post-game scene was pretty wild. He stayed on the field for 30 minutes, it seemed like, on the field kind of blowing kisses to the crowd. He rang the victory bell. He got interviewed a few times. A true celebrity here in Hollywood.
PAT FORDE: Yeah. He's dazzling. And he's just the perfect fit with Lincoln Riley, who's now going to have his third Heisman-winning quarterback.
ROSS DELLENGER: Unbelievable.
PAT FORDE: And he's got some things in common with Kyler Murray and with Baker Mayfield in terms of, like, I mean, he is a freelance king. He just can make stuff happen on the fly. And I did-- I tweeted this somewhat facetiously, but I almost believe it, that like sometimes I think he makes plays harder than he has to just because-- to see what happens, like you know? I know I can-- like there's an alley there. I could scramble for seven yards here.
Or I got a guy open in the flat over here for 10 yards. But if I backpedal and then reverse pivot and then run over to the left and then come back to the right and throw across my body for 20 yards, wouldn't that be cool? OK, I'll do it. I mean, he's just got that kind of verve and confidence, like, whatever. I'm having fun out here, and I'm just going to make stuff happen because I can.
He's got some Mahomes in him. I'm not saying he's going to be Patrick Mahomes. But I will say the 2024 draft, first pick, Caleb Williams, second pick, Drake May. Congratulations to those two teams.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah, we don't need Mel Kuiper for this one.
PAT FORDE: No, we do not.