The Wolfpacker

November 2019

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 133 of 139

132 ■ THE WOLFPACKER ■ PACK PROS Russell Wilson Is Playing At An MVP Level BY RYAN TICE T here's no denying NC State's status as the current "Quarterback U." No other school has had three different starters under center this season, and the numbers give NCSU the statistical edge in every category if a player counts toward any school where he saw an official snap (see chart below). It's also not debatable who the top Wolf- pack alum under center through the first six weeks of the NFL season is: Russell Wilson, who might be the best quarterback — or even player — in all of football this year. However, there's no shortage of competi- tion for his standing as king of NC State's Pack of quarterbacks. Jacoby Brissett became the surprise starter in Indianapolis after Andrew Luck retired and was tied for the NFL lead in touchdown passes after the first four weeks of the season. Philip Rivers is old reliable. Thanks to the fountain of youth he has found, his age (he'll turn 38 in December) and his nine kids have not slowed him down much. Though the Chargers' injuries have dragged the team down to a 2-4 mark, they haven't affected Rivers as much. At one point on Twitter during a week four win over Miami, ESPN's Mike Clay marveled that the quarterback, despite miss- ing his top left tackle, No. 2 and No. 3 wide- outs, No. 1 and No. 3 running backs, and top two tight ends, was 16-of-20 passing for 197 yards with two touchdowns in the first half. Through six weeks, Rivers ranked fourth in the league in passing yards (1,785) and 11th among qualified passers in completion percentage (66.8). However, Wilson has separated himself from not only the others at "QB U" — which also boasts a pair of backups in the Oak- land Raiders' Mike Glennon and Cincinnati Bengals' Ryan Finley (neither of whom has played yet this year) for a league-best five under-center alums on active rosters — he's distancing himself from basically all of his peers across the league. Wilson had led the Seahawks to a 5-1 mark while leading the league in passer rating — his 124.7 is 12.8 points higher than any other qualified passer and would break Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers' current NFL single-season record (122.5) — and rank- ing second in touchdown throws (14) and completion percentage (72.5). Making his completion percentage even more impressive is the fact that NFL's Next Gen Stats expected Wilson to complete just 62.5 percent of his throws (which is calcu- lated by looking at receiver route depths and separation) — his plus-10 percent difference is also tops in the league. Additionally, he hasn't thrown a pick and has rushed for 151 yards and three touch- downs. After leading a fourth-quarter rally — his second in 10 days — to beat the Browns 32- 28 Oct. 13,'s Grant Gordon noted: "It's just what Russell Wilson does." "Wilson's magnificence was once more at the forefront," he continued. "The Seahawks won their third in a row as Wilson did Wil- son things — slinging it 33 times with 23 completions, 295 yards, two touchdowns and a 117.6 rating, as he became the fourth player in NFL lore to rack up six starts to begin a season with a 100-plus QB rating. … The MVP hype is building, and Wilson's play isn't about to let it quiet down." "Wilson has never won an MVP, but he has done just about everything else," Yahoo Sports' Frank Schwab chimed in following the win. "He is a Super Bowl champion and one of the greatest quarterbacks of this gen- eration. He looks like a future Hall of Famer. And he might win that MVP this season. "The Seahawks are 5-1. If they didn't After six games, Wilson is on pace for a 72.5 completion percentage, 365 completions, 4,544 pass- ing yards, 37 passing touchdowns and eight rushing scores — which would all be career bests. PHOTO COURTESY SEATTLE SEAHAWKS Colleges With Multiple Quarterbacks Who Have Played In The NFL's First Six Weeks QBs Games School With Starts Started Comp. Att. Pct. Yards TD Int. Auburn 2 2 52 93 55.9 586 0 2 California 2 12 266 426 62.4 3,034 13 8 Florida 2 7 158 256 61.7 1,634 10 4 Houston 2 9 185 282 65.6 2,037 16 4 Louisville 2 10 236 352 67.1 2,596 18 7 Michigan St. 2 7 113 163 69.3 1,449 10 3 NC State 3 17 404 594 68.0 4,551 33 9 Texas 1 1 18 28 64.3 122 0 1 Texas A&M 2 10 246 376 65.4 2,709 14 5 Texas Tech 2 12 259 428 60.5 3,600 19 12 USC 1 2 60 89 67.4 640 3 2 Washington State 2 7 171 267 64.1 1,858 9 5 Note: Leader in each category is in bold

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