Tuesday, December 22, 2009
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: Hall vs. Canfield
By Ted Miller
Experience at quarterback, coaches will tell you, is about as important as anything, and both BYU and Oregon State have that well covered heading into the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas tonight.
Max Hall and Sean Canfield lead potent passing attacks heading into the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
Experience? BYU's Max Hall has won 31 games, more than any other previous BYU quarterback. And there have been a lot of good ones.
Oregon State's Sean Canfield isn't exactly a rookie. He'll be making his 24th start against the Cougars.
That experience probably means neither figures to get rattled.
"The chances of rattling [Hall] are tough," Beavers coach Mike Riley said. "You're talking about a guy who has been through a lot in his career and played a lot and has been productive as heck. It's just like we said with Sean. The best thing that happened for Sean is to play for a long time in one stretch and grow and gain the confidence."
Quarterbacks -- duh -- are always important, but these two are their offenses' engine, though Hall is probably a bit more critical to the Cougars.
Who has the edge?
Hall finished ranked third in the nation in passing efficiency. Canfield ranked 15th. It's fair to counter, however, that Canfield faced more talented secondaries in the Pac-10.
Canfield completed 70 percent of his passes for 3,103 yards and 21 touchdowns with six interceptions. Hall completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,368 yards with 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Those interceptions might catch your eye, but Hall only threw four in the final seven games.
Both pass defenses are questionable. Oregon State ranked 60th in the nation in pass efficiency defense; BYU was 40th. The Beavers will be missing starting cornerback Tim Clark, while the Cougars will have a speed disadvantage in the secondary.
Neither defense had a lot of sacks in 2009. BYU ranked 53rd in the nation with 24; Oregon State 106th with just 15. BYU's offense gave up 21 sacks, which ranked 54th in the nation. Oregon State surrendered 29, which is 87th.
Both quarterbacks have help. Canfield has the Rodgers brothers, receiver James and running back Jacquizz. Hall has All-American tight end Dennis Pitta and running back Harvey Unga.
So, who has the edge?
Too close to call. The game sets up as though both offenses will move the ball well and both quarterbacks will have time to distribute the ball to their playmakers.
Canfield's key is to get the ball to the Rodgers brothers in space so they can stress the Cougars with their speed and elusiveness.
Hall didn't play terribly well in the Cougars rivalry-game victory over Utah to conclude the season -- he completed just 12 of 32 passes -- but he kept his cool and threw the game-winner in overtime. He needs to stay in rhythm and take what the defense gives him.
Both veteran quarterbacks figure to play well. The one who plays better, however, likely will lead the winning team.