The Heisman Race, Week 9: CJ Stroud, Hendon Hooker creating two-man race

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Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud throws a touchdown pass against Iowa during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Each week, we’ll track the race for this year’s Heisman Trophy, awarded to the best player in college football, along with each contender’s odds and a look at who they face this week.

(Odds from Caesars Sportsbook)

Week 9

C.J. STROUD

Ohio State • QB • So.

HIS CASE: For a half on Saturday, Stroud looked pedestrian against a very good Iowa defense, completing 10 of 17 passes for 95 yards. Then, his first pass of the second half was intercepted. Suddenly, the Heisman front-runner looked like a mere mortal. But the rest of the day was exquisite: 10-of-12 passing, 191 yards, four touchdowns, and quite simply, if Stroud continues to respond like that, the trophy is his.

ODDS: -105

THIS WEEK: Saturday at No. 13 Penn State (Noon, FOX)

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HENDON HOOKER

Tennessee • QB • Sr.

HIS CASE: Hooker passed his first big test with flying colors, going toe-to-toe with last year’s winner, Alabama’s Bryce Young, and beating the Crimson Tide. After a brief respite against UT-Martin (304 total yards, three TDs in less than a half), it’s time for two more spotlight games: Home against No. 19 Kentucky, then the big one at No. 1 Georgia. If Hooker can come up big in these two, the race with Stroud will be on.

ODDS: +200

THIS WEEK: Saturday at No. 19 Kentucky (7 p.m., ESPN)

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CALEB WILLIAMS

USC • QB • So.

HIS CASE: The Heisman race is taking on a distinctive Big Ten vs. SEC flavor, but if there’s an injury or either Stroud or Hooker should cool off, Williams is well positioned. He has 19 touchdowns passing, three more rushing and just one interception, and USC’s upcoming schedule — starting with Arizona’s soft defense in a possible shootout — provides ample opportunities to pad those numbers even further.

ODDS: +1100

THIS WEEK: Saturday at Arizona (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network)

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ON THE RADAR: Blake Corum, Michigan RB (+1200); Bryce Young, Alabama QB (+2500); Bo Nix, Oregon QB (+2500); Drake Maye, North Carolina QB (+3000); Four tied at +4000 (Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders, TCU QB Max Duggan, Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman, Georgia QB Stetson Bennett).

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