Golson returns, brings winning history

AP Photo/Joe Raymond

Everett Golson is back at the helm for Notre Dame.The 2014 college football season has the potential to showcase one of the most talented groups of quarterbacks in recent memory. Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley and Bryce Petty are all being talked about as potential first-round NFL draft picks, while Braxton Miller and Everett Golson have the chance to solidify their places in their respective school’s storied histories.

In preparation for the season, and in conjunction with interviews conducted by ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN Stats & Information will take a deeper look at the top QBs entering the fall. With Everett Golson returning for the 2014 season, here are the stats to know regarding the Notre Dame quarterback.

He's a winner

Golson is 10-1 as a starter with the loss coming against Alabama in the BCS Championship. In the past four seasons, only two other quarterbacks (Winston and Mariota) had at least 10 wins as a starter in their first 11 career games. Note: Golson did not start in Notre Dame’s 41-3 win against Miami (FL), but he did take almost two-thirds of the snaps.

Golson won, but he was not the focus

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly recently said, “I would argue that Everett rode the bus to the championship,” when asked how Golson could not be the obvious starter, given that he took a team to the BCS title game.

Kelly does have a point. The 2012 Notre Dame team led the FBS in scoring defense (10.3 PPG) during the regular season. Golson, on the other hand, finished the 2012 season tied for 86th in touchdown passes (12), 73rd in passing yards (2,405) and 36th in Total QBR (67.2). In addition, Golson was subbed out in the fourth quarter with his team trailing in the final minutes of two games (Purdue and Stanford). In both games, Tommy Rees was able to rally Notre Dame to a victory, keeping the Fighting Irish’s undefeated season alive.

Golson got better as the season went on

Golson increased his Total QBR in every month during his sophomore season, and his 80.0 Total QBR after Nov. 1 ranked in the top 20 of the FBS. One reason for his improvement was that he got better in the pocket. Golson threw four touchdown passes from the pocket in his last four games, after having two in the first eight games.

Everett Golson Throws of 10+ Yards
2012 Season

Golson also improved his downfield passing. He completed 35 passes thrown 10 yards or longer in the last four games of the season, matching his total from his first eight games.

Golson adds a running threat

Golson had 220 rushing yards on scrambles and averaged 7.6 yards per attempt. Rees had a total of 5 rushing yards on scrambles the past two seasons. Golson also had six passing touchdowns on throws from outside the pocket, twice as many as Rees during the past two seasons.

How much can we expect Golson to improve this season?

On average, a player’s QBR increases about 7.5 points between his first and second seasons as a starter. Even the top players generally have their QBRs rise in their second seasons. Golson had a 67.2 Total QBR during his sophomore season. If he had increased his QBR by 7.5 points last season, he would have ranked 26th in the FBS.