An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of college football’s two best quarterbacks.
Jameis Winston: 3,559 yards, 24 TD’s, 17 INT’s, 147.0 Passer Rating.
Marcus Mariota: 3,783 yards, 38 TD’s, 2 INT’s, 186.3 Passer Rating.
Jameis Winston: The Skinny
Jameis Winston has had an up and down season that hasn’t held up to the high standard set by his impressive debut campaign. Winston and FSU have struggled in the first half of many games and narrowly avoided losses to inferior teams. Winston relies heavily on two receivers, Rashad Green and tight end Nick O’Leary. Winston had a similar reliance on NFL first round pick Kelvin Benjamin last year. Without his favorite targets, Winston struggles. If Oregon takes Green and O’Leary out of the game, Winston will have to adapt. At times, Winston has struggled making the correct read in 2014. However, Winston is prone to catching fire late in the game and completing 5 to 10 passes in a row. Winston easily marches his team down the field when he is in a good rhythm. He has a great arm and possess killer accuracy when in rhythm. The key to stopping Winston is to disrupt that rhythm. Winston is a big QB and is very difficult to bring down. He slips out of sacks and shakes off tacklers very easily. Winston can run with the ball when the play breaks down, but FSU does not run designed runs for him. Winston is an above average runner but is not at the level of JT Barrett, Brett Hundley, or Mariota. Winston struggles mightily at times but has played well in the fourth quarter all year. He makes big plays when it counts and has the best arm talent in the country. When Winston is at his best, there are very few better.
Mariota: Mariota is by the far the most intelligent QB in the country. He very rarely makes the wrong read and almost never throws picks. Mariota is also the best dual threat QB in the nation, racking up 669 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. A master of Oregon’s offensive machine, Mariota leads an unstoppable force capbable of putting up eye popping numbers. Mariota is a master of the touch pass, especially down the sideline where he drops it in where only his receiver can catch it. Mariota’s arm strength has never been an issue, but his arm is not extraordinary by college football standards. Mariota plays nearly a flawless game every time out. Oregon has faced adversity in just one game this season, an loss to Arizona. Other than that, Mariota and Oregon have been error free and stress free. Mariota’s favorite receiver is Byron Marshall, who lines up all over the field. Mariota is elusive and and shifty in the open field. Mariota’s terrific season was capped off with a Heisman Trophy.
Advantage: This one is impossibly tough to call. Marcus Mariota is far more consistent quarterback. With Mariota, every game you are going to get good to great play from him. He can hurt you so many ways and the Oregon offense is so versatile. When you look at Winston, there are seemingly weaknesses that can be exploited. However, the most important stat in any sport is wins, and Jameis Winston hasn’t lost a game since high school. 27-0 as a starter, defending national champion, and the most arm talent coming out of college football since Andrew Luck. On paper, it seems as if Mariota is a better quarterback. But one can’t judge soley based on what the numbers say. Watching Winston, one feels that he has the “it” factor that some quarterbacks have and some just don’t. He always pulls it out in the end and watching Winston in rhythm is like watching Ben Rothliesberger when he gets hot. Every ball is perfectly placed with deadly accuracy and unmatchable velocity. Winston has had his struggles this year, but he always answers the bell and is on top of his game when it counts. Mariota is a great quarterback, and he may have the “it” factor that separates the best from the rest as well, but Winston has proven it over and over. With the game on the line, one knows Famous Jameis will deliver the goods. That’s why I’m picking Florida State University as the winner of the 2015 Rose Bowl.The Rose Bowl will almost certainly be a classic. A QB dual for the ages is in store, the likes of the Vince Young vs Matt Leinart in the 2006 Rose Bowl. It’ll be fun to watch.
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