It's been an amazing ride for Graham Harrell as he has made the progression from a confident quarterback playing against early inferior competition, to a quarterback who struggled as he tried to figure it out against better Big 12 teams, to a quarterback who I think has figured it out.
The year for Harrell started without any real problems as he notched victories against SMU and UTEP. In those two victories, Harrell had 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, and was very efficient for both of those games, completing 73.15% of his passes.
Harrell found adversity against TCU as TCU attacked Harrell the entire game and he completed less than 50% of his passes. Harrell had 0 touchdowns, which was the only game he was completely shut-out in terms of touchdowns.
Harrell seemed to alternate between good and bad games, or at least very average games. Poor or less than good performances against Missouri, Colorado, and Oklahoma mixed in with good to excellent performances against Texas A&M, Iowa State where he had a season high of 6 touchdowns, Texas, Baylor, and Oklahoma State.
For Harrell, it seemed like it took him an entire season to figure out how to side-step pressure, to simply slow down, and go through his progressions. By the end of the year I think Harrell became a more aware quarterback, he figured out where he was and what he was supposed to do.
Harrell is completing passes at a 66.9% clip and in comparison to prior Tech quarterbacks, that surpassess, Hodges, Cumbie, and Symons completion percentage.
Although I really don't have the stats to prove otherwise, I always feel like the offense clicks or moves the ball downfield better when Tech is able to stretch the defense. In losses to Mizzou, (30 yards), UT (40 yards), and OU (30 yards), Harrell didn't complete a pass over the yardage indicated above and in all three of those games the offense really strugged for a long period of time.
The recipie for success against Minnesota is what it always is for a Tech quarterback, always take what the defense gives you, stretch the field and take some chances down field, and let your incredibly large receivers do the heavy lifting you.
Minnesota's Bryan Cupito measures 6'1", 205 lbs. and started all 12 games for the Golden Gophers. Completing 59.5% of his passess for 19 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. Minnesota is a fairly balanced offense, and for the most part ran more than they passed. Cupito was certainly more effective in Minnesota wins than the losses.
|@ Kent State||146||1||0|
|N. Dakota St.||150||0||0|
|@ Michigan State||243||2||0|
|@ Ohio St.||120||0||3|
Cupito is not a mobile quarterback as his longest rush is 9 yards with -45 net rushing yards for the year (compare with Harrell having a long of 20 yards and -60 net rusing yards).
Cupito's biggest threat is as a game manager, and although statisitically speaking, Cupito is better in wins rather than losses, it doesn't appear that his performance, other than turning the ball over, makes or breaks Minnesota.
ADVANTAGE: Harrell. He just means so much more to his team and statistically speaking he is simply a better quarterback.