Skip to main content

Should Bryce Young be up for the Heisman Trophy? All Things CW

A look at how the Alabama quarterback's numbers compare to a year ago when he captured college football's most prestigious honor.

The All Things CW notes column by Christopher Walsh will appear in five parts this week, one each day as the Alabama Crimson Tide prepares to host Auburn for the Iron Bowl.

This is ...

Take 2

The Heisman Trophy race is coming down toward the end sans a clear frontrunner, although USC quarterback Caleb Williams is the flavor of the week, while Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud seems to be the guy everyone wants to put on his or her top-three ballot, but maybe not first. At least not yet.  

The reigning winner of the award, of course, is Bryce Young, the first quarterback in Alabama Crimson Tide history to win college football's most prestigious honor. 

His bid to be the second repeat winner (joining Archie Griffin) hit a couple of snags this season, including a pair of losses on the final play when Young was left watching helplessly on the sideline, and a shoulder injury that cost him a game and then still left him somewhat limited. 

The numbers reflect that and more. 

Since Young wears No. 9, here are nine statistical categories, comparing what he did during his Heisman year, and this season so far. 

Avoiding sacks

This is the area with the most improvement, as the Alabama line has been clearly better in pass protection. A year ago, Young took 39 sacks for 275 yards, which averaged out to 2.6 per game and 18.3 yards.

This season he's at 1.6 per game for 11.3 yards. 

Completion percentage

Young is at 63.8 percent this season, compared to 66.9 percent in 2021.

On average, he was 24.4-for-36.5 last season. He's 21.0-for-32.9, so Young's had fewer opportunities. 

It's meant fewer yards, as well. He's averaging 58.4 fewer passing yards, from 324.8 per game last season to 266.4. 

It basically translates to two deep completions or big gains.

Overall Passer Rating

Young finished with a 167.5 efficiency rating last season, and it dipped after he won the Heisman thanks to a 143.2 rating against Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl, and 114.6 against Georgia in the National Championship Game.

So far he's at 153.5 this season. 

November numbers

Young suffered his shoulder injury in October and didn't play against Texas A&M. Consequently, he went from 1,329 passing yards in the month last year, to 877.

But November is crunch time in college football, and while Young still has a game to play against Auburn, the numbers reflect just how big of a lingering setback he sustained.

2021: 101-for-151, 1,448 yards, 66.9 percent, 9.6 average, 14 touchdowns, 1 interception, 79 longest, 16 sacks, 176.7 rating.

2022: 64-for-108, 758 yards, 59.3 percent, 7.0 average, 6 touchdowns, 1 interception, 65 longest, 8 sacks, 134.7 rating

Red-zone passing

Scroll to Continue

Read More

In 2021, Young was 41-for-62 for 304 yards, with 20 touchdowns and one interception on throws inside the opposing 20. He had a completion percentage of 66.1 percent, and a passer rating of 201.5.

This season he's 27-for-49 for 206 yards, with 17 touchdowns and two interceptions. His completion percentage is 55.1 percent, and his rating is 196.7. 

Third-down passing

This is the stat that a lot of people thought separated Young from the competition last season. Not only did his completion percentage go up on third downs (71.7 percent compared to 68.5 on first down and 65.0 on second), but his passer rating did as well.

Despite having four passes picked off on third downs in 2021, his rating was 205.2, up from 161.2 on first downs, and 168.7 on second downs.

This season, Young's completion percentage is the lowest on third downs (56.2 percent), but his passer rating is the highest at 167.8.

Why? Because he has nine touchdown passes and no interceptions on third downs this season. 

Touchdown/interceptions ratio

Young averaged 6.7 touchdowns per pick off in 2021. So far this season he's at 6.0. 

Remember, though, that three of Young's interceptions last season came in the College Football Playoff, after he had already won the Heisman. When the voting took place, he was averaging 14.3 touchdowns per interception. 

Home vs. away

In 2021, Young had a completion percentage of 73.3 at home, and 61.0 on the road. His passer rating went from 192.5 at Bryant-Denny Stadium, to 153.4 on the road.

Such dips are common.

This season his completion percentage is 67.4 at home, and 61.2 on the road — which is pretty remarkable considering where the Crimson Tide has played this season. His passer rating, though has been 20 points down across the board, 178.6 at home, compared to 134.7 on road games.

That's where the fewer yards and not being able to attack downfield as much come into play. 

Finally, the one that may be the most telling because it's the only situation that's pretty much uniform: 

First downs 

2021: 113-for-165, 1,390 yards, 68.5 percent, 8.4 average, 11 TDs, 0 interceptions, 81 longest 11 sacks, 161.2 rating 

2022: 93-for-132, 1,086 yards, 70.5 percent, 8.2 average, 7 TDs, 2 interceptions, 50 longest, 6 sacks, 154.0 rating

In one respect, it's extremely impressive to see the kind of numbers that Young has posted with the revamped receiving corps that finally may be coming together, especially considering his shoulder issues. 

It also serves as testimony for how much Young has missed his top two wide receivers from a year ago, Jameson Williams and John Metchie III.

However, heading into what's probably his final game at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Young's simply not posting Heisman-worthy statistics.

A standout performance against Auburn might get him back to New York as a finalist, but chances are he's going to be congratulating one of the other quarterbacks with a California connection.  

See Also:

Biggest Rivalry Really Not Up for Debate, Alabama-Auburn

Get your Crimson Tide tickets from SI Tickets HERE.