2023 Heisman Watch: Jayden Daniels’ Heisman stock rises after historic performance

Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix were listed as the Heisman favorites heading into Week 11 of the college football season, and both put up big-time numbers in victories. But as good as Penix and Nix were on Saturday, it was LSU QB Jayden Daniels who stole the show.

Daniels, who was listed at +1800 to take home this year’s Heisman Trophy heading into LSU’s matchup against Florida on Saturday, accounted for 606 total yards and five touchdowns in the Tigers’ win. He became the first quarterback in FBS history to have at least 350 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in a game.

Another SEC signal-caller, Alabama’s Jalen Milroe, also put together a historic performance on Saturday. The redshirt sophomore QB became the first player in Alabama history with three passing TDs and three rushing TDs in a game as the Tide beat Kentucky, 49-21.

Let’s take a look at how the Heisman favorites performed in Week 11, and how that could shake up the odds next week.

1. Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington: +160

Penix wasn’t at his best on Saturday, but the do-it-all senior QB still managed to put up gaudy numbers in Washington’s 35-28 win over Utah. Playing in front of a packed Husky Stadium crowd, Penix completed 24 of 42 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding a rushing score as Washington improved to 10-0 on the season. Both of Penix’s TD passes went to Rome Odunze, who finished with three catches for a game-high 111 yards. Penix has now totaled at least 300 passing yards and three touchdowns in eight of the Huskies’ 10 games this season.

Next: The Huskies take on Oregon State on Nov. 18.

Michael Penix Jr., Washington hold off Bryson Barnes, Utah

2. Bo Nix, QB, Oregon: +180

It was another impressive outing for Nix, who continues to make his case for this year’s Heisman Trophy. The senior QB was poised and efficient from start to finish Saturday, completing 23 of 31 passes for 412 yards and four touchdowns in Oregon’s 36-27 win over USC. This marked the first time Nix topped the 400-yard passing mark this season and the third time he has thrown for four TDs in a contest. 

Next: The Ducks battle Arizona State on Nov. 18.

3. Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State: +850

Travis and the Seminoles took another step closer to an undefeated season and a trip to the College Football Playoff with a 27-20 win over Miami on Saturday. The talented senior signal-caller threw for 265 yards and a touchdown as Florida State improved to 10-0 on the year and 8-0 in ACC play. Travis’ touchdown pass came early in the fourth quarter when he connected with Keon Coleman on a 6-yard fade. Through 10 games, Travis has completed 64% of his passes for 2,734 yards and 20 passing touchdowns.

Next: The Seminoles take on North Alabama on Nov. 18.

No. 4 Florida State beats Miami, 27-20

No. 4 Florida State beats Miami, 27-20

4. J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan: +1200

No Jim Harbaugh, no problem for McCarthy and the Wolverines. The Big Ten banned Harbaugh from coaching in Michigan’s three remaining regular-season games, which included Saturday’s top-10 showdown against Penn State. But McCarthy and the Wolverines took care of business, despite being without their head coach. McCarthy didn’t stuff the stat sheet on Saturday, but the junior QB was efficient through the air and effective with his legs, completing seven of his eight pass attempts for 60 yards, while adding 34 yards on the ground. The Wolverines rushed for 227 yards, led by senior Blake Corum’s 145 yards and two scores in the win.

Next: The Wolverines take on Maryland on Nov. 18.

5. Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State: +1300

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day referred to Harrison Jr. as a “special player” and added that Ohio State will “always find a way to get him the ball.” Day and the Buckeyes did just that on Saturday, and it paid off in a big way. The talented wide receiver hauled in a game-high seven catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding a 19-yard rushing score in Ohio State’s 38-3 win over Michigan State. Harrison has topped the 100-yard receiving mark in seven of OSU’s 10 games this season.

Next: The Buckeyes take on Minnesota on Nov. 18.

6. Carson Beck, QB, Georgia: +1400

It appears that Beck and the No. 2-ranked Georgia Bulldogs are peaking at just the right time. The junior signal-caller completed 18 of 25 passes for 306 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in Georgia’s 52-17 win over No. 9 Ole Miss on Saturday. Beck hit Ladd McConkey for a 29-yard TD strike in the first quarter and then connected with standout tight end Brock Bowers for an 8-yard TD early in the fourth to help secure the Bulldogs’ 10th win of the season. Beck has now thrown for 250-plus yards and at least two touchdowns in three straight games.

Next: The Bulldogs play at Tennessee on Nov. 18.

7. Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU: +1800

What Daniels is doing out on the football field this season is simply incredible. After leaving last week’s loss to Alabama early with an injury, the senior QB came back and put on a clinic in LSU’s 52-35 win over Florida on Saturday. Daniels completed 17 of 26 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 234 yards and two more scores to become the first quarterback in FBS history to total at least 350 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in a game. Daniels accounted for 606 of the Tigers’ 701 yards in the victory. Through 10 games, Daniels has now thrown for 3,164 yards and 30 touchdowns, while rushing for 918 yards and eight scores.

Next: The Tigers take on Georgia State on Nov. 18.

T8. Jalen Milroe, QB, Alabama: +4000

It’s time to start recognizing Milroe as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. Coming off a dominant showing in Alabama’s Week 10 win over LSU, the redshirt sophomore QB was even more impressive this weekend in Alabama’s 49-21 win over Kentucky. Milroe completed 15 of 22 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns, while also adding 36 yards and three more scores on the ground. In doing so, Milroe became the first player with three passing TDs and three rushing TDs in a game in program history.

Next: The Crimson Tide take on Chattanooga on Nov. 18.

Alabama clinches the SEC West after 49-21 win over Kentucky

Alabama clinches the SEC West after 49-21 win over Kentucky

T8. Ollie Gordon II, Oklahoma State, +4000

Gordon entered Saturday’s matchup against UCF as the nation’s leading rusher. But the sophomore back was held to just 25 rushing yards on 12 carries as the Knights cruised to a 45-3 win over the Cowboys, snapping Oklahoma State’s six-game winning streak. That wasn’t the only streak that came to an end, though, as Gordon’s run of six straight 100-yard rushing games was also snapped. His 25 rushing yards marked the fewest he has had in a game since Oklahoma State’s loss to South Alabama back in Week 3.

Next: The Cowboys travel to Houston to take on the Cougars on Nov. 18.

10. Caleb Williams, QB, USC, +9000

Williams’ Heisman chances continue to fade as the USC QB was outplayed by Nix in the Trojans’ 36-27 loss to the Ducks on Saturday night. Williams, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, completed just 19 of 34 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown, while also adding a score on the ground. After totaling at least four touchdowns in each of the Trojans’ first six games this season, Williams has only reached that total once in the team’s last five games.

Next: The Trojans take on UCLA on Nov. 18.

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