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Texas Tech v. Virginia: Quarterbacks

This is a series of positional reviews for the matchup between Texas Tech and Virginia at 12:00 p.m. on January 1, 2008 in the Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, Florida.

Quarterbacks: We're really talking about two completely different types of quarterbacks here, especially in what they are asked to do. That being said, for me the quarterback position is about wins and about offensive efficiency. Granted Sewell has one more win, but Harrell has much better stats and has done what an offense is supposed to do, put the ball in the endzone.

Texas Tech Ht/Wt GP Comp Att Comp % Yds Int TD Yds/Gm Rush Att Yds TD
Graham Harrell, #6 6-3/203 12 468 644 72.6% 5,298 14 45 441.50 34 -63 4
Taylor Potts, #15 6-5/221 5 32 49 65.3% 409 1 3 81.8 2 -20 0

I think it's been an amazing year with Harrell at the helm and it could not have started out any more wonderfully. I think that we all recall that in Harrell's 7 games he had 31 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Absolutely amazing offensive efficiency.

But then the losses and the interceptions came. It was only a 2 game stretch, but it was a pivitol 2 game stretch, Missouri and Colorado. In those two games Harrell had 4 interceptions on each day, 8 total, and only 4 touchdowns. And although the Colorado game was somewhat close, without those interceptions then Texas Tech probably wins that game.

Harrell only threw 14 interceptions for the year while attempting 644 passes and he threw more than 1 interception only one other time, against Oklahoma.

As far as touchdowns are concerned, Harrell put 3 or more passes in the endzone at least 3 times each game, except for Missouri and Oklahoma. Thus, despite having two less than stellar games, he continued to produce results game in and game out.

45 touchdowns passing and 4 touchdowns rushing. I know that much has been made of Tim Tebow's 50 touchdown year, but Harrell got 49 the hard way, throwing the ball in the air and putting his receivers in a position to score.

Virginia Ht/Wt GP Comp Att Comp % Yds Int TD Yds/Gm Rush Att Yds TD
Jameel Sewell, #10 6-3/219 12 200 341 58.6% 2,098 9 14 174.8 115 241 4
Peter Lalich, #7 6-5/235 7 32 56 57.1% 303 1 1 43.3 8 -47 0

Sewell got better as the year progressed. In Sewell's first three games (Wyoming, Duke, and North Carolina) he had 87, 60 and 96 yards passing with only 1 touchdown, while losing to Wyoming, Beating Duke by 11 and squeaking by North Carolina by 2.

Sewell did make a significant improvement in the games there after. Sewell threw for over 177 yards for each game thereafter, except for the last game of the year, against Virginia Tech. More importantly, Sewell, despite an early season loss to Wyoming, won for the most part, suffering losses against North Carolina State and Virginia Tech.

Sewell is thought of as a mobile quarterback, and he was more effective running the ball later in the season, but even then he was fairly inconsistent. Sewell never rushed for more than 66 yards in a game (Connecticut) and in that game he still only accounted for 215 yards total. On average, Sewell is only averaging 20 yards a game, so it's nothing that appears to be game-breaking.

Most likely, Sewell's best game was against Miami as he completed 20 of 25 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown along with 28 yards rushing and a touchdown.

There's no doubt that Sewell can be an efficient and effective quarterback, but I'm not sold that he's a difference maker. Only 11 touchdowns for the year coupled with 9 interceptions tells me that he really doesn't make plays with his arm. To note, 3 of those touchdowns came against Pittsburgh and 2 more came against NC State. That means that 6 of this throwing touchdowns came against the other 10 Virginia opponents. I'm wondering if we have a not-quite-as-mobile and poor man's version of Texas A&M's Stephen McGee.

Conclusion: Sewell is an average quarterback who isn't asked to put the ball in the endzone very much. The bottom line for me is that Sewell ranks 90th in passing efficiency and 71st in total offense. I understand that Sewell isn't supposed to do what Harrell does but Sewell still ranks in the bottom half of the other 119 quarterbacks in passing efficiency, while Harrell on the other hand does not.