Hey buddy, can you spare a QB?

September, 22, 2008
9/22/08
8:17
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

It seems like UCLA would have the best QB sob story this season -- "Hey, man, we lost our first two QBs on consecutive non-contact plays in spring practice!" -- but Oregon coach Mike Bellotti and Washington State's Paul Wulff might share a supportive hug over their travails during their pregame chat this weekend.

Oregon's QB woes (curse?) are well-chronicled. For the second consecutive year, the Ducks are answering the question: Just how many QBs do most Division I-A teams have?

When freshman Darron Thomas took off his redshirt and led a spirited comeback that ultimately fell short for the Ducks, he became the fifth QB the Ducks have used this season.

Meanwhile, Washington State saw its Nos. 1 and 2 QBs go down to injury against Portland State.

First, Kevin Lopina was lost to a shoulder bruise and is questionable for this weekend. Then hard-luck Gary Rogers saw his season end with a fractured vertebra.

Rogers, a fifth-year senior, waited patiently behind Alex Brink for three seasons and began the year as the starter but lost his job when the offense floundered in the early-going.

Now his career is over.

Both the Ducks and the Cougars, however, got inspired play from their youngsters previously sitting on the end of the bench.

Cougars redshirt freshman Marshall Lobbestael, who'd thrown only two previous passes, hurled TD tosses of 14 and 53 yards on his first two attempts -- the technical term for that is "good start" -- and ended up completing 9 of 12 for 149 yards. WSU scored on his first four possessions and he earned Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week.

And considering how things are going for the Cougars, it's hard to imagine he won't get the start when the Ducks come calling.

Oregon got a little of the same from Thomas, who pass for three fourth-quarter TDs in the loss to Boise State.

It appears the Ducks will start Jeremiah Masoli, a first-year JC transfer who went down with a concussion -- suffered on a late hit -- against Boise State. Justin Roper is sill probably a week or two away from returning from his knee injury. True freshman Chris Harper is a good runner, but a nagging shoulder injury is damaging his ability to throw.

So Thomas, Mr. No. 5, is now in the picture.

And to all you former high school QBs presently students at Oregon and Washington State: if you ever thought about walking on, now might be the time.

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