In this week's Take Two, we're taking on a difficult debate: Who's the top sophomore quarterback in the Big 12?
There’s no wrong answer here ,but I’m going to give Rudolph the nod. The Cowboys quarterback has a better yards per attempt (10.52 to 8.87), completion percentage (68.9 percent to 66.4 percent) and touchdown to interception ratio (5 to 3) while leading his team to three victories during the first three weeks of the season.
Rudolph is just scratching the surface as a quarterback, but he’s been outstanding during his young career. Through six games of his Oklahoma State career, Rudolph is 111 of 176 for 1,800 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. More importantly, he’s 5-1 as a starter with his lone loss at Baylor and wins over Oklahoma and Washington.
But Rudolph’s impact does deeper than numbers.
The sophomore re-energized the Cowboys program when he took over late last season, bringing a excitement and confidence that hadn’t been seen for weeks. And knowing the Cowboys had a solidified starter at quarterback for the past eight months has helped Mike Gundy and the program focus on other things.
Patrick Mahomes and Rudolph both have star written all over them, with plenty of individual accolades in their futures, but the Cowboys signal caller is the top sophomore quarterback in the Big 12 with plenty of room to grow.
The numbers to support Mahomes are pretty easy to find: Among all Power 5 quarterbacks this season, Mahomes ranks No. 2 in total offense (1,158 yards), No. 2 in plays of 10-plus yards (46) and No. 4 in passing yardage (343 per game). In just seven career starts, he’s emerged as one of the college football’s most exciting playmakers.
What sets Mahomes apart in this discussion: his ability to extend plays, get outside the pocket and pick up gains with his feet. He’s picked up 287 yards and 22 first downs on his 58 career rushing attempts, and there’s a reason why he still hasn’t been sacked once this season.
You have to admire how he’s handled pressure early on, too. In the toughest road tests of his career, Mahomes threw for 598 yards against Baylor and completed 87 percent of his passes at Arkansas. He’s the biggest reason why Texas Tech will go into its showdowns with TCU and Baylor brimming with confidence.
Whether Rudolph or Mahomes will be the better long-term prospect is up for debate. They’re both studs. But it’s clear which one is having a better season so far.