2014 Stat Predictions for Every Pac-12 Football Starting QB

Jeff Bell@@JrayBellCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2014

2014 Stat Predictions for Every Pac-12 Football Starting QB

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    QB Marcus Mariota
    QB Marcus MariotaSteve Dykes/Getty Images

    With 10 starting quarterbacks returning to the Pac-12 in 2014, you can expect another season filled with explosive offenses and gaudy statistics.

    Only Arizona—who has yet to name a starter—and Washington—who will likely fill the void left by Keith Price with Cyler Miles—don't have players with significant experience returning to the position.

    After that, it's a who's who of the nation's best signal-callers, from 2013 Heisman candidates Marcus Mariota of Oregon and UCLA's Brett Hundley to big-armed stats guys like Oregon State's Sean Mannion and Connor Halliday out of Washington State.

    There's even a special group of promising young guns led by Cal's Jared Goff and Colorado's Sefo Liufau.

    How will these playmakers fare in 2014, and what kind of numbers will they put up?

    Given the wild stats we saw in 2013, and assuming that no one will experience a major regression, things could get crazy on offense in the Pac-12.

    We're taking a stab at their end-of-season stat lines—partly so you'll have an idea about what to expect in the fall, but mostly so we can all look back at this and laugh come December.

    Predictions are based on the assumption each QB will start all of his team's games. While that's not likely for all 12 teams, there's no way to predict injuries—nor would we want to.

    All stats via cfbstats.com.

Arizona: TBD

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    Head coach Rich Rodriguez
    Head coach Rich RodriguezChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 3,200 YDS, 26 TD, 12 INT

    Rushing: 400 YDS, 7 TD


    We don't yet know who will start the season at QB for Arizona, but it's a pretty safe bet that he will have a solid year.

    How do we know this?

    Last season, unheralded senior B.J. Denker stepped in and rushed for nearly 1,000 yards, threw for over 2,500 yards and accounted for 29 touchdowns. The current talent looks to be a step ahead of where Denker was a year ago, thus the slightly higher projections.

    The only tricky part is guessing what the year-end rushing total will look like, given that each quarterback has varying degrees of mobility.

    But all of the candidates—Jesse Scroggins, Anu Solomon, Connor Brewer and Jerrard Randall—can run, so we're going to assume that they'll put up at least a few hundred ground yards in Rich Rodriguez' spread offense.

Arizona State: Taylor Kelly

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    QB Taylor Kelly
    QB Taylor KellyUSA TODAY Sports

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 3,800 YDS, 25 TD, 8 INT

    Rushing: 600 YDS, 10 TD


    Despite having a two-headed monster in the backfield in 2013 with D.J. Foster and Marion Grice, Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly still threw for over 3,600 yards. Without Grice, look for Taylor to top that by targeting wide receiver Jaelen Strong early and often.

    The Sun Devils' star QB will also reduce his interceptions—a product of his maturation at the position. Kelly's rushing totals will stay roughly the same behind a solid offensive line and with Foster requiring plenty of attention on his own.

    Overall, it's safe to expect the leader of the offense to take his game to the next level, although where the Sun Devils end up in the postseason will depend largely on the other side of the ball.

Colorado: Sefo Liufau

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    QB Sefo Liufau
    QB Sefo LiufauDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 2,800 YDS, 21 TD, 11 INT

    Rushing: 150 YDS, 3 TD


    Sefo Liufau looks to be the guy who could lead Colorado to its first bowl game since 2007 at some point in the next few seasons, but he'll have to show positive signs as soon as he steps on the field in Week 1.

    Those signs were plentiful in 2013, but this is no longer a tryout period for Liufau; it's a "this is your team, take us where we want to go" period now.

    He should improve upon all of his numbers, especially since he'll have the reigns from day one, but as with most young quarterbacks, it all comes down to limiting mistakes.

    Most Buffaloes' fans would be happy with 21 touchdown passes, but it will be interesting to see if the relatively mobile Liufau is utilized more in the rushing attack.

California: Jared Goff

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    QB Jared Goff
    QB Jared GoffEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 4,100 YDS, 25 TD, 13 INT

    Rushing: -50 YDS, 2 TD


    After Goff threw for nearly 3,500 yards as a true freshman, expecting anything other than a continuation in his progression would be silly. By being in Sonny Dykes' pass-early-and-often offense, Goff should be able to hit 4,000 yards in his second season.

    The real question here is: How many of those yards will contribute to touchdowns?

    Goff had just 18 in 2013, a number that Dykes would probably liked to have seen closer to 30. It will in 2014, but Cal doesn't have the weapons yet for the offense to become a truly dangerous machine.

    Goff's 13 interceptions would be three more than last year, but it's not a terrible mark, depending on when they come during games and considering how often the Golden Bears will be throwing the ball.

Oregon: Marcus Mariota

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    QB Marcus Mariota
    QB Marcus MariotaUSA TODAY Sports

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 3,300 YDS, 33 TD, 5 INT

    Rushing: 800 YDS, 12 TD


    You could throw out any numbers in the world as a prediction for Mariota's 2014 stat line, and no one would call you out for it.

    We'll see a small decrease in passing yards with the loss of Josh Huff to the NFL—and Bralon Addison for potentially the entire season as he recovers from a torn ACL.

    However, Mariota will be as efficient as ever in throwing 33 touchdowns and tacking on 12 more on the ground. That would give him 45 total scores and leave him with an excellent shot at bringing home the program's first Heisman.

    If Mariota stays healthy, he could easily exceed 1,000 rushing yards.

    He topped the 100-yard mark in rushing in three games last fall, and with opposing defenses likely focusing on Thomas Tyner or Byron Marshall, the speedy signal-caller should have plenty of open turf to run on.

Oregon State: Sean Mannion

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    QB Sean Mannion
    QB Sean MannionUSA TODAY Sports

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 4,250 YDS, 34 TD, 11 INT

    Rushing: -175 YDS, 1 TD


    Sean Mannion threw for over 4,600 yards in 2013, but there's no way that will happen again. The loss of receiver Brandin Cooks to the NFL will be too great to overcome. 

    However, head coach Mike Riley isn't going to revert back to the old offense just yet.

    With his big arm and experience, Mannion is a useful tool in college football. 

    Wide receiver Richard Mullaney will benefit from having Mannion in this offense and will likely top the 1,000-yard mark. If young guys like Victor Bolden are ready to step up, Mannion should eclipse 4,000 yards yet again.

    The Beavers cannot succeed with the same running game they trotted out last fall, however.

    Look for Riley to give his backs a few more looks, and for Mannion to clean things up in the turnover department while cutting back just a bit in number of passes each game.

Stanford: Kevin Hogan

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    QB Kevin Hogan
    QB Kevin HoganUSA TODAY Sports

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 2,700 YDS, 26 TD, 8 INT 

    Rushing: 450 YDS, 5 TD


    Although Kevin Hogan has led the Cardinal to back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances, he's never put up anything more than what would be considered modest numbers. He had just 22 total touchdowns in 2013 to go along with 2,635 passing yards.

    Without a bevy of weapons outside of wide receiver Ty Montgomery, Hogan probably won't throw for many more yards, but if the tight ends can show signs of life in the red zone, his passing touchdowns should increase.

    As for the rushing yards, Hogan may see an increase due to the loss of running back Tyler Gaffney to the NFL.

    A big arm and a sharp mind should mean limitless potential, and maybe that's the case with Hogan. He plays in an offense, however, that emphasizes ball-control—because of that, Hogan won't ever have the eye-popping numbers fans might like to see.

UCLA: Brett Hundley

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    QB Brett Hundley
    QB Brett HundleyUSA TODAY Sports

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 3,600 YDS, 31 TD, 8 INT

    Rushing: 500 YDS, 7 TD


    For all the hype Brett Hundley has received throughout the offseason, few realize the Bruins quarterback actually saw a decrease in production last year from his freshman season. 

    He had nearly 700 fewer passing yards and two fewer touchdowns than in 2012, though the lack of explosive players at wideout may have contributed to that.

    On the other hand, Hundley can seem inaccurate times, and yet in both of his seasons, he's completed over 66 percent of his throws. With a rising trio of receivers led by Devin Fuller, Hundley should be able to hit 3,600 yards passing in 2014.

    Look for his rushing yards to fall off a bit while Jordon James and Paul Perkins continue to develop, but Hundley's legs are no less dangerous than they've been in years past.

USC: Cody Kessler

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    QB Cody Kessler
    QB Cody KesslerUSA TODAY Sports

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 3,100 YDS, 27 TD, 10 INT

    Rushing: -100 YDS, 2 TD


    It's hard to know what to expect from USC quarterback Cody Kessler in 2014.

    He seemed to improve at an average rate last year after winning the starting gig over Max Browne and Max Wittek, but he really took off toward the end of the year.

    In fact, Kessler had just one interception in his final five games, a span that included a 344-yard, four-touchdown effort in the Trojans' victory over Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl. If that trend continues—and it may under the tutelage of head coach Steve Sarkisian—Kessler could be poised for a monster year.

    As it stands, we'll predict a normal increase from year one to year two. If Kessler can find a bit more confidence behind an improving offensive line, his rushing yards could turn out to be a wash.

Utah: Travis Wilson

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    QB Travis Wilson
    QB Travis WilsonUSA TODAY Sports

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 2,800 YDS, 22 TD, 13 INT

    Rushing: 300 YDS, 4 TD


    The curious case of Travis Wilson might not make for a great cinematic experience, but it's an apt description of the Utes quarterback's career. 

    After showing flashes of brilliance in 2013, injuries forced Wilson to miss the last few games and there was some doubt as to whether he'd even play again.

    The good news is that he's back and ready to go, but which version of the star signal-caller will we see this fall? Will it be the guy who had 273 yards and two touchdowns without a pick in a win over BYU, or will it be the one who threw six interceptions against UCLA?

    If Wilson is able to put it together, he should improve upon his 16-16 TD-to-interception ratio from 2013. 

    As a runner, he should be able to escape the pocket and gain a handful of yards each game, but you shouldn't expect many rushing plays designed for him. We'll call his final stats prediction a conservative one, as the best version of Wilson could make the above numbers look silly.

Washington: Cyler Miles

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    QB Cyler Miles
    QB Cyler MilesUSA TODAY Sports

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 2,650 YDS, 24 TD, 11 INT

    Rushing: 500 YDS, 7 TD


    The ultimate wild card in the Pac-12's group of super-quarterbacks is Washington's Cyler Miles. 

    He doesn't have a stranglehold on the starting job yet, but should his little bit of experience and massive talent win out, he could be the league's breakout star. Or, he could struggle and give up the position to freshman Troy Williams.

    The former is more likely, though "breakout star" doesn't exactly mean a straight shot to being on the Heisman radar; it means a solid season that puts the Huskies in contention for a decent bowl before perhaps gearing up for a title run in 2015.

    Miles is a tough, physical runner and looked solid as a passer in his brief time at the helm in 2013. He could be an all-league quarterback in a couple of years, but 2014 will be a time for the Huskies' signal-caller to simply establish himself in the Pac-12.

Washington State: Connor Halliday

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    QB Connor Halliday
    QB Connor HallidayUSA TODAY Sports

    2014 Final Stats

    Passing: 4,750 YDS, 39 TD, 17 INT

    Rushing: -150 YDS, 0 TD


    Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday threw for almost 4,600 yards last year and has all of his receivers back in 2014.

    This is like asking what two-plus-two is in the college football world: Halliday is going to throw for as many yards as he wants to in the fall.

    He also tossed 34 touchdowns, which is a number that will also increase as the Mike Leach system becomes more refined in the head coach's third season.

    As for Halliday's rushing yards—well, it won't be pretty. He isn't a runner, and Leach is more likely to use a back in a goal-line situation than his pocket passer.

    However, you can expect Halliday to be in the running for most passing yards by any quarterback in the country, and we'll be surprised if he doesn't eclipse the 400-yard mark in at least five or six games.

    The number he'd like to see go down, however, is the one that precedes "interceptions." He had 22 in 2013.


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