Hey everybody! To start this off with a quick introduction, my name is Mark Widerschein. I'm a new contributor to Pacific Takes. I'll be looking at conference wide football topics for the most part. I'm incredibly excited to get started!
This week was another fantastic one for offenses in the Pac-12. While game results were somewhat up and down (looking at you, USC.....) Quarterback play was very solid, yet again. The conference is solid on both sides of the ball, but the star power at quarterback is impressive.
1) Kevin Hogan
Looking good against Army isn’t necessarily that surprising, but his efficient day against a decent defense was impressive. 20/28 for 216 and 4 touchdowns will definitely do it for the Cardinal, week-in, week-out.
2) Marcus Mariota
19 of 23 for 221 and two touchdowns, as well as 71 yards rushing and two touchdowns, is an awesome day. He’s yet to throw an interception, and his season completion percentage is absurd. The only reason he slots behind Kevin Hogan is that this performance is expected of him on a weekly basis. It’s probably unfair, but a very real thing.
3) Conor Halliday
The caveat of an FCS opponent notwithstanding, it’s very hard to pick apart a 41 of 62 performance, with 6 touchdowns. The interceptions are a bit concerning, but it’s clear that Halliday isn’t the problem for the struggling Cougs this season. The Air-Raid has a habit of making quarterbacks look great, and this is no exception.
4) Anu Solomon
Another efficient performance, if not mind-blowing numerically. 22 of 26 for 278 and three scores is a very solid day, even when considering the standards of Rich Rodriguez’s offense. The limitation of interceptions has also been key for him.
5) Cyler Miles
Numerically, again, not necessarily an incredible day. But the game against Illinois was locked up early enough that they didn’t necessarily need to pass at all in the second half, and his 191 yards throwing and a TD definitely did it.
6) Cody Kessler
This week was brutal for USC. The loss to Boston College has to sting, and the way it happened even more so. On the plus side, it wasn’t because of a disaster at the Quarterback position. 31 of 41 for 317 was nice, and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions was even better. The total offensive picture definitely didn’t coalesce, however, and despite good stats he never quite looked comfortable.
7) Jerry Neuheisel
Jerry Neuheisel, coming in cold as a backup, definitely gets the honorable mention for most unexpected performance this week. 23/30 for 178 and two touchdowns against a decently tough Texas defense was impressive to watch. Monitoring Brett Hundely’s status is probably more on the average Bruin fan’s mind, but they can rest easy knowing that the backup position is solid.
8) Taylor Kelly
Taylor Kelly’s day was a bit underwhelming, if not bad. 13/21 for 195 and three touchdowns was comparable to his first two games, against New Mexico and Weber State. If he maintains that for the season it would be a good year, but it’s hard to feel confident that he’s going to improve into the meat of the season if it wasn’t shown this week.
9) Sefo Liufau
The curious case of Sefo Liufau. On one hand, he doesn’t exactly have an incredible amount of support as far as offensive weapons. There are some nice players, but Colorado’s skill players don’t wow. So through that lens, 31 of 46 for 278 and three touchdowns is a good week. But on the other hand, it will take a herculean individual effort for Colorado to get over the bowl hump. So he gets a potentially unfair bump down.
The thing about this ranking is that not one of these QBs had a definitively bad day, making it quite hard to rank. But, we toil on!
Tune in next week for another review of Pac-12 quarterbacking!