Washington State: An interesting comparison to OSU, because of the Mike Leach roots of the Cowboy offense. WSU’s Jeff Tuel missed two games, and backup Connor Halliday was OK in both games. He completed 26 of 45 passes, with two interceptions and four touchdowns, with 378 yards in a 35-27 victory over Nevada-Las Vegas, then Halliday completed 32 of 60 for four touchdowns, two interceptions and 401 yards, in a 35-34 loss to Colorado.
Vanderbilt: Jordan Rodgers missed the Presbyterian game, and though Austyn Carti-Samuels (Austyn? Does he have a brother named Houstun?) played well — 13 of 20, one TD, no picks, 195 yards — it was against Presbyterian. The Commodores won 58-0.
Texas: David Ash missed the Kansas State game, and the Longhorns lost 42-24. But Case McCoy played solid. Texas wasn’t going to beat KSU with Colt McCoy at QB. Case McCoy completed 26 of 34 with two interceptions, two TDs and 314 yards.
Arkansas: Tyler Wilson missed the Alabama game, which was not going to go well if Bill Montgomery in his prime was quarterbacking the Razorbacks. But backup Brandon Allen completed 10 of 18 with two interceptions, for 60 yards. Bama won 52-0.
South Florida: The Bulls were 3-6 under B.J. Daniels. Then Matt Floyd took over and the bottom fell out. Floyd completed 20 of 35 with two interceptions, no TDs and 175 yards in a 40-9 loss to Miami. Then he completed 21 of 39 with no picks or TDs, for 176 yards in a 27-10 loss to Cincinnati. Finally, in a 27-3 loss to Pittsburgh, Floyd completed 12 of 26 with three interceptions, no touchdowns and 93 yards.
Southern Cal: Max Wittek replaced Barkley and was ineffective. Against Notre Dame, Wittek completed 14 of 23, with two interceptions, one TD and 186 yards. Against Georgia Tech, Wittek was worse — 14 of 37, three interceptions, one TD and 107 yards.
So some teams were able to maintain their productivity with backup quarterbacks. In fact, I was surprised at the level of success with backup quarterbacks. No team had to go to a third-teamer, much less excelled when doing so.
That’s a salute to a variety of people. Mike Gundy, Dana Holgorsen, Todd Monken, Joe Wickline, the OSU playmakers, the OSU line, the quarterbacks themselves. It’s the best indication yet that OSU’s offense is in a high gear that isn’t likely to slow. And that Southern Cal has no excuses.