Second-time starters look ahead to Week 2
September, 5, 2012
By Kevin Gemmell | ESPN.com
Given the competition the four first-time starting quarterbacks were facing last week, the fact that all four came out winners wasn't exactly an anomaly. But it's still a positive sign for those programs and a good indication that maybe the coaches made the right call in selecting Brett Hundley, Marcus Mariota, Josh Nunes and Taylor Kelly as the starters. Here's a look at how they did in Week 1 and what's coming up in Week 2.
Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
- Week 1 wrap: Kelly went 15-of-19 (78.9 percent) for 247 yards with a touchdown in a 63-6 win over Northern Arizona. The Sun Devils did the bulk of their damage on the ground with seven rushing touchdowns. Kelly also ran the ball six times for 43 yards. He was efficient and he protected the ball -- a big plus with coach Todd Graham. Worth noting also that Michael Eubank saw some time with seven carries for 36 yards and a touchdown. He also was 1-of-1 for 2 yards.
- Up next: The heat gets turned up on the Sun Devils this week with Illinois coming to town (and again the week after with the first road trip of the year to Missouri). And by the way, Illinois has the top rushing defense in the country (at least statistically) through the first week of the season "allowing" minus-6 yards per game. Granted, it was Western Michigan, but we'll get a better feel for what Kelly is capable of this week.
- Graham says: "We didn't face so much adversity, but that's going to change this week. We're going to have a challenge this week. They blitzed a lot, they were a pressure team. I learned what I knew about him was true. Very poised, doesn't get rattled, takes care of the ball and manages the game and makes good decisions. That's all he's done since spring."
- Week 1 wrap: Mariota was a very crisp 18-of-22 for 200 yards and three touchdowns -- and the fact that the Ducks got to schedule nap time for the starters between halves helped. Of the four first-time starters, he looked the most consistent and rightfully earned the praises of head coach Chip Kelly.
- Up next: Fresno State has to be weeping quietly in a corner after watching film of Oregon last week. The Bulldogs only allowed 10 points last week, but that was Weber State. It will be interesting to see if Mariota makes it to the third quarter this week.
- Kelly says: "I thought Marcus did a good job -- a real good job in decision making, was accurate in his throws. He missed one protection check, but overall for a first game I thought it was good ... We don't take into account you're a first-year starter. We grade all of our quarterbacks the same way, whether you went in in the fourth quarter or you started the game."
- Week 1 wrap: We're still not 100 percent sure what we're getting with Nunes since, by head coach David Shaw's own admission, the Cardinal had a pretty conservative, pretty vanilla attack. His touchdown pass to Drew Terrell looked awful pretty, but there isn't much to be learned from his 16-of-26 performance for 125 yards.
- Up next: My best guess is the Cardinal won't open up the playbook much this week against Duke if they don't have to and they'll break out the private reserve for when USC comes to town in Week 3. Nunes would benefit from a stronger rushing attack and better offensive line execution, which was surprisingly lacking in Week 1.
- Shaw says: "He graded out very well. Josh got us to the right plays. We were relatively conservative early in the game and he executed the game plan and did well."
- Week 1 wrap: Against an overmatched Rice squad, Hundley went 21-of-28 for 202 yards with a pair of touchdowns and one interception. He also ran seven times for 68 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown. At times, he looked like a poised starter. At others, well, a redshirt freshman. But overall it was a very positive debut.
- Up next: Nebraska -- which brings a much tougher defense than the one Hundley faced last week. Rice wasn't very aggressive with its pressure, but Nebraska will bring as many as six guys on one play. We know he can run, and he might be on the move more this week. Head coach Jim Mora said he expects to learn more about his team after Nebraska.
- Mora says: "We saw a young, developing quarterback who made some good decisions and then had some plays he'll be able to grow from and learn from. He showed poise and confidence and the ability to run the football as things broke down."