Stats & Info: Everett Golson

Golson steps up his game for Irish

September, 26, 2014

Robin Alam/Icon SportswireEverett Golson has helped lead Notre Dame to at least 30 points in all 3 games this season.
It did not take Everett Golson long to show his improvement this season. In the first half of the season opener against Rice, Golson was responsible for four touchdowns and 250 yards.

He capped off the half by escaping from the pocket with five seconds left and throwing a 53-yard touchdown pass (all in the air) to C.J. Proise.

Golson has been responsible for 11 touchdowns in three games this season and ranks 13th in the FBS in Total QBR (85.3), up 23 places from his freshman season.

Golson and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota are the only FBS quarterback who have been responsible for at least 10 touchdowns and have no turnovers.

Let’s take a look at where Golson has played better this season.

Better downfield
Golson has completed 54.5 percent of his passes thrown 15 yards or longer, fourth-best among Power Five quarterbacks with at least 20 attempts.

He has had at least one such touchdown pass in all three games this season and has one fewer (four) than he had total as a freshman (five).

More efficient in pocket
Golson has been more effective throwing from the pocket this season.

His completion percentage on such throws is up almost four percentage points, and he has one fewer touchdown (five) than he had all of 2012 (six).

He is one of four Power Five quarterbacks with 75 attempts from the pocket and no interceptions.

Better under pressure
Golson has been much more effective when pressured this season.

He has been knocked down or hurried on 23 percent of his dropbacks, four percentage points higher than the Power Five average.

Yet, on such plays, he is averaging 9.7 yards per attempt, which is almost twice the Power Five average (5.0).

Golson might need to be good under pressure against a Syracuse defense that averages 4.0 sacks per game, tied with Virginia Tech for the most in the ACC.

The Orange have pressured the opposing quarterback on 28 percent of their dropbacks, five percentage points higher than the average for a Power Five school.

However, they have given up big plays on the back end. The Orange have allowed opponents to complete an ACC-worst 50.0 percent of their passes thrown 15 yards or longer.

Golson returns, brings winning history

August, 7, 2014
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.

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.

Ohio State's Braxton Miller back for 2014

August, 5, 2014
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesBraxton Miller could become Ohio State's winningest quarterback since 1960.
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 place in their respective school’s storied histories.

In preparation for the 2014 season and in conjunction with interviews conducted by ESPN CFB analyst Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN Stats & Info will take a deeper look at the top QBs entering the fall. Today, we take a look at Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.

A look back at 2013
Braxton Miller had an outstanding junior season, becoming the first player in Big Ten history (since 1990 when the award was first given) to win the Offensive Player of the Year award in consecutive seasons. He was the only Power Five conference quarterback to throw for at least 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards last year. If Miller can accomplish that feat again, he will join Colin Kaepernick and become the second FBS quarterback in the past 10 years to reach those thresholds in three seasons.

Miller has rushed for at least 100 yards in 14 games since the start of 2011, second most among FBS quarterbacks. He had five such games last season, which tied for fourth among FBS quarterbacks. Miller has always been a prolific rusher, but he’s also improved as a passer every year at Ohio State. Miller’s completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns have increased every season.

He was more willing to operate from the pocket last year. He attempted 85 percent of his passes from the pocket, nearly 20 percentage points higher than in 2012. His 19 touchdown passes from inside the pocket were tied for the most in the Big Ten with Indiana’s Nate Sudfeld and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg.

A look ahead to 2014
With another 11-win season, Miller will pass Art Schlichter for the most wins (36) on record at Ohio State (the school first kept such records in 1960). Assuming Miller stays healthy, he has a good chance of passing Schlichter.

According to the ESPN Football Power Index, Ohio State has the best chance (41 percent) of winning the Big Ten, nearly 20 percentage points better than Wisconsin, and is projected for between 10 and 11 wins heading into bowl season. The Buckeyes have won 24 consecutive regular-season games, four shy of tying the Big Ten conference record.

The Buckeyes have big shoes to fill. They must replace six of 11 starters on offense, including league-leading rusher Carlos Hyde and four starters from an offensive line that combined for 135 starts.

Miller might have to shoulder more of the load. In the past, he has stepped up when his team needed him. Miller enters 2014 with six career game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, including three last season. The six career game-winning drives are the most among returning FBS quarterbacks and five more than any other returning quarterback in the Big Ten.

One area in which Miller needs to get better is on third down. He ranked in the bottom third of the FBS in Total QBR (47.1) and completion percentage (50.9) on third down. Only Michigan’s Devin Gardner and Purdue’s Danny Etling were sacked more on third down than Miller (12) among Big Ten quarterbacks. Only two of the past 10 national championship quarterbacks have had a third-down QBR less than 70 in the season they won the title.

QBs the story in college football this fall

May, 20, 2013
The 2013 college football season could showcase one of the best college quarterback classes ever. Here are five reasons why:

Each of the top six teams in last season’s final AP poll returns its leading passer. The last time that happened was entering the 1982 season. That 1982 group led to the famed 1983 NFL draft class that boasted six quarterbacks chosen in the first round -- including Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.

Each of the top five and 10 of the top 11 quarterbacks in terms of passing efficiency return to school. In all, seven players with a passing efficiency of at least 160 last season are coming back, more than in the previous three seasons combined.

This class is expected to produce a number of NFL starting quarterbacks. Four of Todd McShay’s top 15 prospects in the 2014 draft are quarterbacks (Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Alabama’s AJ McCarron).

Yet, showing how deep this class is, Brock Huard ranks Georgia's Aaron Murray, Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Ohio State's Braxton Miller ahead of either McCarron or Manziel on his quarterback draft board.

The SEC is in prime shape to win its eighth straight national title with 11 of 14 starting quarterbacks from last season returning to school. Among the 11 are the starters of the top three teams in each division including Manziel, Murray and McCarron.

Last season, Manziel set the SEC record for total offense with 5,116 yards. Murray is on pace to set conference records for most career passing yards and total offense, and McCarron is the two-time BCS national champion.

The SEC isn’t the only conference returning elite quarterbacks. The Big Ten, Mountain West and MAC each return their first- and second-team quarterbacks from last season. So would Conference USA and the WAC if realignment hadn’t altered those conferences. The Big 12 is the only conference that doesn’t return either its first- or second-team quarterback.

Among the returnees, Boyd could challenge the ACC record for total offense in a career, Troy’s Corey Robinson is on pace to shatter the Sun Belt’s career record for total offense, and Jordan Lynch returns after leading Northern Illinois to its first ever BCS bowl game last season.

Golson, recruits key to Notre Dame's hopes

April, 19, 2013
With the college basketball season in the books, College Football Live embarked on its Spring Bus Tour, visiting eight schools. Today is the final stop, checking out the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame had a nearly perfect season that will likely be remembered best for one really imperfect night.

The Irish were unbeaten up until the BCS Championship Game, a run during which they had narrow victories over Stanford, Pittsburgh and USC.

This is the final year of Notre Dame’s full independence, as the Irish will start playing five games per year against the ACC starting in 2014. Many rivalries will end or become less frequent, including this year’s final trip to Ann Arbor before the Michigan series ends in 2014.

The Irish will lose some key players, most notably tight end Tyler Eifert and linebacker Manti Te'o.

A third straight top-10 recruiting class (No. 4 according to ESPN) includes four players in the top two at their position, most importantly No. 2 running back Greg Bryant.

Notre Dame will look to maintain a defense that was (until the BCS title game) on pace to have the lowest opponents' touchdown percentage on red zone possessions of any FBS defense in the last eight seasons.

The Irish allowed only eight red-zone touchdowns in the regular season, but yielded five to Alabama.

One of the things to watch will be the continued development of quarterback Everett Golson.

Golson completed 61 percent of his passes of 10 yards or longer in his final four games of the season. He had at least seven completions on passes of this distance in each of those games. In his first eight games, Golson had only two such games.

USC close, but Notre Dame defense closes

November, 25, 2012
Jeff Gross/Getty Images Manti Te'o joined Bob Crable as the only players in school history with three 100-tackle seasons.
USC can take credit for staying within reach of Notre Dame for 60 minutes of football, but in the end, close was just not enough.

The 22-13 win was the narrowest margin of victory for Notre Dame in a road game this season. But an early touchdown and drives good enough to produce five field goals were well supported by a defense that showed at game's end why it ranks among the best in the country in just about every notable stat.

Let’s take a snapshot look at some of the key notes, stats and nuggets for this win.

The History
Notre Dame should be the first school outside of a BCS AQ conference to play in a title game in the BCS era. It also will be the first school to be unranked in the preseason AP poll to play in the BCS title game.

The Irish recorded consecutive road wins against USC for the first time since 1990 and 1992.

The 12 wins by the Irish match their most in a season. They also won 12 in 1988 (when they last started 12-0) and 1989 (when they finished 12-1).

USC lost for the fifth time this season, the most defeats for a preseason AP No. 1 since Ole Miss went 5-5-1 in 1964.

Key drive of the game
USC was on the verge of turning this into a one-score game late in the fourth quarter, but got stymied four times on fourth-and-goal from the 1, including three straight failed runs.

This was part of what has made Notre Dame’s defense so dominant this season. The Irish allowed a total of three yards on eight “and-goal” plays and that was actually a bad game for them.

Notre Dame has held opponents to -28 yards rushing and -5 total yards in goal-to-go situations, both best in FBS.

Golson’s improvements
Freshman quarterback Everett Golson was again sharp on his lengthier throws. He finished 10-for-16 for 179 yards on throws that traveled at least 10 yards on Saturday night. This was the third straight game in which Golson completed at least 60 percent of his passes. In his first eight games, Golson completed only 44 percent of his throws of at least 10 yards.

Riddick rolls again
Notre Dame's Theo Riddick ran for 146 yards, his fourth game with at least 100 rushing yards this season. That’s the most 100-yard games for a Notre Dame player since Darius Walker had six in 2006.

Reddick rushed 15 times between the tackles for 121 yards, piling up 53 yards after contact. By comparison, USC had 18 rushes inside the tackles, but gained only 19 total yards, its second-fewest yards after contact in a game this season (it had 18 vs Stanford).

Putting his best foot forward
Kyle Brindza made five field goals, the longest of which was a 52-yarder that extended the lead to 16-10 at the half. This was only the fourth field goal try of at least 52 yards by the Irish since 2004 and the second one that was made.

The other was a 52-yarder by David Ruffer against Maryland last season.

Marqise Lee limited
Marqise Lee had a 53-yard reception in the fourth quarter, but little else. Lee, who averaged 144 receiving yards in his first 11 games of the season, finished with 75 against the Irish. His 16 yards after the catch were his fewest in any game this season.

Notre Dame looking for better QB play

April, 20, 2012

Brian Spurlock/US PresswireNotre Dame will play the 83rd Annual Blue-Gold game Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.
Optimism was high in South Bend as Notre Dame entered the 2011 season. The Fighting Irish closed the 2010 campaign riding a four-game win streak including a 33-17 victory over Miami, FL in the Sun Bowl to finish 8-5.

They were entering their second season under Brian Kelly, and in his previous bowl subdivision stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, Year 2 proved to be very fruitful (he won the Big East title at Cincinnati in his second year).

However, there was one huge question surrounding the Irish entering the fall: who would be the starting quarterback, veteran Dayne Crist or sophomore Tommy Rees? Crist won the job, but was replaced at halftime of the season opener by Rees, who remained the starter for the rest of the 2011 season.

Crist transferred to Kansas at season’s end where he reunites with Charlie Weis, the man who recruited him to Notre Dame in 2008.

While Rees threw 20 touchdown passes, he also consistently incurred the wrath of Kelly by throwing 14 interceptions. The Irish finished 8-5 for the second straight year after losing to Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl as Rees was intercepted twice and sophomore Andrew Hendrix once.

John Gress/Getty ImagesBrian Kelly will have to choose between four QB’s vying to be the starter this season.

This spring, the Irish have another quarterback derby on their hands involving juniors Rees and Hendrix, redshirt freshman Everett Golson and true freshman Gunner Kiel – ESPN’s No. 3-rated QB in the 2012 class.

Whoever wins the job will not only be counted on to produce but also to help solve Notre Dame’s biggest problem in 2011 - turnovers.

The Irish committed 29 turnovers in 2011, only outdone by nine teams in the bowl subdivision. Things were even worse in the red zone where Notre Dame turned the ball over seven times, second only to SMU in the FBS.

The quarterbacks who played (Rees, Crist and Hendrix) were responsible for 23 of the 29 turnovers (17 interceptions and six fumbles lost). Rees alone had 19 turnovers (14 interceptions, five fumbles lost).

Over the last five seasons, only six "BCS schools" had a worse red-zone turnover percentage than Notre Dame’s 5.5 percent. Only one team in the last five seasons had a worse red-zone turnover percentage and finished with a better record: 2009 Nebraska, which featured Ndamukong Suh and one of the best defenses in recent college football history.

If the Irish quarterbacks don’t take better care of the football and play more efficiently, it could be another disappointing season in South Bend.