Welcome back to the Jet Fuel College Quarterback Roundup series. Once again, we bring you a collection of the college game’s top quarterback prospects and how they fared in their respective games this weekend. Even though Josh McCown had a pretty good game in the New York Jets’ loss to Oakland yesterday, McCown is not the team’s future.
So here are eight guys (and some bonuses at the end) who could be the Jets’ future:
Sam Darnold (USC vs. Texas): 28-for-49, 397 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
USC knocked off Texas in two overtimes, 27-24, thanks in large part to Darnold’s leadership on the field. He threw all three of the Trojans’ touchdowns and he led them 52 yards in the final half-minute of regulation to set up the field goal that forced overtime. On the “cons” side of the page, Darnold continued his streak of throwing a pair of interceptions each game. He’s already up to six this season; he threw nine in 13 games during the 2016 campaign. What’s going on with that?
Josh Allen (Wyoming vs. Oregon): 9-for-24, 64 yards, 1 INT; 8 carries, 25 yards, rush TD
Half the NFL sent scouts to watch Allen against Oregon, according to this Associated Press report, and Allen had his worst outing of the year. In addition to throwing an interception, Allen also lost a fumble and put up a depressing 11.5 Total QBR. It calls to mind his poor outing in Wyoming’s opening game against another Power Five team, Iowa. The question going forward will be whether Allen will look better with an NFL team around him, or if he just isn’t cut out to face defenses better than those found in the Mountain West.
Josh Rosen (UCLA vs. Memphis): 34-for-56, 463 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT
Rosen put on a show in an early-afternoon game in Memphis, but a couple of costly mistakes led to interceptions (one of them a pick-six) and let the Tigers edge out the Bruins, 48-45. Of course, Rosen couldn’t do anything to stop Memphis QB Riley Ferguson. But he needs to eliminate his mistakes (not merely “limit” them) if UCLA is going to be competitive in the Pac-12.
Lamar Jackson (Louisville vs. Clemson): 21-for-42, 317 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT; 17 carries, 64 yards
Against the third-ranked team (now second-ranked) in the nation, Jackson wasn’t enough for Louisville, which lost to ACC rival Clemson, 47-21. The Tigers generated “only” four sacks and one QB hurry in a game where the constant pressure Jackson had been facing was a talking point going in. Louisville proved they won’t be able to hang with the best teams in the country this year, which was hinted at earlier this season when Jackson put the team on his back to stave off Purdue and North Carolina. On this night, Jackson completed only 50 percent of his throws, had a 27.2 QBR and was stymied overall by Clemson’s D.
Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma vs. Tulane): 17-for-27, 331 yards, 4 TD
It didn’t pack the same thrill as the Sooners’ upset of Ohio State a week ago, but Mayfield did all he needed to do to lead Oklahoma past Tulane, 56-14. “Not every game is going to be 7 at night with the whole country watching,” Mayfield told reporters. “That is up to the leaders to get everyone ready.” He’s surely referring to himself, among others, and now all that’s left to do is watch how he and his team play in Big 12 action. It’s Baylor next week, then a bye week.
Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State vs. Pittsburgh): 23-32, 497 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT
Four receivers eclipsed 100 yards for the Cowboys as Rudolph once again spread the wealth and led his team to a 59-21 win over Pitt. It was the first game OK State played against a Power Five opponent this year, but Rudolph responded by posting his highest single-game QBR of the year. Sure, it was a 97.9 rating after his first two games rated at 97.1 and 93.2, but there’s always room for improvement. You get the picture. Is anyone else looking forward to Nov. 4, when Mayfield and Rudolph face off in the Bedlam game instead of beating up on weaker opponents?
Jarrett Stidham (Auburn vs. Mercer): 32-for-37, 364 yards, 1 INT; 7 carries, 23 yards
On the one hand: Stidham was near-perfect Saturday, which is what you’re supposed to do against Mercer. Yet he threw more interceptions than touchdowns. Against Mercer. This prospect gets a pass for this week, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll hold up against Auburn’s SEC schedule, which starts next week against Missouri and gets harder the following week against Mississippi State.
Luke Falk (Washington State vs. Oregon State) 37-for-49, 396 yards, 6 TD
A week after being benched, coming back and leaving again with a minor injury, Falk returned to form and threw six touchdowns in Mike Leach’s hypercaffeinated Air Raid offense. We’ll watch him the rest of the year for sure, but one thing he’ll need to do going forward is shake off the perception that he’ll go the way of Graham Harrell, Kliff Kingsbury and even Tim Couch — all Leach-coached quarterbacks whose success didn’t translate to the pros.
Also on our radar: Jake Browning (Washington), 19-for-22, 255 yards, 4 TD vs. Fresno State… Nick Fitzgerald (Mississippi State), 15-for-23, 180 yards, 2 TD vs. LSU… Quinton Flowers (South Florida), 15-for-27, 280 yards, 4 TD, 25 carries, 106 yards, 1 rush TD vs. Illinois… Riley Ferguson (Memphis), 23-for-38, 398 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT vs. UCLA