Jeremiah Masoli: Why He's Oregon's Quarterback...for Now

Paul FulwilerCorrespondent INovember 13, 2008

It won't be long before Oregon fans have a new quarterback to boo.  It could be Darron Thomas next year, or maybe Nate Costa if he reclaims his spot.  It could even be Chris Harper.  Either way it seems highly unlikely that it will be Justin Roper.  At least it won't be this season, and looking at the numbers this becomes a little clearer.

Justin Roper and current quarterback Jeremiah Masoli are young with similar experience, even though Roper is in his third season and Masoli has only been in the system for three months.

Roper has the reputation as the better passer, and he may be, but by how much is debatable.

Following are the career numbers thus far:

Jeremiah Masoli

Passing: 86 for 164, 52.4, 914 yards, 7 TD's, 4 Int, 108.46 rating

Rushing: 89 carries for 470 yards, 5.3 avg., 3 TD's 

Justin Roper

Passing: 80 for 152, 52.6, 952 yards, 9 TD's, 6 Int, 116.75 rating

Rushing: 32 carries for 86 yards, 2.7 avg., 2 TD's

Masoli has an obvious running advantage, but the passing numbers are surprisingly similar. 

The dissimilarity is the competition, because Roper racked up his numbers against Washington, Utah State, and South Florida in a very solid blowout performance.

Masoli has face-stiffed the Pac-10 competition, and did it in on the road for four of his six conference starts, and in two rain soaked games.

At USC Masoli went 18-of-29 for 156 yards, while at WSU he went 9-of-16 for 161 yards and two scores, and at ASU he was 17-of-26 for 147 yards.

Masoli was named Pac-10 Player of the Week.

Meanwhile in Roper's first three starts of the season he threw four interceptions to just two TD's, including tossing picks in home games against both Washington and Utah State.  He threw two picks at Purdue while completing just 20 of his 47 attempts, and he was out of the game prior to Oregon's winning touchdown in overtime.

Masoli has been inconsistent and he's had some poor outings.  Against UCLA he was just 5-of-19, but he rushed 24 times for 170 yards and the Ducks won.

Against Stanford he had some costly fumbles, threw a ball in the turf at the outset of the two minute drill, and heard the boo's from the Autzen crowd.  He steeled himself, led an amazing drive, earned the confidence of his teammates, and earned the right to be Oregon's quarterback...for now.