Friday, November 15, 2013
How Hundley, Price handle pressure
By Gil Bransford
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Despite facing heavy pressure, Brett Hundley has led UCLA to a 7-2 record this season.
Washington heads to Pasadena to take on the UCLA Bruins at 9 p.m. ET tonight on ESPN2 in a matchup of two quarterbacks looking to thrive under pressure.
Since the start of last season, UCLA’s Brett Hundley has been sacked an FBS-high 72 times, while Washington’s Keith Price ranks second with 60.
Even when opponents don’t sack Hundley and Price, they have been able to pressure the quarterbacks. Among BCS AQ (automatic-qualifying) quarterbacks, Price has been pressured (hurried or knocked down) more than any other player since the start of last season. Hundley ranks third with 192 total pressures in that time.
UCLA and Washington have struggled to win when they can’t protect their quarterbacks. The two teams are 8-11 when they allow opponents to pressure their quarterbacks at least 10 times.
When Price and Hundley were pressured on fewer than 10 dropbacks in a game, they have a combined 21-5 record.
How Hundley and Price have adapted
Hundley has countered the pressure by becoming a threat to run. He has 685 rush yards on scrambles since the start of last season, the second most of any AQ quarterback behind only Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Hundley has averaged 7.0 yards per carry on such runs and has 22 rushes that gained at least 10 yards.
Price has used play action to slow opposing pass rushers, who must be wary of the Pac-12’s rushing leader, Bishop Sankey. Price is completing a Pac-12 best 78.9 percent of his play-action passes and 12 touchdowns, second most of any AQ quarterback behind Oregon State’s Sean Mannion.
When Price has time to pass, he has been productive, with a 71.2 opponent-adjusted QBR this season compared to a 48.3 opponent-adjusted QBR in 2012.