Cal Football: 3 Reasons Zach Maynard is Better Than Kevin Riley

Kasey ScottAnalyst ISeptember 13, 2011

Cal Football: 3 Reasons Zach Maynard is Better Than Kevin Riley

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    Following a disappointing 2010 season for Kevin Riley and the Cal Golden Bears, there is plenty of room to argue that Zach Maynard is a better quarterback already. 

    Maynard has been more than impressive to start off the 2011 season as he has led the Bears to a 2-0 record, including a tough road win at Colorado. 

    No game is a sure win, but a Week 3 game against Presbyterian at AT&T should propel the Bears to a 3-0 start. 

    Here are the three reasons why Zach Maynard is better than Kevin Riley. 

Zach Maynard's Start to 2011

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    Kevin Riley had a great start to 2010, but played both UC Davis and Colorado at home. UC Davis is a school out of the Great West Conference and Colorado was winless on the road last season. 

    Maynard has faced two tough challenges in 2011 in Fresno State at home and Colorado on the road. 

    Thus far in 2011, Maynard is 34-of-70 for 509 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. Maynard has also shown the ability to scramble a bit as he had 52 rushing yards in Week 1 against the Bulldogs. 

    Statistically, Riley had a better first two games, but he had the much easier schedule. 

    The true test for Riley was on the road in Week 3 of 2010. Riley was 23-of-37 for 277 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in the Bears' first road game at Nevada. 

    Maynard led the Bears into Colorado, which is improved in 2011, and brought home the win. Maynard threw four touchdowns in the overtime win.  

Zach Maynard's Ability to Win the Close Game

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    In 2010 Kevin Riley only played in one close game that was within 20 points. Every other game was either a blowout by Cal or Cal getting blown out. 

    Week 4 of 2010 presented Cal with a very tough challenge on the road at Arizona. The Bears were in the game all the way through but fell short, 10-9.

    In the loss Riley was 13-of-26 for 116 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.

    On the other hand, the Bears have already been in a nail-biter in 2011. Last week against Colorado, Zach Maynard was able to lead the Bears to a 36-33 win in overtime.

    The Buffaloes got the ball first in overtime and got a field goal. Maynard was able to lead the Bears to game-winning touchdown when they got the ball.

    Maynard has shown that he can come through in the clutch for the Bears thus far in 2011, while Riley was unable to in 2010.  

Zach Maynard's on Pace to Throw for More Than 3,000 Yards

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    Kevin Riley in his three seasons as a starter for the Bears never reached 3,000 passing yards in a season. 

    In 2009, Riley's best season, he threw for 2,850 yards. 

    After throwing for 509 yards in the first two games of 2011, Maynard is on pace to throw for 3,048 yards. 

    Riley never threw for more than 20 touchdowns in any season either, while Maynard is on pace to throw for 36 touchdowns. 

    Now, that is hardly realistic, but 20 touchdowns for Maynard in 2011 is very possible. 

    The Bears returned their top two receivers from 2010 in Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen. Both receivers are very talented and are in for big years in 2011.