Can Bryce Young power Alabama past Georgia and strengthen his Heisman case?

Sophomore Bryce Young will be the starter for Alabama in Athens this coming Saturday. He’s not expected to put up huge numbers, but he’ll have a chance to prove his skills and possibly boost his Heisman candidacy with an upset win over Georgia. Regardless of the result, if it happens at all, don’t expect any changes for the Crimson Tide on their next few games against LSU and Auburn.,

The “bryce young stats” is a question that many are wondering. Will Bryce Young power Alabama past Georgia and strengthen his Heisman case?

Can Bryce Young power Alabama past Georgia and strengthen his Heisman case?

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young finally got his “Heisman moment” last Saturday in the Iron Bowl, after a season replete with flashy numbers and jaw-dropping heroics. With 1:35 left in regulation and a seven-point deficit against Auburn, he took over with the ball backed up against his own goal line and calmly marched the team 97 yards down the field in 12 plays, culminating by a beautiful 28-yard over-the-shoulder lob to Ja’Corey Brooks in the end zone.

Young hit John Metchie III in the chest for a successful 2-point conversion four overtimes later to finish up the comeback and keep Alabama’s prospects of making the College Football Playoff alive. Afterward, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban praised Young’s mental toughness, saying that he was someone the teammates believed in.

“He’s got a lot of guts about him,” Saban observed, a high compliment coming from someone who grew up in a West Virginia coal mining community.

However, context was lost in the postgame celebrations and hurry to name Young the Heisman Trophy winner this year.

Apart from a football game, Young did not win anything on Saturday night. In a Heisman race as tight as this one, he took a gamble and pushed himself on the stage as the -200 favorite.



November 28, 2023 — CBS Sports (@CBSSports)

But, in order to complete the task and earn the award, he must overcome the finest defense in recent memory and defeat No. 1 rated Georgia in the SEC championship game on Saturday.

Consider the drive at Auburn once again to get a sense of the magnitude of the endeavor. Who wasn’t on the field was lost in the midst of those 12 plays and 97 yards. Alabama’s leading receiver, Jameson Williams, was in street clothes after being ejected for targeting in the first half; Alabama’s leading rusher, Brian Robinson Jr., was out with a lower body injury sustained midway through the fourth quarter; and two of Alabama’s starting offensive linemen, center Darrian Dalcourt and right tackle Damieon George Jr., were benched at halftime. What transpired before that drive was even more masked: Alabama had just 2 running yards in the first half and the offensive line allowed seven sacks, the most it has allowed since the 2014 Sugar Bowl.

Young wasn’t simply the offense’s leader; he was the offense. In Jordan-Hare Stadium, it was all on his shoulders, the climax of events that had been developing all season.

It wasn’t simply the seven sacks versus Auburn that were a problem. Since giving up 10 tackles for loss in the season opener against Miami, the offensive line has been subpar. On 30.9 percent of attempted throws, it has allowed pressure, while Alabama rushers have gained zero or negative yards on 26.0 percent of attempts. Last season, those percentages were 25.6 percent and 18.2 percent, respectively.

Robinson has been a vital feature back who has exceeded the line blocking for him, but with Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams out, he is one of just two scholarship running backs available, and he is starting to show some wear and tear. Robinson averaged 5.42 yards per run and avoided 17.2 percent of tackles over his first six games. He’s averaged 4.45 yards per rush and avoided 10.7% of tackles in the six games since then. He’s now suffering with a lower-body issue that might keep him out of the Georgia game.

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While Williams is unlikely to be dismissed for targeting again this season, his absence in the second half against Auburn highlighted how reliant the passing game had grown on him. The days of DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, and Jaylen Waddle terrorizing secondary players are long gone. Metchie is a capable possession receiver, but he lacks the type of top-end speed that makes safeties nervous. The No. 3 receiver, Slade Bolden, is averaging just two receptions per game.

All-SEC tight end in preseason Jahleel Billingsley was intended to be the kind of guy offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien could shift about and create mismatches with, but he hasn’t been reliable, either because he’s been stranded on the sideline or because he’s been withdrawn after dropping 14.8 percent of throws thrown his way.

There hadn’t been a young receiver who had stepped up in a major manner until Brooks’ game-tying score against Auburn.

“Hands down, Williams is the difference-maker for them,” one SEC assistant who faced Alabama stated. “I don’t believe they’ll have anybody like they had in the past without him.”

Georgia coach Kirby Smart praised Alabama’s receivers, but said Young, a “great athlete, player, and decision-maker,” is “what truly pushes them over the top.”

Young has completed 68.9% of his throws for 3,901 yards, 40 touchdowns, and just four interceptions in 12 games. He’s also scored two touchdowns on the ground.

“What he doesn’t get enough credit for is his skill set to distribute the ball, make guys miss, and set up rushers when the play breaks down,” Smart said. “He’s a point guard, an outstanding point guard with the ability to distribute the ball.”

“When he’s dribbling down the court,” he said, indicating to his left, “he has the potential to throw it over there,” he added, gesturing to his right, “and then he can make you miss.”


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