It has not been a strong season for the #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1; 6-1 in SEC play) as they have struggled in heavily favored games like Florida, LSU, and Arkansas. They have problems all season with their offensive line and secondary as they allowed more big plays from the opposing teams than made the big plays. Alabama is still one of the top teams in the nation, playing in the SEC Conference Championship, and remains in a prime spot of another appearance in the College Football Playoffs. The player that is leading to another potential playoff appearance through many obstacles is sophomore quarterback Bryce Young.
In 11 games this season, Young has thrown for 264-of-368 completions for 3,584 yards, 38 touchdowns, only three interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 186. He has also rushed for two rushing touchdowns this season. In 11 games this season, Young has thrown for at least two touchdowns. Young is tied for second in the nation in touchdowns thrown, third in quarterback ratings, and sixth in passing yards thrown. Young's arm strength, excellent play processing with receiver routes and coverage schemes, accuracy, and elusiveness in escaping pressure makes him one of the nation's most efficient and dangerous quarterbacks.
While Young has had great performances in his first season as a starter, he hasn't had a Heisman moment until last Saturday at home against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Alabama faced one of the most well-balanced defenses they have faced all season in Arkansas. They have a terrific rush defense with their defensive line and linebacker and their pass defense with their efficient man coverage secondaries.
Young had his Heisman moment on Saturday against an aggressive and efficient Razorbacks team. Young passed for 31-of-40 completions for 559 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions, a QBR of 95.4, and a quarterback rating of 236.1. He consistently found lighter coverage schemes as he was able to throw the ball in the smallest windows so that the defensive backs could not break up the pass. He did so while escaping pressure constantly from the blitz-heavy defense of Arkansas. Young shattered the single-game passing record of 484 yards set by Scott Hunter in 1969.
Alabama needed every fantastic pass possible to defeat Arkansas by one possession as the Tide made almost too many game-changing mistakes. The defense of Alabama allowed Arkansas to account for 468 total yards of offense, with 358 coming from the arm of sophomore K.J. Jefferson. The secondary of Alabama found themselves beat constantly. Arkansas senior wide receiver Treylon Burks burned Tide senior cornerback Josh Jobe. The offensive line for Alabama allowed four sacks on Young and eight tackles from loss from the defense of Arkansas. There were several drops by the top Alabama receivers, and tight end Cameron Latu fumbled the ball just short of the end zone.
Young is putting up significant numbers and efficient performances for Alabama despite some critical errors that would make any other team lose their second season. He is considered a Heisman Trophy favorite because of his consistent passing and now his Heisman Trophy. If he has two more fantastic performances next Saturday on the road versus Auburn in the Iron Bowl and #1 Georgia in the SEC Championship game, Young could be the fourth Alabama player to win the Heisman Trophy, all under head coach Nick Saban.