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Just The Sports: Philip Rivers vs. His Successors

Just The Sports

Friday, October 27, 2006

Philip Rivers vs. His Successors

With Philip Rivers firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback for the San Diego Chargers, now is as good a time as any to revisit his prolific career, a career that is actually looking even better in light of the play of the N.C. State quarterbacks after him. From the moment Rivers stepped on the campus of the Raleigh university, he was the starting quarterback and that did not end until he stepped off the football field fifty-one collegiate games later. In those fifty-one contests, he wrote his name all over the NCAA and ACC record books with his passing yards, touchdown passes, attempts, and completions. Just as importantly, Rivers improved at least one part of his game in each season, culminating in a senior season where he completed 72.0% of his passes, averaged 345.5 yards per game, and 9.3 yards per pass attempt. He also found time to throw thirty-four touchdown passes to only seven interceptions as icing on the cake.

That being said, every legend has to be followed by someone and after Rivers's departure for the NFL, N.C. State has called upon Jay Davis, Marcus Stone, and now Daniel Evans to lead the Wolfpack offense. Evans, a 21-year-old sophomore, looks like he will actually be a competent if not good quarterback and will end up being the best of these three quarterbacks, but needless to say none have even come close to approximating what Rivers did during his tenure as an N.C. State starting quarterback.

Faithful readers are probably aware of (and growing tired of) my obsession with significance testing, but it shows without a doubt if there has really been a difference instead of just assuming there is one and I like to be relatively sure about my conclusions.

As for the difference between Philip Rivers and his successors, you can throw 95% confidence level right out of the window. With 100% confidence, I can say that Rivers has been significantly better in the following categories: completion percentage (63.2% to 54.8%), yards per pass attempt (7.8 to 6.5), points contributed (13.7 per game to 7.4 per game), and passing yards (275.0 to 188.4). Rivers's edge in passing yards can be partly explained by the fact he threw more passing attempts per game than his three followers.

Replacing a legendary college quarterback is always difficult, but come on N.C. State, you can do better than this.


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