This week was as newsworthy as it gets for quarterbacks in the Pac-12, both good and bad. We saw Heisman candidacies strengthened, Pac-12 records broken, and even the end of a fantastic career. It was truly high drama at its very best.
1) Marcus Mariota, Oregon
For a little while there, it really looked like Oregon was done, and Mariota’s Heisman candidacy was going down with them. That was apparently rather overdramatic. 343 all-purpose yards against the Stanford defense is astonishing. He still only has two interceptions on the season, and it’s hard to imagine anyone is playing better than him this year.
2) Cody Kessler, USC
400 yards and 5 touchdowns to no interceptions is a great stat-line against any defense, even the mediocre Washington State pass defense. That brings Kessler to 25 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions on the season. If the Trojans hadn’t lost that head scratcher at Boston College, what might we be saying about Kessler and the Trojans right now? His stats compare favorably to any quarterback in the country, and playing on a team that lost two close games to ranked teams is a different animal than a three loss team.
3) Brett Hundley, UCLA
Brett Hundley is somehow singlehandedly keeping the Bruins alive in the Pac-12 race, and it’s truly impressive to watch. 189 yards passing and 131 rushing is a great day, especially in a must-win game against a very good Arizona team. The odds to win the South still aren’t necessarily great, but they are still playing for everything.
4) Sean Mannion, Oregon State
It’s been a while since Mannion has appeared in these ranking, as he’s had a quietly efficient year without any truly eye-popping weeks. His best passing day against an FBS opponent was finally enough to do it, with a 30-45 for 320 yard day in a rough loss to Cal. The big news this week, however, is that Sean Mannion is now the all-time passing leader in Pac-12 history, which is likely to stand for some time with the injury to Connor Halliday.
5) Cyler Miles, Washington
Miles has taken some heat from Washington fans for inconsistent performances in an inconsistent year for the Huskies, but he was nothing if not efficient in an easy win over Colorado. 13-19 for 206 and two touchdowns is a highly efficient day, with 39 rush yards tacked on for good measure.
I'd also like to use this space to mention Connor Halliday as, at the very least, an honorable mention. His career at Washington State didn't have a ton of happy moments, but he fought harder than you ever could have expected, week-in week-out. CougCenter and the rest of the Washington State blogosphere have had way more to say about this, and much better things to say, but I'll just finish with this: Connor Halliday deserved a better end to his college career. Hopefully this isn't the end, and he gets a chance at an NFL career,