You may be thinking after last night's 40-14 loss and two touchdown, two interception performance: "Nothing's going right!!! Even our savior Jeff Tuel isn't that good!!! What's Robb Akey's cell phone number!?!?!"
Well, hang on.
Tuel is still a big step above our other options at QB. He's no Reid Forrest, but he should still be our starting quarterback the rest of the way. Observe (best viewed in widescreen mode): [h/t cfbstats.com]
Even with a less-than-stellar performance against Notre Dame, Tuel still tops our other quarterbacks in virtually every statistical category you can think of. This, from a true freshman, whom we weren't sure had the size or the capabilities to really do anything this season but gain experience.
Plus, you can see the difference on the field. Tuel's more mobile, more accurate, and seems to have a better command of the offense than the two guys who have more experience. Plus, Tuel's numbers are even more impressive when you consider the teams he's played (USC, Oregon, ASU, Cal, ND) versus those Lopinastael have played (Stanford, Hawai'i, SMU). Seriously, though: four out of the five teams JT's played are currently ranked!
Now, before you get too excited about the final three games, remember that Notre Dame's pass defense is awful (105th coming into last night's game - 8.2 YPA allowed), and one would've hoped that Tuel would've torn it to shreds. Still, Tuel gets to face an even worse Washington pass defense (109th, 8.4 YPA allowed) and a mediocre Oregon State pass defense (58th, 6.8 YPAA) before the season is out. Arizona and UCLA are better (both 34th before yesterday's action), so don't expect a breakout performance in either of those.
Still, Jeff Tuel is a promising young QB. One of the few good reasons left to watch the remainder of the Cougar football season.