Luck v RG3 against pass defenses

I've been reading some fanposts/fanshots and comments about how RG3 may be considered a better decision-maker than Luck because he threw fewer interceptions compared to Luck, with worse protection from his offensive line, as evidenced by the higher number of sacks.

Besides the obvious caveats that sacks are also part of a quarterback's decision-making (as well as interceptions), and that interceptions may not necessarily be the fault of the quarterback (off the hands of receiver, miscommunication on route, etc.), I thought I'd take a look at some actual statistics. Results after the jump.

Data: 2011 season stats for Stanford's and Baylor's opponents, and game stats for those opponents when playing Stanford and Baylor. Source is cfbstats

Stanford's opponents, averages

Season Against Stanford
Pass D
245.41 yds / game
278.69 yds / game
Interceptions 0.90 / game
0.77 / game
Pass breakups 3.54 / game 3.38 / game
QB hurries 1.01 / game 0.38 / game
Sacks 1.91 / game 0.85 / game
Comp/Att/% 20.6 / 33.3 / 61.8%
22.9 / 32.1 / 71.5%

Baylor's opponents, averages*

Season Against Baylor
Pass D
253.41 yds / game
357.5 yds / game
Interceptions 0.95 / game
0.58 / game
Pass breakups 3.92 / game 2.33 / game
QB hurries 1.76 / game 1.17 / game
Sacks 2.04 / game 2.33 / game
Comp/Att/% 21.1 / 34.9 / 60.6% 23.9 / 33.4 / 71.9%

* no data for Stephen F Austin

Obviously, the data can be interpreted in different ways. What stands out to me is that RG3 threw for a lot more yards than their opponents' season averages compared to Luck, but Baylor did give up more sacks than their opponents' season average. Luck threw more interceptions than RG3, but still fewer than Stanford's opponents' season average.

What about common opponents? In this case, both Baylor and Stanford played Oklahoma State and Washington. Of course, small sample size means it's very hard to draw definitive conclusions.

Oklahoma St

Season Against Baylor Against Stanford
Pass D
271.8 yds / game
446 yds
347 yds
Interceptions 1.85 / game
2 1
Pass breakups 4.85 / game 5
QB hurries 2.46 / game 0 0
Sacks 2.31 / game 2 2
Comp/Att/% 24.8 / 41.6 / 59.5% 34 / 51 / 66.7% 27 / 31 / 87.1%


Season Against Baylor Against Stanford
Pass D
284.6 yds / game
295 yds
169 yds
Interceptions 0.77 / game
0 0
Pass breakups 3.77 / game 3
QB hurries 0.23 / game 1 1
Sacks 2.15 / game 4 0
Comp/Att/% 23.5 / 37.4 / 62.8% 24 / 33 / 72.7% 16 / 22 / 72.7%

OSU seemed to do a better job in the secondary against RG3, with 2 interceptions and 5 pass breakups, but not necessarily better in terms of getting to the QB. The completion percentage is also significantly different. However, RG3 attempted 51 throws against OSU, compared to only 31 for Luck. Washington seemed to do a better job of getting to the QB against Baylor (4 sacks), but here again, RG3 had 33 attempts to Luck's 22. Even with 50% more pass attempts, RG3 had the exact same completion percentage as Luck against Washington. One more note about Washington, both Baylor and Stanford rushed for over 400 yards against Washington, which may explain the relatively low passing yardage numbers for both teams.

Anyway, not sure one can draw any definitive conclusions from this data, but I personally think it debunks the idea that RG3 isn't accurate compared to Luck (except for OSU, and he still did better than OSU's average). I also don't think Luck is really much worse in terms of interceptions - he still did better than Stanford's opponents' average. The only statistic where either Luck or RG3 did worse than their opponents' averages was RG3 taking sacks, but like most of these statistics, there are a lot of different factors that lead to that number.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.

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