There is no doubt about who leads the MW conference as the most prolific quarterback in the league. That honor belongs to Fresno State QB Derek Carr, 6-3, 218 lbs. Carr has racked up 3,061 passing yards with a 69.2 % completion percentage. But Boise State’s Grant Hedrick, 6-0, 200 lbs, backup replacement for the injured Joe Southwick, is challenging Carr’s recent stats with an impressive run of his own.
But it didn’t start out that way. When Hedrick came off the bench and thrown into the Nevada game, then followed by his first career start against the BYU Cougars in Provo’s LaVell Edwards Stadium, the second-stringer was missing a key ingredient for success: confidence. He did pretty well in that first game against Nevada, going 18 of 21 in passing for 150 yards, and running for 150 yards and two TD’s on eight carries, but the BYU game was another story. In his first college start he fought to make the plays and take command of a struggling Broncos offense. He also seemed to lack the confidence of the coaches who failed to give him the play calls he needed to turn the game.
But last week’s win over Colorado State was different. You could see the team rally around Hedrick and the O-line stiffened long enough to give him the time needed to execute a variety of good plays. He finished that win in Fort Collins with his best outing to date: 18 of 25 passing attempts for 305 yards and 5 TD’s. How does that set him up on the year in comparison with the league leader? With 74 of 106 passing attempts for 801 yards for the season, it gives him a 69.8 completion percentage. Those passes averaged 7.56 yards each. All told, Hedrick has a 151.3 passer rating on the season that is the now the best in the league, while Carr’s rating is second, at 150.71.
Some might argue that Hedrick has still to prove himself over the long run and that would be true enough. But when you consider that in the past three games against Nevada, BYU and Colorado State Hedrick has completed 62 of 90 passes for 687 yards, 6 TD’S and 2 INT’s, with a passer rating that averaged 157.2, then compare that to Carr’s record in his last three outings against UNLV, SDSU and Nevada (107 of 160 for 927 yards, 9 TD’s with an average passer rating of 149.5) and you have to be impressed.
Especially if you consider that Hedrick in those three games ran 32 times for 246 yards and 6 more TD’s, making Hedrick the second leading rusher on the Boise State team. Carr on the other hand attempted to run 16 times for 0 (zero) yards, and to date has only 58 yards for the entire season.
I use these comparisons against Carr not to argue that Hedrick is better than Fresno State’s great veteran who has taken his team to a #16 national ranking, but rather to point out that teams in the Mountain West Conference might want to pay attention: Boise State’s new starting quarterback has arrived on the scene---and some of us are starting to take notice.