Archive for December, 2010

Off To A Hot Start

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

After Cameron Newton‘s touchdown pass on Auburn’s opening drive of the SEC Championship game, CBS showed the stat that Newton is a perfect 19-for-19 passing in Auburn’s game-opening drives this season.  After shaking off my disbelief at that stat — and wishing I had discovered it first — I wondered if any other quarterback in recent years has been perfect in his team’s game-opening drives for a season.

My play-by-play data goes back to 2005, and no other quarterback has been without an incompletion on opening drives for a season during that time (minimum of 10 opening drive pass attempts).  The closest players were both in 2009, when Ryan Griffin of Tulane was 18-of-19 and Kyle Padron of SMU was 16-of-17.

I also wondered how Newton’s passing efficiency rating on opening drives compares to other quarterbacks.  Here are the leaders this season in passing efficiency on their team’s opening drives (minimum of 15 pass attempts).

 Player              Team            Yr  Att  Comp  Yds  TD  Int  Rating
+-------------------+---------------+---+----+-----+----+---+----+-------+
 Cameron Newton      Auburn          JR	  19   19   300	  3   0   284.73
 Tim Jefferson, Jr.  Air Force       JR	  15   10   269   3   1   269.98
 Wesley Carroll      Florida Int'l   JR	  19   15   243   4   1   245.32
 Colin Kaepernick    Nevada          SR	  35   27   360   4   1   195.55
 Jeff Godfrey        UCF             FR	  28   21   263   3   0   189.26
 Andrew Luck         Stanford        JR	  46   35   413   5   0   187.38
 Scott Tolzien       Wisconsin       SR	  23   20   259   1   1   187.20
 Andy Dalton         TCU             SR   37   24   347   5   1   182.84
 Dan Persa           Northwestern    JR	  30   25   273   2   0   181.77
 Ryan Mallett        Arkansas        JR	  37   23   382   4   1   179.15
 Nick Fanuzzi        Rice            JR	  25   19   224   2   0   177.66
 T.J. Yates          North Carolina  JR	  39   32   397   1   0   176.01
 Brian Anderson      Marshall        SR	  25   17   198   3   0   174.13
 Kyle Parker         Clemson         SO	  24   15   197   3   0   172.70
 Taylor Martinez     Nebraska        FR	  22   15   191   2   0   171.11
 Ross Jenkins        Louisiana Tech  SR	  25   17   187   3   0   170.43
 

Since 2005, the QB with the highest passing efficiency rating on opening drives with a minimum of 15 attempts is Steven Moffett of UCF in 2005.   He was 19-for-22 for 406 yards and 3 TD’s, for a rating of 286.38.