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Heisman Trophy Odds: C.J. Stroud sensational as the Buckeyes batter the Boilermakers

Per DraftKings odds, C.J. Stroud is now the second favorite to lift the Heisman Trophy following a scorching performance to pummel Purdue.

The college football Top 25 was littered with the victims of Purdue’s impressive win streak heading into Week 11. People were even suggesting that the Boilermakers could relive their famous 2018 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes in primetime. But C.J. Stroud had other ideas. The Ohio State quarterback emerged from the battle as the biggest winner in the Heisman Trophy odds race after another phenomenal weekend of excitement across the nation.

Heisman Trophy odds following Week 11 of college football

  • Bryce Young, QB, Alabama +180
  • C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State +240
  • Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State +280
  • Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss +700
  • Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh +2500
  • Sam Hartman, QB, Wake Forest +4000
  • TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State +4000
  • Caleb Williams, QB, Oklahoma +4000
  • Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati +6000
  • Will Anderson Jr., EDGE, Alabama +8000

C.J. Stroud scorches shell-shocked Boilermakers defense

Being the starting quarterback at a high-profile program like Ohio State comes with significant expectations. After unconvincing wins over Minnesota and Tulsa sandwiched the home defeat to Oregon, those expectations appeared to have beaten Stroud, a redshirt freshman who only recently turned 20 years old.

He was even benched for the Buckeyes’ win over Akron, suggesting that Kyle McCord or even highly rated true freshman Quinn Ewers could take the reigns. However, Stroud has rebounded from his early-season setback in sensational form. We also now know that he was dealing with a shoulder injury earlier in the season. As a result of his performance on Saturday, he’s now the second favorite with DraftKings to land the Heisman Trophy with odds of +240.

Saturday’s convincing 59-31 win over Purdue was his third consecutive game with over 300 passing yards. Furthermore, Stroud threw for 5 touchdowns for the third time this season. The Ohio State quarterback has completed more than 60% of his passes in all but the season opener against Minnesota.

Statistics don’t truly convey the ruthless efficiency with which Stroud guided the Buckeyes past the Boilermakers on Saturday afternoon. George Karlaftis was rendered mainly redundant by Stroud’s mastery of the Ohio State offense. From the left hash to the right numbers, he found Garrett Wilson to open the scoring within the first five minutes. By halftime, Ohio State had opened up an unassailable 45-17 lead.

Ohio State wide receivers state their NFL Draft case

Although Stroud’s performance saw his Heisman Trophy odds slashed from +400 to +240, his wide receivers strengthened their NFL Draft stock. Chris Olave snagged 9 receptions for 85 yards and a 5-yard touchdown that capped off a 75-yard, 9-play drive that put the game to bed in the fourth quarter.

While Olave had the last laugh, it isn’t always true that he who has the last laugh laughs the loudest. Fellow WR Wilson surely secured his standing as the WR1 of the 2022 NFL Draft class with a consummate performance in Week 11. Wilson showcased his exceptional route running, his catch-point craftiness, and even displayed some speed on a 51-yard touchdown run that would make his track star teammate proud. Wilson ended the day with 177 total yards and 3 touchdowns.

Demonstrating that the future is exceptionally bright for the Buckeyes, their best receiver isn’t even eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft. Jaxon Smith-Njigba continues to cement his status as one of the best young pass catchers in the nation. The sophomore led the team with 139 receiving yards, averaged 15.4 yards per catch, and found the end zone once.

Remarkably, none of the trio appears to be in the race for college football’s biggest individual accolade, according to DraftKings. While they offer Heisman Trophy odds for wide receivers Jameson Williams (+15000), Jahan Dotson (+25000), and John Metchie III (+25000), there are none for Wilson, Olave, or Smith-Njigba.

A defensive player enters the Heisman Trophy odds race

The Georgia Bulldogs are proving that defense truly can win championships. While we may be getting slightly ahead of ourselves, there’s no denying that it will take something special from someone to stop the Bulldogs from hoisting the national championship early next year. Defense is also leading the way in the 2022 NFL Draft, with Kayvon Thibodeaux heading up a potent class of defensive playmakers.

As no quarterback grabs the Heisman Trophy race firmly by the horns, there becomes the possibility of the first defensive winner of the award since 1997. It’s universally been acknowledged that you have to be a playmaker on both sides of the ball to stand a chance. But why shouldn’t defensive players be recognized for just simply being outstanding at what they do?

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Enter Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. into the Heisman Trophy odds race. Sure, his performance this weekend was of his usual destructive nature. The Alabama outside linebacker added another 2 sacks and 2 tackles for loss to his increasingly impressive résumé. As usual, opposing offensive lines were no match for his sheer explosion, strength, and technical superiority. 

Yet, this was against New Mexico State. Without wanting to be cruel or crass, he will face more formidable opposition. And here lies the crux of the growing campaign for him to win the Heisman Trophy — Anderson has already faced tougher opposition with precisely the same level of success.

Will Anderson Jr. and Jordan Davis earn Heisman Trophy odds recognition 

So far this season, Anderson has logged 10.5 sacks — good enough for second in the nation. The Alabama star has exceeded his tackle production from his freshman season with at least two games to play. Week in, week out, he produces highlight-worthy plays that only enhance his reputation as the best defensive player in the nation.

He enters the Heisman Trophy race in Week 11 with the same +8000 odds as Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis. While Davis lacks the gaudy statistical résumé of Anderson, there is no doubting the Georgian Goliath has been as pivotal to his team’s success as any quarterback, running back, or wide receiver. Sure, Channing Tindall had 3 sacks, and Lewis Cine had 2 pass deflections on Saturday, but Davis is the beating heart of the Georgia defense. 

It’s about time these defensive monsters received their recognition, and securing their place in the Heisman Trophy odds is a sign of that. However, as has become tradition, it is their offensive counterparts that lead the way.

Bryce Young remains the Heisman Trophy odds favorite. The Alabama QB threw 5 touchdowns and completed all but 2 of his passes in a 59-3 win. Meanwhile, Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III and Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral are lurking, waiting to capitalize on any mistake in the final moments of the season.

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter @ojhodgkinson.

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