2023 Heisman Watch: Michael Penix Jr., Shedeur Sanders on the rise

Week 3 of the college football season was filled with plenty of highlight performances, including another record-setting showing by Washington signal-caller Michael Penix Jr.

While Penix Jr. and the Huskies took care of business against Michigan State, Shedeur Sanders put on a passing clinic of his own in Colorado‘s thrilling 43-35 win over rival Colorado State in double overtime.

Meanwhile, USC QB Caleb Williams, who is the reigning Heisman winner and the early-season favorite to win it again this year, enjoyed some rest as his Trojans had a bye.

Let’s take a look at how the Heisman favorites performed in Week 3 and how that could shake up the odds next week.

1. Caleb Williams, QB, USC: +400

Williams and the Trojans had a bye this week.

Next: The Trojans host Arizona State on Sept 23.

T2. Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington: +900

Just when you thought Penix’s numbers couldn’t get any better, he turned around and delivered a masterpiece in Washington’s 41-7 blowout of Michigan State on Saturday. The talented senior QB completed 27 of 35 passes for a jaw-dropping 473 yards and four touchdowns in three quarters of work. Through three games this season, Penix is completing 74.3% of his passes while averaging 444 yards and four touchdown passes per contest. He joins Patrick Mahomes, Graham Harrell and Anthony Gordon as the only QBs in the last 20 years to throw for 400 yards and three touchdowns in each of his team’s first three games.

Next: The Huskies host Cal on Sept. 23.

T2. Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State: +900

Travis and the Seminoles struggled in a narrow 31-29 win over Boston College. The senior signal-caller completed 16 of 24 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding 38 yards on the ground. Following an impressive showing in FSU’s Week 1 win over LSU, Travis has come back down to earth in his past two starts. He was shaken up on a play right before halftime but was able to return to the field and play the entire second half.

Next: The Seminoles take on Clemson on the road on Sept. 23.

T2. Quinn Ewers, QB, Texas: +900

Following a memorable showing in the Longhorns’ win over Alabama in Week 2, Ewers had a quiet game in Texas’ 31-10 win over Wyoming on Saturday. The redshirt sophomore QB only threw 21 passes in the victory, completing 11 of them for 131 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Ewers also added a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, which helped put the game away for good.

Next: The Longhorns take on Baylor on Sept. 23.

5. J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan: +1600

After playing back-to-back near-flawless games to open the 2023 season, McCarthy struggled in Michigan’s 31-6 win over Bowling Green on Saturday. The talented junior QB was 8-of-13 for 143 yards and two touchdowns, but he threw a career-high three interceptions. McCarthy only threw five interceptions all year during the 2022 campaign. Both of McCarthy’s TD passes came on big plays. He had a 33-yard pass to Roman Wilson late in the second quarter to put the Wolverines ahead 14-6 and then added a 50-yard TD pass to Cornelius Johnson on a flea flicker midway through the third quarter.

Next: The Wolverines host Rutgers on Sept. 23.

J.J. McCarthy connects with Roman Wilson for a 33-yard touchdown

6. Sam Hartman, QB, Notre Dame: +1700

Hartman continues to shine in his first season at Notre Dame. The Wake Forest transfer was outstanding in the Fighting Irish’s 41-17 win over Central Michigan on Saturday, completing 16 of 26 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. Hartman also added a rushing touchdown in the victory, his second of the season. The sixth-year signal-caller spread the ball around, completing passes to nine different receivers in the win. His Heisman candidacy could get a big boost next weekend as the Irish take on Ohio State in a top-10 showdown.

Next: Hartman and the Fighting Irish host No. 6 Ohio State on Sept. 23.

7. Shedeur Sanders, QB, Colorado: +1800

Following back-to-back impressive outings to open the season, Sanders worked his way into the top-10 Heisman favorites heading into a Week 3 matchup against rival Colorado State. After getting off to a slow start, Sanders turned it on in the second half and overtime, leading a 98-yard drive to tie the game with 36 seconds remaining to force overtime. Sanders was outstanding in both overtimes, leading the Buffaloes to touchdown drives on each of their possessions in a thrilling 43-35 win over the Rams. Sanders finished the game 38-of-47 for 348 yards and four touchdowns.

Next: The Buffaloes travel to Oregon to take on the Ducks on Sept. 23.

T8. Bo Nix, QB, Oregon: +2000

Nix and the Oregon offense continue to look unstoppable through the first three weeks of the season. The do-it-all senior QB completed 21 of 27 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns in the Ducks’ 55-10 victory over Hawaii on Saturday. Nix connected with Tez Johnson on two of his TD passes, including a 49-yard strike on Oregon’s second play of the game. Nix and the Ducks have now won 32 straight nonconference games at Autzen Stadium, the longest streak among all FBS teams.

Next: The Ducks host No. 18 Colorado on Sept. 23.

T8. Drew Allar, QB, Penn State: +2000

Allar didn’t have his best game on Saturday, but Penn State’s defense was outstanding in the Nittany Lions’ 30-13 win at Illinois. Allar completed just 16 of 33 passes for 208 yards and finished without a touchdown in the victory. The sophomore signal-caller added 24 rushing yards as the Nittany Lions totaled 164 yards and two scores on the ground.

Next: The Nittany Lions host No. 25 Iowa on Sept. 23.

RJ Young breaks down Penn State’s 30-13 win over Illinois

10. Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State: +2800

Harrison entered the Heisman conversation following his impressive showing in Ohio State’s 35-7 win over Youngstown State in Week 2. He followed that up with another outstanding game, catching five passes for 126 yards and a touchdown in the Buckeyes’ 63-10 blowout of Western Kentucky. Harrison’s touchdown catch and run was a thing of beauty as he flew past the Hilltoppers defense and turned on the jets for a 75-yard touchdown. 

Next: The Buckeyes travel to South Bend to take on No. 9 Notre Dame on Sept. 23.

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