Whos the Pac-12s top Quarterback?

9/19/13 in NCAAF   |   Andrew_Ericksen   |   230 respect

Sep 14, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota before the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY SportsLast Saturday featured some big showings from the Pac-12.  From UCLA’s second-half explosion against Nebraska in Lincoln to Oregon’s onslaught of Tennessee to Arizona State’s strange two-point victory over Wisconsin, it was overall an extremely positive weekend for the Pac-12.  The conference went 9-2 overall.  California’s loss to Ohio State and Utah’s overtime loss to fellow Pac-12 team Oregon State were the conferences only two losses.
 
This week’s slate is highlighted by a matchup between Arizona State and Stanford, while the conference’s top dogs Oregon are on a bye.
 
Overall, it’s hard to argue against the Pac-12 right now as the second strongest conference in the nation.  With Oregon in the NCAA’s top class, and Stanford and UCLA right on their heels, we should have some exciting football out west this year.
 
Usually when you hear the word words “Pac-12” (or formerly “Pac-10”) and “Quarterback” used together in a phrase, your gut reaction may be to think of USC’s quarterback history: Barkley, Sanchez, Leinart, Palmer.  But this year, the Pac-12’s top hurlers come from elsewhere.
 
Oregon State was a few mistakes away from dropping to 1-2 on the young season.  In their 51-48 victory on the road against Utah, the Utes gave them all they could handle.  Luckily, Junior Sean Mannion was up to the challenge.  Despite the influx of dual-threat or run-first quarterbacks around the nation and through the Pac-12 even, Mannion is as classic a quarterback you’ll find these days.  The last two seasons, Mannion struggled with turnovers and even though Oregon State finished a respectable 9-4 last year, there was much room for improvement in Mannion’s overall output.  He threw for 2,446 yards with 15 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions with a completion percentage of 64.7% in 8 games (he had something of a time share with QB Cody Vaz).  Through 3 games this season, Mannion has thrown for 1,237 yards with a Pac-12 leading 12 touchdowns and only 1 interception while completing 72.5% of his passes.  The biggest tests of the year are still on the horizon with Stanford, Oregon, Washington and Arizona State all on the back half of the schedule, but the 6’5” native of Pleasanton, California is off to a hot start for the Beavers.
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