• Back to work for the reigning Heisman winner: Williams dominated in the Trojans' 56-28 win over the Spartans in Week 0, his 90.8 passing grade ranking third among the 14 FBS quarterbacks who played.
• Another well-rounded performance: The USC quarterback earned a 93.4 passing grade when he was blitzed and threw all four touchdowns on plays when he wasn’t.
• The 2024 NFL Draft Big Board: For the full ranking of 150 players, along with their three-year player grades, position rankings and measurables, click here.
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“How can I watch the Pac-12 Network?”
If you’re a college football fan, that phrase likely has pride of place in your search history. That’s because it was the channel featuring No. 6 USC’s season-opener against San Jose State this past weekend, the channel featuring reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, the biggest star in the sport.
Williams dominated in the Trojans' 56-28 win over the Spartans in Week 0, his 90.8 passing grade ranking third among the 14 FBS quarterbacks who played. He completed 18 of his 25 attempts for 278 yards and four touchdowns, and his 87.0% adjusted completion rate trailed only Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman among the nation’s quarterbacks last week.
Williams also tossed three big-time throws across 32 dropbacks, giving him an 11.5% big-time throw rate that led all quarterbacks in the country during Week 0. He committed a turnover-worthy play, but that was due to a fumbled snap that he offset with the best throw of the weekend (on a hurt throwing hand, no less).
Making Caleb Williams’ TD pass even more absurd is that he hurt his throwing hand the play before.
Very next play, throws a ≈45-yard DIME off his back foot after fumbling the snap (which could’ve had to do with his hand)
— Max Chadwick (@MaxChadwickCFB) August 28, 2023
It really didn’t matter if San Jose State sent the house or not — Williams was going to make plays regardless. The USC quarterback earned a 93.4 passing grade when he was blitzed and threw all four touchdowns on plays when he wasn’t.
He was decidedly better when kept clean, which wasn’t necessarily the case in 2022 when Williams led all quarterbacks in the country with a 79.4 passing grade under duress. That fell to a 51.9 mark against the Spartans, though he earned a 91.1 passing grade when he wasn’t pressured.
One of the biggest questions Williams faced entering the season was if he’d get rid of the football quicker. Last season, his 3.24-second average time to throw was the highest among Power Five quarterbacks. However, he averaged 3.16 seconds in Week 0, the second-quickest among FBS quarterbacks who suited up for Week 0.
It was only one game against a relatively weak opponent, but early signs indicate that Williams could make a serious run at his second Heisman Trophy this season, something only accomplished by former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin.