This weekend's match up between #5 Baylor and #9 TCU has been promoted as a matchup between two innovators - Gary Patterson and his vaunted 4-2-5 D, vs Art Briles and his unstoppable offense. But Frog fans know this game will be as much about TCU's offense as their D, which means this game will be as much about Trevone Boykin as it will be about Bryce Petty. Our loyal commentator OrangeFrog requested that we do a little side by side comparison of the two signal callers verses Power Five conference foes - you ask, we deliver! Let's go to the Tale of the Tape!
Boykin vs Minnesota (9/13) vs Petty @ Iowa State (9/27)
Trevone Boykin took the field against a Big 10 team after a bye week, while Petty faced the Cyclones a week after posting his best numerical line of the season at Buffalo. Boykin was 27-46 for 258 yards, two TD's and a pick. He made several big plays, but had a few bad misses too, mostly on overthrows. His deep ball, which had been near flawless against Stamford, was inaccurate - it's hard to overthrow someone as fast as Kolby Listenbee, but he did, on multiple attempts. He made up for those with his legs though, rushing 12 times for 92 yards, forcing the Golden Gophers to focus on him, which in turn opened up things on the outside.
Two weeks later, in Ames, Petty followed up a big night at Buffalo with a very solid game against the Cyclones, going 30-44 for 336 yards, a TD and a pick. The Baylor O was held somewhat in check for a quarter or so, before exploding for 49 points. Petty also accounted for more than half his season rushing total this game, going for 47 yards on nine carries, including an impressive 16 yard touchdown run (one of his two rushing scores on the day), that was capped off with a very athletic hurdle over an ISU defender.
In comparing the Minnesota and Iowa State defenses (mind you, I didn't pull out any of the cupcakes, because ain't nobody got time for that), Minnesota is much stronger against both the pass and the run than Iowa State, and the Cyclones are especially horrible against the ground game, allowing almost 200 yards per contest. Iowa State has given up nearly 300 points already this season, and has been outscore by 87 points overall. Minnesota by comparison has only surrendered 95 points on the season, including the 30 to the Frogs. The Gophers are also 4-1 on the year, while the Cyclones are barely hanging on at 1-4.
So who wins the tale of the tape for this matchup? Petty had a better day throwing the ball and led his team to more points - on the road at a tough place to play. Boykin controlled the game with his legs, and made good throws when he needed to. Minnesota is the better overall opponent, Iowa State is a conference foe... Verdict: Boykin wins this head to head by the slimmest of margins.
Boykin vs OU (10/4) vs Petty at UT (10/4)
Both QBs played conference opponents with good defenses, though Petty had to go on the road to do so. Oklahoma came in with a top 5 ranking, while Texas was looking to stop their slide in to conference oblivion. Boykin was 20-38 for 338 yards, two scores and a pick. He added 77 yards rushing on 22 attempts, but had two fumbles, one of which was almost very costly. Boykin picked apart what had been considered one of the best defenses in the nation, using his athletic ability to keep plays alive and scramble receivers open. Many of Boykin's rush yards came on designed plays, as TCU went to some option to keep OU off balance. But he also did a good job of picking his spots - he ran a lot, but kept his eyes down field and made several accurate throws on the move.
Petty faced another well thought of defense in the Longhorns, but to different results. In having his worst game statistically, Petty completely only 7 passes on 22 attempts, for a paltry 111 yards. Though he did pass for two touchdowns, the Bears relied more on a dominant run game than Petty's arm to secure the 28-7 win. After the game, Petty said the Texas defense had his head spinning, and that they showed him so many things that he had never seen before. I imagine he will see more of the same this Saturday. Petty did not play well against the first plus defense he had seen all year, but Baylor got the win against a conference opponent, so mission accomplished.
If you compare the defenses of OU and Texas, the stats don't vary all that much. Both give up around 20 points a game, while Texas is a little better against the pass, and OU is stronger against the run. That showed for both their opponents, as Petty's inability to solve the Texas pass D led to Baylor pounding the rock, and TCU wasn't able to get much going on the ground (outside of Boykin), and stuck to the passing game. Again, you have to give credit to Petty and the Bears going on the road and defeating a good defense at a tough place to play. But Boykin put the Frogs on his shoulders, took down a top five team, and put up really good numbers in doing so. It can be argued on the other hand, that Baylor won despite Petty, and that the play that changed the course of the game for the Bears was made by their punter. Verdict: Boykin in a landslide.
The only common opponent that these two QBs share is SMU, which barely counts. But, for comparison's sake, here's how they fared against the Mustangs. Petty, who was injured in the game, had only 161 yards on 13-23 passing, with two touchdowns. Boykin was at his wildest, but overcame a terrible first half to put up 280 yards, completing 23 of 36 attempts. Boykin had four passing touchdowns and two on the ground, to complement his 62 rushing yards on only seven attempts. It's not really fair to compare the two in this game - Petty only played the half, and played hurt at that. Boykin put up great numbers after a slow start, but that was also against a SMU team that had just lost June Jones. Verdict: It's SMU. Who cares.
While Boykin will take this week's Tale of the Tape 2-0, Petty has certainly earned the respect nationally, and for good reason. He has consistently put up impressive numbers, and has a great complement of weapons at the wide receiver and running back positions. That said, he wasn't effective against the one good defense he has seen this year, and admitted to being flustered by the multiple looks he was shown. Boykin, on the other hand, has been much improved from a season ago, and has taken the reigns of the new offense and flourished, regardless of the opponent. Boykin will face his first true road test Saturday, and that will give him a chance to further prove that he is a more complete and mature player; Petty will square off against a Big 12 opponent at home for the first time this season, giving him the chance to perform in front of a friendly crowd. I am sure we will hear from our "friends" that cheer for Baylor that this is a homerish look at two QBs, and Petty is the better overall player, and I won't completely disagree, it's a valid argument. But in this side by side comparison, in a what have you done for me lately league, Boykin has been the better player, and the numbers show that.